Annalise Murphy continued her comeback to the Laser Radial, as she competed at the Sail Melbourne International 2020. Just six months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Murphy wrapped up the five-day event with second place against a top-class field.
The Sail Melbourne International 2020 was contested amongst over 300 competitors from 25 different countries. The event was used by many sailors as a warm-up regatta for the next round of world championship events. The 2020 ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championships take place from the 21-28 February at Sandringham Yacht Club.
In drastically windy conditions and amongst multiple storms which passed through Melbourne, silver Olympic medallist Murphy recorded one win and five top five finishes (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th and 5th) in the eight-series race, which saw her finish just six points behind Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands.
Speaking after posting a third and fourth place during one of the days, the National Yacht Club helmswoman said, “I had a pretty good day today with a third in the first race and a fourth in the second race. It was really windy, hard conditions and I was happy enough with my consistency but a bit annoyed as well because I lost a few places around the course in both races. I didn’t make any major mistakes so I was happy in the end.”
Dual Olympian Murphy only returned to the Radial recently after a four-year hiatus that included a stint in the Volvo Ocean Race and has her eyes once again set on an Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve had an unconventional four-year cycle in this campaign, I did two full four year campaigns in the Laser Radial for London and Rio and I really needed a break and do something different after the Rio Olympics so I ended up doing the Volvo Ocean Race on “Turn the Tide of Plastic” and then I decided I wanted to sail a 49erFX which I did for 14 months. But I stopped after the Olympic Test Event last year to get back into the Radial to see if I could have a shot at getting another medal,” Murphy said about her Olympic campaign.
Earlier this month, Murphy marked her return to the Laser Radial when she competed at the Australian National Championships. Murphy finished 12th, whilst her competition for the only Irish Olympic spots also competed. Aoife Hopkins placed 41st, Aisling Keller was 43rd and Eve McMahon 61st.
In light of Murphy’s hiatus, both Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller have been sailing the Laser Radial full time and have showed some promising potential on the world stage. Additionally, Eve McMahon also competed at the Sail Melbourne International 2020. McMahon was racing in the silver fleet and secured the U17 gold medal.
With Ireland now qualified in the Laser Radial discipline, there will be an open trial where a number of international regattas will be benchmarked to determine which candidate gets the nomination to represent the nation at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.
The combined scores from each of the following regattas will be used to decide the Irish nomination: Palma (March 28th-April 4th) Genoa World Cup Round and final European Nation Qualifier (April 13th-19th) and, lastly, Hyères Regatta (April 25th-May 2nd).