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Tokyo2020: Olympic Silver medalist moving across to 49erFX

by David Branigan, Irish Times 10 May 2018 18:26 PDT
Annalise Murphy (IRL) after wining the Silver medal in the Womens Singlehander (Laser Radial) at the Rio Olympic Regatta. © Richard Gladwell

After 15 years of campaigning leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, sailing correspondent, David Branigan reports that Ireland’s silver medallist Annalise Murphy has ended her single-handed sailing career in the Laser class. Instead the Rathfarnham sailor will begin training in the 49erFX skiff class once the Volvo Ocean Race finishes on June 30th.

Murphy is a crew-member on the Turn the Tide On Plastic team, her first ever venture into offshore or professionally crewed racing. She is currently in Newport, Rhode Island having completed the 5,700-nautical mile eighth leg of the round the world race and will be the guest of honour at the Irish Consulate in New York on Monday for the Irish Sailing Foundation.

Former Optimist sailor Katie Tingle has been recruited to sail with Murphy and has started training in recent weeks following her decision to take a career break from teaching. The pair will aim to qualify Ireland for the Tokyo 2020 games in 18 months’ time.

The skiff event is radically different to the single-handed women’s event, featuring high-speed boats, shorter races and emphasis on teamwork to achieve complex manoeuvres.

Ireland were represented by Saskia Tidey and Andrea Brewster in the event at Rio, placing 12th overall and narrowly missed a place in the medal race final.

Following their debut at Rio, Brewster retired from Olympic competition, and Tidey switched to competing for Team GBR 15 months ago. One of the reasons she cited for her decision at the time was a lack of similarly experienced sailors in Ireland for her to partner with.

“While doing this [ocean] race I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I enjoy being part of a team,” Murphy told The Irish Times this week. “This would really be something that will refresh me.”

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