Sailing: Annalise Murphy still unbeaten

Updated: Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 22:10

Ireland's Annalise Murphy is tonight the clear front runner for Olympic gold in the Laser Radial sailing class at London 2012, dominating the competition with a clean sweep of the first four races.

The young Dubliner reached every mark today in pole position, and enjoys a best-possible score of four points from four races.

Her nearest rival, Evi Van Acker of Belgium, is 12 points off the pace, with 16 points.

Racing started in the Laser Radial class at 12 noon, and Murphy again made the perfect start, rounding all six marks of race three in top position.

She followed that with another flawless performance in race four, winning by a clear 30 seconds over Britain's Alison Young, with the Chinese boat of Xu Lijia coming in third.

Murphy is now very much in the driving seat, and with six races still to go, she has certainly secured her place in the medal race at the end of the week, which will feature only the top ten boats.

Belgium’s Van Acker and Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands are in the other medal positions, with Team GB’s Young in fourth.

In race four, Murphy made another good start, rounding the first mark in the lead position, having moved up through the field from fifth halfway through the first leg.

She then consolidated that lead, staying ahead of the fleet mark after mark. And, more importantly, she's drawing further ahead in the overall standings, as the Belgian and Dutch boats finished further down the field.

In race three, Murphy passed the finish line with a winning time of 52:08, eight seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

"I'd say Annalise can do some real damage today," predicted her Irish team-mate Scott Flanigan, at the start of the day.

"It's windy out there, 15-22 knots, and that will suit her. She's tall, and that gives her a big advantage in leverage."

In the men's Laser Class James Espey finished 39th in the third race. Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus won the race in 1:01:59. Espey was 4:34 off this time.

Espey finished 36th in the second race of the day, which was also won by Kontides in a time of 1:02:23. Espey came home 4:26 off the lead.

The Irishman now lies 40th overall.

49er Class

The Irish 49er crew of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern have consolidated their sixth position overall - finishing the day on the harbour course with a flourish, taking a stunning second place in race four.

Australia, New Zealand and Denmark are the boats in medal positions in the 49er class.

But the young Irish duo, who finished 15th in race three, are now only three points off a medal position.

Seaton and McGovern pronounced themselves "delighted" with their progress, but they weren't getting too excited.

"A good race and a bad race gives us an average score for the day, so not too bad," said McGovern.

“The quality of the fleet is so high that there's little to choose between the top 20 boats.

"In race three we had one extra tack off the start line to get clean wind, and that put us on the back foot."

They had changed their rig for the second race, he said, because the wind picked up, and that helped them increase speed.

Seaton said: “The conditions were very familiar - wind and drizzle.

"It seemed a bit like back in Belfast Lough."

Star class

In the Star Class, Peter O’Leary and David Burrows finished 11th in the fifth race. Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson won the race in 1:07:34. O'Leary and Burrows were 2:56 adrift.

In the sixth race, O'Leary and Burrows came home 12th. Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada won the race in 1:15:07. O'Leary and Burrows finished 1:15 behind them.

The Irish boat lies ninth overall.

Laser class

James Espey finished 39th in the third Laser class race. Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus won the race in 1:01:59. Espey was 4:34 off this time.

Espey finished 36th in the second race of the day, which was also won by Kontides in a time of 1:02:23. Espey came home 4:26 off the lead.

The Irishman lies 40th overall.

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