All those taking part gained valuable experience of 2012 Olympic Sailing conditions when the 2011 Test event concluded ,as part of the Weymouth and Portland Regatta in Weymouth Bay at the weekend. Though there were no medals for the Irish competitors this time, there was much overall encouragement to be gained from the week’s sailing. Peter O’Leary and David Burrows finished in 4th position in the Star event whilst Annalise Murphy was 6th in the Laser Radials.
Irish team manager , James O’Callaghan told waiting reporters : “It’s hard not to be disappointed when you slip out of the medals on the last day. Peter and David dropped to 4th after an early start meant they had to go back. However, to dwell too long on it would overshadow what was a great performance all week. The Star team are on track for next year and can be confident looking ahead.”
Annalise Murphy finished her medal race in tenth , dropping back to sixth overall. The gold medal in the Laser Radial was decided before the Medal Race after Marit Bouwmeester (NED) blew the rest of the fleet away to finish 32 points ahead of Evi Van Acker (BEL) before the Medal Race. Evi Van Acker (BEL) took the silver medal and Paige Railey (USA) finished in the final podium position. For a 21 years old to finish as high as sixth is no mean achievement considering the experience and quality of the opposition she faced. Soon after the Weymouth event finished Ms Murphy told her Facebook admirers :
“6th at test event! Happy days! Next stop Perth worlds”.
All in all a week of much encouragement for Irish sailing. The experience gained here will stand them in good stead in 2012 though there is a long way yet to go before the Irish team for the Olympics is chosen with opportunities for others to make their mark.