Annalise Murphy in laser radial sailing explained – 1st place after 6 races

Annalise Murphy is sailing in Laser Radail sailing class, thanks to her brother on facebook here is an explanation of how it works and her schedule of races.

CLICK HERE TO READ – NO live TV coverage of Annalise Murphy’s races on Friday & Saturday

Annalise Murphy leads the laser sailing class after 6 races. Ireland 19 Denmark 20 Holland 21 China 27

Courtesy of AnnaliseMurphySailing Facebook page

Little explanation for anyone deeply confused about the sailing and how the competition works.

So Annalise races the laser radial class, this is the women’s single handed (one person) class and one of the most widely sailed type of boat in the world also making it one of the most competitive.

At these Olympics there are 37 competitors in the laser radial. Over the course of the series they will race each other and attempt to keep their overall score as low as possible. This works with good results giving you low points. 1st place = 1 point while 37th = 37 points. The series consists of 10 regular races with all 37 boats. Sailors also get to discard their worst result from the series. Then at the end of the series the top 10 boats have an extra race called the Medal Race which counts double points and cannot be discarded. When points are tight the medal race can produce situations where sailors will purposefully target other sailors to make sure they beat them as by the end of the series it is unlikely all 10 boats in the medal race will have a possibility of medaling. Person on the lowest points at the end wins.

As you might have seen yesterday the LTU boat was UFD’D on the first race. This means she was over the starting line within 1 minute of the start. This is kind of like a false start in running. You have to carry a last place though so with only one discard sailors will be keen to avoid it. Other situations where you receive a last place penalty are where you infringe another boat and do not correctly take a penalty. This results in a protest which is heard before a ‘jury’ and adjudicated on. Again it’s always best to take a penalty properly then risk a disqualification as you will lose a few places doing a penalty but you won’t have a last place hanging over your series.

Penalties are taken by spinning the boat around in one place. If you make a minor infringement such as hitting one of the marks of the course you only have to do a 360 while if you infringe another competitor or are flagged by the jury on the water for illegally using your body weight you make the boat go faster (yes that’s a thing) you must do a 720.

As for the nuts and bolts of the racing it’s pretty much what you saw yesterday. Start line with a 5 minute countdown, the start can make or break your race as where you are on the line relative to the rest of the fleet will shape your first upwind which is hugely important. This is because in sailing when you have no boats in front of you the wind is much more steady. When you are behind the fleet a phenomenon called dirty wind starts to occur which will slow you down significantly. You could see this yesterday as the leaders consistently separated from the rest of the pack in both racers. This makes the first long leg into the wind essential to get right as tactics and fleet positioning are so important here.

Then there are two types of downwind legs. Reaches, wind coming from the side of the boat, and runs, wind coming directly behind the boat. The reaches are less about tactics and more about holding speed. It’s very difficult to gain on reaches in this fleet as all of the girls are in terms of speed pretty well matched.

However, when we go onto the run there tactics reenter the game in a big way. You’ll notice big separation between the right and left sides of the leg this is likely due to sailors making decisions based on the tidal conditions or where they think there’s more pressure on the course (pressure = more steady wind). Inside the bay in Rio is notoriously tidal and the mountains surrounding the bay create strange wind patterns so it is extremely difficult to get this right and there’s always a small element of luck involved.

The racing will involve a combination of these legs in an inner and outer loop configuration and will end with a standard finish line on a reach.

And with that it’s important to know that they will be racing on a different course with different conditions everyday making it one of the most challenging olympic venues in history for the sailors.

So to sum it up sailing is kind of like a combination of 37-player chess, meteorology, and a marathon as they will likely have been in competition for over 8 hours over the next 7 days. It requires huge fitness, dedication and mental calm to compete at this top level and luckily Annalise and her support team have this in spades.

If there are any particular questions re:sailing just fire them in the comments below and I’ll do by best to answer them.

Also sailing is notoriously difficult to follow on to as the perspectives are very misleading. GPS tracker is still a bit tricky but gives you a better idea of the position against the rest of the fleet which is important.

Wednesday

Annalise Murphy will be Sailing at 5:15pm & 6:30pm

Thursday

Day off

Friday

Annalise Murphy will be Sailing at 5:15pm & 6:30pm

 Saturday

Annalise Murphy will be Sailing at 5:15pm & 6:30pm

THE MEDAL RACE IS 5:05pm on Monday

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Sean, nice explanation on how the sailing competition works.
    Im still confused about the medal race.
    Does 1rst get 2 points?
    2nd get 4 points?
    3rd get 6 points?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. Forgive me, I have no idea what I’m watching, but I like it! These ‘sail boats’ seem to have motors? Am I wrong? Like when their sails aren’t up they’re still moving fast so they must have motors as well? Also what’s the deal with going side to side when they’re supposed to be going forward? Sorry if these are stupid questions, but I really want to understand what I’m watching!

    Thanks!
    -Sean

  3. Great Seán,
    I’m as knowledgeable now as i was when I first went rowing on the river corrib when we would hire a boat for 6d = 1/40 of £1. 2 of us would row up around the bend at Dangan and the rest of the bunch would climb into the boat.1960 taking halfday off school. enough
    Good luck later on. I hope that it is televsd.
    Following Annalise for few years now. Great Woman

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