Annalise Murphy enjoyed a stellar May as she saw off an Olympic-quality field on two occasions

RATHFARNHAM sailor Annalise Murphy continued her superb start to the Eurosaf series last weekend in Medemblik, Netherlands as she claimed her second successive gold medal.

It added to her superb first place finish at the Italian sailing week a fortnight earlier, leaving her in pole position in the five regatta series which take place over the summer.

To win the gold in Holland, she led the medal race from the first mark finishing with almost a one-minute lead.

Murphy had gone in to the medal race last Saturday in third place two points behind Alison Young and the London 2012 Olympics silver medallist Marit Bouwemester also competing in the medal race was Olympic gold medallist Lijia Xu who had to settle with sixth place, showing the quality of the regatta.

After the race, Murphy commented: “I got so far ahead I didn’t have to worry. I had a good week and am happy with my performance.”

ISA performance director James O’Callaghan added: “It was very tight on points and to come through such a close competition in a strong Olympic field will give Annalise great confidence.”

It came hot on the heels of her first win of the year at the Italian Olympic Week 2013 on Lake Garda. The 23-year-old went in to the medal race as favourite at that event, four points ahead of the leaderboard despite very mixed conditions which saw her completing the qualifying rounds with a 29th and seventh place finish having won six of the previous nine races.

But she overcame a deficit in the medal race to overtake the pack and lead home the fleet for a seventh win from 10 outings, winning the title in style.

Commenting on that finish, O’Callaghan said: “This win saw a return to form for Annalise and payback for her training during the winter months. It will boost her confidence for the target events later in the season including the Laser European Championships which will be held in Dun Laoghaire in September.”

Minister for Sport Michael Ring added: “Annalise was tipped from the start as favourite and demonstrated nerves of steel in mixed weather conditions to persevere and clinch the gold in the first regatta in the Eurosaf series.

“I would like to warmly congratulate Annalise on a well-deserved win and wish her every success in her many other events this season.”

She is in great shape as she heads next to Germany for the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth from June 9-13 and then on to Germany and finally to La Rochelle in France in the autumn.