Annalise Murphy: Aiming for gold in her Vito

The sailor Annalise Murphy in action

When it comes to sailing Annalise Murphy is one of the best in the world. The Mercedes-Benz Vito Mixto supports the 27-year-old Irishwoman in her preparations for big international tournaments.

Sail and mast fit perfectly into the Vito

When Annalise Murphy takes her cap off and wipes the saltwater and sweat from her forehead, the strong coast wind ruffles up her brown hair immediately. Her cheeks are still rosy. Slowly her breath gets back to normal. The sports sailor from Dublin has just finished her daily trainings. She stows away her equipment quickly into the Mercedes-Benz Vito – and then it’s off back home. The masts, sail and lines all fit perfectly inside the metallic-black van and she secures the boat to the roof-rack. “I love my Vito,” says the 27-year-old. “I can get everything I need for training and competitions inside my Vito. With the strong 119 motor, it’s also easy to tow my coach’s motorized dinghy.”

The focus is now on the gold medal

In the discipline “Laser Radial” Annalise Murphy is one of the best competitive sailors in the world. The likeable Irishwoman is always a strong contender for the top spots in international competitions. She managed to reach a place on the podium once before: 2016 Annalise Murphy has won a silver medal. Now she is going for gold.

Annalise Murphy in her boat in 2016

A real sailing family

“It’s very important for me to remain mobile despite all my equipment”, says the exceptional sailor, while driving home in her Vito to Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin. The Mercedes-Benz Vito makes that all possible. “The van’s really comfortable and great fun to drive. The Vito is just perfect for my long trips to the competitions all over Europe,” says Murphy, who comes from a family of sailors. Her mother, Cathy McAleavey, was a professional sailor and her father, Con Murphy, was an official supervisor for years at international sailing competitions. “Growing up sailing was a big part of our family life,” says Annalise. “We spent most of our weekends and summer holidays sailing.”

The professional Irish sailor, Annalise Murphy, in front of her Vito

The van’s really comfortable and great fun to drive. The Vito is just perfect for my long trips to the competitions all over Europe.

Tough training pays

After making very respectable achievements as a junior sailor, it was during her first year of active competition in 2009 that Murphy decided to invest everything in her sport. She broke off her studies, trained six days a week and soon celebrated her first successes. She describes her path to a top international sailor as one of steady progress. It takes stamina, discipline and talent of not losing heart despite setbacks. “I love the whole training procedure, for example,” says the athlete, who takes part in triathlons or goes for a hike in the surrounding mountains as part of her preparation. “Noticing how the daily grind is really benefiting motivates me to stick at it,” says Annalise, standing in the kitchen of her apartment. “After a long training day I like to cook a nice healthy dinner and listen to a podcast or watch a movie to relax.”

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A surprise silver medal

The road to the top of competitive sailing was not easy for Annalise Murphy. The athlete had to deal with setbacks and doubts. Not everybody thought she was capable of competing on the international level. Especially after she had been having trouble withstanding the pressure in crucial races. Despite the doubts of experts, she attracted attention on the world stage, when she won a silver medal. “When all of my training and preparation came together and I stood on the podium at the end, it was an amazing feeling – and proof, that our master plan paid off!” But Murphy is not at the end. She’s aiming for gold. “I know that I can improve,” says Murphy. “I’m curious to see how much more I can get out of myself. Winning the gold medal would be a dream come true.”

Annalise Murphy feeling victorious.

Photos: Sailing Energy, World Sailing

Mercedes-Benz Vito

The Vito sets standards among mid-size vans. As a versatile professional among the vans, the Vito has a maximum weight between 2.5 and 3.2 tonnes and includes numerous outstanding features.