As the 2016 Olympic Sailing campaign builds up to its climax in Rio in August, Afloat.ie has agreed that until the Olympiad is over, our Sailor of the Month contenders will automatically be considered under two basic categories: Olympics and “others”. As regular readers will be aware, in an exceptionally successful month, there may be several sub-divisions covering “others”, but for April we have just two clearcut sets of winners.
The Olympic category sees an outstanding Sailors of the Month for April accolade going to northern sailors Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern for their Gold Medal in the 49er skiff event in a keen fleet at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma on April 2nd.
The two Ballyholme YC sailors provided their supporters with a nail-biting finish in the medal race, for though they made a superb and clean start, their lead at the end of the first beat was zapped down to a ninth on the water after they’d to take a penalty turn for hitting the mark.
The final race was taking place after a confusing overnight situation in which overall places seemed to changing place on an hourly basis as protests were decided and redresses provided accordingly. Thus at one stage before the race was even sailed, the Ballyholme duo were told that the Gold was their’s. But after another hearing, it became clear that only a placing in the final race which put them not more one place adrift on Australian stars Nathan Otteridge and Iain Jensen would secure Gold.
Fortunately Otterridge and Jensen were at fifth as Seaton and McGovern began their recovery from their setback to ninth on the water. They milled their way through the fleet and at the finish it was still the Ausyralians fifth, but with the Irish right behind them in sixth to clinch the Gold and ensure they were Olympic Sailors of the Month for April.