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Displaying items by tag: 49erfx

Ireland's Men's 49er Skiff Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland are seventh overall after nine sailed races in Rio. Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are 12th after nine races in their 20–boat 49erfx fleet. It was the most frustrating day so far of the Olympic sailing competition with the wind refusing to play fair on Guanabara Bay.

49er Skiff 

Perhaps inspired by French gold and bronze in the Windsurfing the previous day, Julien d'Ortoli and Noe Delpech fired their way up the rankings into fourth place after mastering the Copacabana course with two firsts and a third place. This puts the French just two points behind the third-placed Australians, reigning Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

Meanwhile it's business as usual for the ever dominant Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) whose scores of 2,3,1 have opened up an 18-point lead over Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER). Even if the gold is beginning to get away from the Germans, they do at least have a healthy 15-point lead over the Aussies, with just three qualifying races remaining before the Medal Race.

Burling said, "We're pleased with three low scores, the boat was going really fast. We had some beautiful conditions for racing but got hit by a massive squall on the way in. It was maybe 45 or 50 knots.” Tuke added, "A south-west front came in and it went from 11 knots to more than 40 knots in the space of ten minutes.” Even the four-time World Champions capsized in the storm-force conditions. "We struggled to stay upright just with the mast up. Some massive waves out there, just happy to be back on shore,” said Burling, shivering and itching to get back to checking over the boat for any damage.

The Germans seemed to enjoy the mad ride in through the storm a little more than the Kiwis. "We ragged it quite fast on the way in,” said Heil. "But what lucky timing. Just after the last guy came across the finish line, the breeze came in 130 degrees from the other side, and with massive force. Even with just the mast up and no sails, we still needed to get on the trapeze to stop the boat tipping over. We have some boat work to do, we have damaged the sails, we have to check the mast.”

Noe Delpech was barely thinking about what a good day he'd had after getting ashore - just happy to be in one piece. "We had three good starts and are very happy with our speed and strategy today. But then there was the wind that arrived straight afterwards. We capsized many times. The mainsail went flying through the air and it fell in the water but our coach managed to save it before we lost it. We had a bad last hour on the water. The sails are not in great condition but I think we are OK mostly.”

Delpech was pleased to have closed in on the podium, but like all Olympic sailors never likes to get ahead of himself. "We are two points behind the bronze medal position, so yes, for sure we can start thinking about the options to get a medal, but we have still three important races to do tomorrow. We just go race by race.”

The Skiffs will have to work quickly with another three races scheduled for tomorrow which looks to be a busy day. The Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and Nacra 17 will all have their Medal Race due to the postponements from today.

Women's Skiff – 49erFX

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) fired two bullets from today's three races on the Niterói course moving the reigning World Champions to the top of the scoreboard. Behind them are two former World Champion crews, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) who are four points behind the Spanish in second, and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) just one point behind the Kiwis in third overall.

Although previous overnight leaders Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) scored a second in the last race of the day their earlier scores of 9,16 have hurt the Danish team who are now fourth overall. However, the Danes are only nine points off the lead and there are still three more qualifying races scheduled for Tuesday before Thursday's Medal Race.

Echegoyen, the London 2012 Olympic Champion in match racing, commented, "We are very happy, we have sailed very well today. It was very important to be very open minded, to be able to adapt ourselves to what was happening. We were well prepared for today's three races, both in terms of understanding the conditions with our meteorologist and also regarding the tactics.

"In the two first races it was clear where to go, but the third one was really crazy and we just sailed with the wind shifts. It has been a good day, but also quite difficult, we have had to work a lot. These results give us the confidence to keep on going in this way. Now we are leading but we are all very close on points. Still three races and the Medal Race ahead, so we have to go step by step and keep on going.”

Published in Olympic

There is no medal race final for either the Irish mens 49er or women's 49er FX in today's French Sailing World Cup event at Hyeres. Multiple top ten finishes yesterday gave Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern 19th overall in a 40–boat fleet while Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey were 21st from 24.

The question of the week at Sailing World Cup Hyères was, 'can anyone stop New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on their quest for Olympic glory?' Evidence suggests the answer to that question is a resounding no as they made it 26 consecutive wins. A simply outstanding performance.  

Not even a couple of capsizes could halt them and they take a 48-point lead into the Medal Race tomorrow. The 49er completed three races and the Kiwis notched up a 10-1-(28). The pair were black flagged in the final race of the day but the breeze completely died resulting in an abandonment. Even if the race concluded, they would have still taken a winning margin into the Medal Race.

Getting carried away isn't in Burling and Tuke's nature. They remain grounded, modest and most importantly, focused on what's ahead, no matter how much the world's press builds them up to be Olympic champions in waiting, "Obviously we are really happy with how we have been going,” explained Burling, "but we have a lot of hard work to do over the next three or four months just to finish it off and finish off the final detailing.”

A 28th and a black flag is rare for Burling and Tuke and whilst they laughed it off back ashore, they won't want a repeat at Rio 2016, "If Rio was tomorrow, I don't feel like I think we are ready yet. We still have plenty in the tank and we're looking forward to the challenge,” concluded Burling.

The story for the Medal Races will be the fight for the remaining podium spots and internally between the British 49er sailors. The silver and bronze occupants are Will and Sam Phillips (AUS) on 92 points and Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) on 94 points.

Great Britain's James Peters and Fynn Sterritt are the leading British crew on 100 points with Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign and John Pink and Stuart Bithell nine points behind. The British Rio 2016 spot is still up for grabs and selectors are in town, keeping a close watch over the racing.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

The Olympic Games is the pinnacle for many athletes, but when your sport isn’t in the programme and you can’t shake that feeling you have to be a part, you either look elsewhere or you let a bit of luck and good timing take the lead. For Ireland’s 49erFX sailor Saskia Tidey, it was the latter writes Richard Aspland.

From her reclined position in a travelling chair next to her skiff on windless Hyères morning, Tidey says, “I hate waiting, I get fidgety.” Despite what she says, her demeanour is relaxed and open as she has to wait onshore for the wind to pick up so she can go to work. But her delay is our gain as we get to know more about the 6”2’ crew.

Her height is a bit of a clue to her previous life in sport, Tidey was an international netball player, “I played netball for Ireland for four, almost five years. We competed at a couple of European Championships but the funding wasn’t great, so entering at a world level was financially impossible for us.”

The world stage was something Tidey craved and she knew what her pinnacle event was, “I grew up doing netball and it was very natural for me. I really enjoyed doing it. It was something I was very confident in, but it wasn’t an Olympic sport. The Olympics for me is the top of the game and I always had that ambition to compete at that level.”

Although the five rings were in her thinking, getting there was more down to good timing and one self-less sailor, “Tim Goodbody,” Tidey remarks, “he sacrificed so much of his own time. I wouldn’t have started sailing if it wasn’t for him. He is an amazing guy.”

Goodbody was campaigning for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Finn, but as Tidey said, dedicated time to bring young talent through in Ireland at the same time. He was given a grant to focus on one sailor, coach them, train them and nurture a talent. Tidey was that talent and the aim was the 2009 Youth Sailing World Championships. Needless to say, Tidey made it and sailed the Laser Radial at the Buzios Championships in Brazil.

Sitting and talking to Tidey you get the feeling she takes everything in her stride and adapts to situations with ease. But with that calm persona that puts you at ease, you know that beneath there is a determination to succeed in sport. Something which came to the fore when she moved to Sydney, Australia, “I sailed 18ft skiffs in Sydney for seven months on the first all-girls crew ever in that competition, and to hop from a Laser Radial to a pretty bad-ass boat and racing against really big grown men was a pretty ballsy thing for us to do.

“They weren’t quite the fitness levels of the 49er, but you have to have a lot of strength. I had to put on about 10kgs to be on the boat. I just had to put on the weight, I almost looked like a Finn sailor” remarked Tidey, showing a cheeky side to her personality.

“I did that in 2012 and the [London] Games had just finished and I had the Olympic bug. I knew that I hadn’t had enough. I came home from Australia and the FX had come out around the same time, I thought I really need to get involved in that.”

An honest Tidey admitted that her crewing skills were not as good as they needed to be, but the lure of the Olympics and the ‘cool’ looking FX was to strong, she had to get a helm, “I joined up with Andrea Brewster who had actually sailed for Team GB for about ten years in the Laser Radial, but her mums side [of the family] were all from Ireland so she had that connection there. She swapped to come and sail with me for Ireland and we started our campaign.”

Sacrifices had to be made so Tidey could follow her Olympic dream, for her and her family. The pair relied a lot on their families to kick start their push for Rio and were totally self-funded. Tidey took comfort from the fact the people closest to her supported and believed in her.

The belief that her family had was well founded, Tidey and Brewster qualified for Rio 2016 and the Olympic experience Tidey had been waiting for.

With knowledge from two sports at an elite level, Tidey could draw on her experiences from netball and apply and adapt them to her sailing, even in an abstract sort of way, “Netball helped me with team management and fitness definitely, but crewing has increased my coordination even more. It gave me at a young age a professional view and idea of sport, which I could apply very quickly to my sailing, something which I didn’t get from sailing at a young age like most others.

“Netball is a team sport, and sailing this boat you definitely need to be a team. You spend a lot of time together and you learn how to be a team with your partner. That is training in itself. You can train perfect skills, but if you can’t be there for each other and work as a team you will never get the best out of each other.”

Being there for each other doesn’t just apply to her sailing partner, the whole fleet spend so much time together that you get to know and get along with a lot of other people from every culture imaginable, “We kind of joke that it is like a traveling circus. It’s amazing to think that we are from such different places all over the world but we all end up at the same place. It’s kind of a special thing you know.

“Everyone has such respect for everyone else for just having a boat on the start line. And even after this is all over, you know you have friends for life.”

It is hard to argue with her opinion as surrounding us are teams waiting to go out on the water, sharing jokes, laughing along together and eating food. As for Tidey, her ability to take the positives out of situations, her willingness to learn, and just the ease at the way you can talk to her, there is no doubt she will be seeing those 49erFX sailors for a long time after see decides her sailing adventure is done.

Tidey and her helm Brewster haven't had the best of starts at the Sailing World Cup Hyères as they sit toward the lower end of the fleet, but with plenty of racing to go, the pair will be looking to land a place in Sunday's medal race with a late push for the top.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

After a tough 49erFX European Championships in Barcelona Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey rallied with a personal best scoreline of 2,1,3 yesterday to end the week in 12th overall in the 36–boat fleet. 

'We are really proud to have finished the week on a high and to see the potential we have with a few more hours of training under our belts before Olympics', Brewster said.

Meanwhile the top ten in the 49erfx fleet sailed in the medal race yesterday. Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen seized the moment and claimed their first ever European title. The Danish duo trailed Italians and reigning European Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich by four points entering the medal race, meaning they had to beat the Italians and put one boat in between them.

On the first beat, the right was favored and the whole fleet headed that way, with the Danes in second following the British, but critically, with the Italians just on their windward hip. After a long drag race where the Danish sailed a fairly high line, the Italians had held on, but were just behind. As the British tacked on what appeared to be the layline, the Danes and Italians had critical decisions to make.

“We were happy to see the British boat there as we thought they might need to be the boat we pass to get a boat in between,” said Katja Iversen. “When they tacked, the layline looked close, but we wanted to tack underneath in case we could make it and we didn’t want to give the opportunity to the Italians. We pulled off the tack and Conti did the same, but we and the British were too far ahead, so we could roll them and they ended up having to do two more tacks, giving us the gap we needed.”

In that moment, the Italians fell from third, a regatta winning position, to seventh by the windward mark. They fought bravely back through the race, but could only catch two of the boats and needed to settle for Silver. The Italian disappointment was evident, “There will be no more chances to be European Champions, as we retire after the games,” said a clearly disappointed Conti. Her team mates consoled her, all knowing there would be the greater prize to shoot for on the horizon in Rio.

This medal race marks the second in a row that has not gone well for the Italians, who took a terrible turn in the 2016 49erFX World Championship in Clearwater and got stuck in a hole for 5 minutes while the rest of the fleet continued passed them. The race today was lost in a much more typical fashion, but is no less heartbreaking.

Elated by the finish were 2016 World Champions Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos, ended up tied with the Argentinian crew of Vicky Travascio and Sol Branz on 101 points, but claim the Bronze medal by having the better medal race position. The Spanish team were leading the regatta after day four, but had two poor days in a row to drop out of the hunt for the win, so were happy to bounce back and claim a medal on home waters.

Published in Olympic

A strong European 49er championships start for last week's gold medal winners Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern was ruined yesterday by a start line disqualification in race three. The Ballyholme Yacht Club pair opened their Euro account with a solid sixth placing. They moved up to a second in the second race of the day before being scored 'UFD' in race three. The sole Irish pair in the 72–boat fleet lie 28th with more qualifying races today.  

The UFD rule (similar to the Black Flag) came into effect yesterday as a means of keeping the highly competitive fleet from starting prematurely. Under the rule, a boat within the triangle formed by the ends of the line and the first mark during the minute before the start is disqualified without a hearing.

In the women's 49erFX division, Ireland's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey also fell foul of the UFD rule in their opening race and lie 19th from 37. 

The super competitive 49er fleets lined up and stretched their legs as racing got under way from the world class Barcelona International Sailing centre close to where the 1992 Olympics were held.

The 49erFX raced in the afternoon sessions of the day and Netherland's emerging stars Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz started the championship in the same dominant manner that they took home the Princess Sofia Trophy from Palma de Majorca last week. 

The yellow fleet of the 49er got racing under way to start the championship, and all three active class medalists drew the same fleet and engaged with one another. Once again it was the London Silver medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who got the best start of all.

In the Blue 49er fleet, Austrians Nico Delle Karth with Niko Resch, fresh off their Silver medal at the 2016 World Championship got off to a good start with a 1, 7, 2 to sit in second overall after the first night.

The forecast for the rest of the week in Barcelona is outstanding, with endless sun and wind on offer. It could get really windy for the final day of qualifying, so putting in solid performances on today's day 2's qualifying will be vital in case the third day gets blown out. The schedule for day 2 is for the 49erFX to start with three races followed by the 49er doing four races.

Results are here

Published in Olympic

None of the Irish contenders for the mens Laser berth slot have made the gold fleet cut today at the important Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma. The result, however disappointing in the build up to Rio, intensifies the three way Irish Olympic test underway in Palma Bay where there has been a change in the trials lead. 

If day one of the regatta yesterday proved a straighforward boatspeed day in moderately brisk breezes, Tuesday's races today were much more about being in the right place, in the best pressure as much as possible. 800 boats are competing and 13 Irish sailors are in Palma but the Irish mens Laser trial is the focus of attention. The three contenders, from Dublin, Cork and Belfast, remain neck and neck.

Finn Lynch, the young National Yacht Club sailor who has made no secret of his cash–strapped campaign has emerged as the leading Irish boat overall after a lighter winds this afternoon. Lynch had a fifth in the opening race followed by a 23rd to leave him 52nd overall in the 152-strong fleet. Just two points stood between him and the cut for the Gold fleet that starts racing tomorrow.

Now in the Silver fleet, Lynch will keep a keen eye on Northern Ireland's James Espey who had a 20th and a 22nd yesterday and he dropped to 62nd overall, crucially five points behind Lynch. A 13th yesterday for Fionn Lyden of Baltimore was enough to get him into the Silver fleet so it is still anyone's guess who will be Ireland's rep in Rio, a race that looks set to go right down to the wire. The third and final selection trial is in Mexico in May.

Finn Lynch campaign video

Northern Ireland 49er Loses Overall Lead

In the 49er Skiff, although Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern have lost their overall lead from day one they are joint second. A second and a third keep the Belfast pair on course for Saturday’s medal race final.

It was a different story unfortunately, for Rio qualified Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49erFX skiff. After a consistent top ten opening day, the Dun Laoghaire pair had a more challenging day and results in the 20s leave them in 15th overal from 27.

DSC 1515

Darragh O’Sullivan Photo: Bob Bateman

Other Irish boats competing amongst the 800–plus fleet on the Bay of Palma, Kinsale's Daragh O’Sullivan is racing in the Laser Standard class and lies 117th overall.

In the 49er class, Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove completed all three races yesterday in their debut at Palma and are 63rd overall. Mark Hassett and Oisin O Driscoll are close behind in 65th place.

Finn sailor Oisin McClelland from Donaghdee in County Down is racing in the Finn single-handed dinghy and lies 39th overall in his 74-boat class.

The result table toppers in the Men's 470 and the Laser Radial classes both count all first places - though both Olympic medallists Mat Belcher, and crew Will Ryan of Australia and Evi Van Acker discard their one bigger score, albeit a third and sixth respectively.

New Zealand's singlehanders are showing well so far. Josh Junior and Andrew Maloney now lead the Finn and Laser classes respectively after today and Sarah Winter, counting 2,2,7 to date, is fourth in the Laser Radials.

In the Laser Men's fleet Andy Maloney leads Norway's Kristian Ruth and the USA's Charlie Buckingham. Ruth is part of a strong Norwegian squad who have trained this winter on the Bay of Cadiz with 1996 Olympian Anton Garrote.

Despite the short postponement this morning the regatta schedule is pretty much on course. Three races were sailed for the 49ers, RS:X and Nacra 17s while the other classes completed two.

470
1. Mathew Belcher/ Will Rya, AUS, 3 points
2. Stu Mcnay/Dave Hughes, USA, 5
3. Anton Dahlberg/ Fredik Bergstrom, SWE, 6

470 Women
1. Amy Seabright/Anna Carpenter, GBR, 4
2. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan, BRA, 4
3. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr, GER, 8

49er
1. Nico Delle/Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 11
2. Diego Botín/Iago Lopez, ESP, 14
3. Ryan Seaton/Matt Mcgovern, IRL, 14

49 FX
1. Jena Mai Hansen/Katja Steen, DEN,10
2. Annemiek Bekkering/Annerre Duetz, NED, 16
3. Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze, BRA, 17

Finn
1. Josh Junior, NZL, 9
2. Giles Scott, GBR, 15
3. Pieterjan Postma, NED, 15

Laser
1. Andrew Maloney, NZL, 5
2. Kristian Ruth, NOR, 7
3. Charlie Buckingham, USA, 8

Laser Radial
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 3
2. Alison Young, GBR, 8
3. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 10

NACRA
1. Billy Besson/Marie Riou, FRA, 11
2. Paul Kohlhoff/Carolina Werner, GER, 25
3. Thomas Zajac/Tanja Frank, AUT, 26

RS: X Men
1. Tom Squires, GBR, 4
2. Vyron Kokkakanis, GER, 5
3. Andreas Cariolou, CYP, 8

RS:X Women
1. Olga Maslivets, RUS, 4
2. Lilian De Geus, ISR, 7
3. Charline Picon, FRA, 7

Published in Olympic

Ireland's 49erFX pair won their Olympic place in Rio today after Algeria opted not to take up its place on the Olympic startline. The Irish girls Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey were first in line for the African plan by virtue of their finishing position at the 2015 World Championships. It puts an end to an agonising wait for the Royal Irish duo after the prospect of an Algerian entry first raised its head a month ago. For more on the story click here

Following a four month delay, World Sailing confirmed Brewster and Tidey's qualification. The news that Africa would not enter the 49erFX skiff event released another European place and as the next in line based on the world championships in Argentina, Providence Team IRL's Brewster and Tidey have secured qualification for Ireland.

The pair delivered a strong final day performance at the 2015 World Championships in Argentina and appeared to secure a berth when they finished 14th overall. However, a rules protest ashore meant they would have to compete for the final European place at the games in next week’s Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca.

Ireland is now qualified in four sailing events for Rio: the mens and womens Laser and the mens and womens skiff.

Published in Olympic

Irish Olympic 49erFX sailing campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey have an anxious wait before next week's 47th edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. The last Rio place comes up for grabs at the crunch Spanish regatta in Palma de Mallorca on March 25th. Ireland faces a tough two-boat Finnish challenge plus teams from AustriaCroatiaEstonia and Russia but Ireland, it transpires, may yet get a last minute reprieve.

The Royal Irish YC duo can escape the do–or–die regatta altogether if a much publicised Algerian entry does not materialise. Brewster and Tidey will avail of the 'reallocation' of a vacant African spot and will not have to face the fierce Euro-nation fight if there is an African 'no–show'.

No one in the Irish camp wants to tempt fate but – with less than a week to go – there is no sign of an Algerian, or indeed, any other African entry, thus apparently clearing the way for Tidey/Brewster to be declared good to go for the games.

Currently, there is no reference to the Algerian entry and Algeria is not listed as an affiliated country on the 49er and 49erFX website.

Ireland has been first in line for the African berth by virtue of Brewster and Tidey's world champioship result last December. If they do qualify it will be Ireland’s first women’s skiff entry at the Games, bringing to six the number of Irish sailors heading to Rio.

Depending on whether Algeria turns up or not, this emerging sailing nation has wisely used the fact that ISAF has introduced continental Olympic quotas for the first time and the fact that some sailing classes are completly non-existent in Africa. On paper, they appear to be the only African nation in women's 470, men's 49er, women's 49er FX and mixed Nacra 17, so they are guaranteed all of those quotas. If this transpires, they will compete in 7 out of 10 classes in Rio (11 sailors in total). To put it in perspective, Algeria has never qualified a single sailor for the Olympics before.

 

Wishing everyone a very Happy St Patrick's Day ☘

Published in Olympic

If an injured ankle was not enough of a set back for Irish Olympic 49erfx campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey, a late Algerian entry now means no reallocation of the African Rio place which the Dun Laoghaire pairing were in line for. The upshot of this international shake–up means the Irish debutantes must be ready to compete at a do–or–die regatta in Palma in March.

Brewster and Tidey only became aware of the African developments last Sunday.

The Royal Irish Yacht Club pair now need to be top non–qualified European team. Finland, Austria, Croatia, Estonia and Russia will be the main opposition for the single available place.

It's a tough scenario but given Brewster and Tidey finished top of these crews at the 2015 world championships in Argentina in November it means Ireland should be in with more than a fighting chance of securing its first Olympic Womens skiff berth.

In an update on Brewster's ankle injury, it is understood not doing this week's 2016 worlds was precautionary given how important the Palma is going to be. Full training resumes late next week.

Published in Olympic

While the Irish 49er Fx women's team must be feeling bitterly disappointed at the failure to qualify for Rio on Saturday, there is plenty of cause for optimism as the fat lady doesn't sing for a while yet. Of the 20 places allocated by the IOC to the class, six remain. These are allocated as one to each continent, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America and South America. While, at first glance, it may seem that the only opportunity left to Ireland is at the European qualifier at Palma in March, if there are no qualifiers at the continental events, then the place reverts to the 2015 World Championship.

Selection update here

As New Zealand and Australia are already qualified and no other country from Oceania has yet entered the continental qualifier at the Melbourne World Cup, it appears likely that the Oceania slot will go to Norway, as the first country to miss out on qualification. Ireland could well pick up the African slot at the Palma World Cup as there does not appear to be an African nation with a 49erFx campaign.

If Ireland has to rely on the European Qualifier, also at Palma, then the battle will be with Finland, Croatia, Austria and Estonia of whom only Croatia made gold fleet at the worlds (assuming Norway gets the Oceania slot)

The US must also be relieved that Canada got in ahead of Ireland as this will leave them with only the US Virgin Island to beat to take the North American slot at Miami in January.

Afloat's prediction for the remaining qualifiers - Norway to get the Oceania slot, Ireland the African one. USA for North America, Croatia to see off Austria Finland and Estonia in the European battle while India and Chile should round out the places.

Published in Olympic
Page 3 of 5

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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