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Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove

As the 49er European Sailing Championship enters its halfway stage in La Grande Motte, France, two Irish sailing teams have qualified for the Gold fleet final round that begins on Friday. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, veterans of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, hold a slim lead over Cork rivals Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, who are proving themselves able contenders.

Up to seven races remain in the championship that will decide which of the two Irish boats will be nominated for inclusion in Team Ireland for Paris 2024. Guilfoyle and Durcan must finish five clear places ahead of Dickson and Waddilove in the final standings on Sunday next.

Currently, the Dublin crew is 16th overall, just nine points ahead of the Crosshaven crew. The 68-boat fleet is facing difficult conditions, with double-world champions Bart Lambriex with Floris van de Werken of The Netherlands dropping to 13th place, and a narrow spread of points separating most of the top 20 crews.

"We had crazy racing for the first two days with lots of crashes," said Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's 49er coach. "We are now into light winds, so it's going to be very, very shifty and tough to predict for the rest of the event.”

"As it stands, both our boats are going alright, and full credit to Séafra and Johnny who need the best results they've ever had; they've done job one of getting into Gold fleet.”

"Rob and Sean are just keeping the head and not worrying about selection. There's way too much racing left to worry about that."

The 49er European Championship is the third and final selection trials regatta to decide Ireland's representative for the men's skiff event at the Paris 2024 Sailing regatta. Irish Sailing's other two events will be represented by Eve McMahon in the women's one-person dinghy (ILCA6 class) and Finn Lynch in the men's one-person dinghy (ILCA7), who are both already confirmed.

With a big three days remaining and the points finely spread, anything can happen. The Irish sailors aim to qualify for the Olympics and represent their country in Paris 2024.

The outcome of the final Irish Olympic sailing selection trial for Paris 2024 remains finely balanced between two rivals after the first qualifying races in La Grande Motte in the South of France.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Dublin's Howth Yacht Club and Skerries continue to hold the advantage after scoring 12,17, and 4  to be on 31 points and in 22nd after the first of three races sailed. 

Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club are on 41 points in 27th place having scored 20, 6, and 15

With the competition heating up in La Grande Motte, South of France, 68 international teams faced challenges in testing Mediterranean Sea conditions on the opening day.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove hold the advantage for the single Irish 49er place at the Paris Olympics after the first three races at the 49er European Championships in La Grande Motte, South of France Photo: Didier HillaireRobert Dickson and Sean Waddilove hold the advantage for the single Irish 49er place at the Paris Olympics after the first three races at the 49er European Championships in La Grande Motte, South of France Photo: Didier Hillaire

To win a place with Team Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Guilfoyle and Durcan must beat the Dubliners by five places and finish within the top 20 at the Europeans this weekend.

Strong qualification results may yet determine this trial to complete Ireland's three-boat team for the Paris Olympic Regatta starting at the end of July.

Overall, James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, Britain’s Olympic hopefuls for Paris 2024, made a remarkable start after a disappointing stint at the earlier World Championships. Securing victories in races one and three, they are claiming the top spot in the yellow group of qualifying.

Meanwhile, newly teamed James Grummett and Rhos Hawes mirrored their compatriots' success, clinching wins in their first and last races and securing a ninth place in the second race. 

Racing continues today.

Results are here

Irish Olympic sailing fans have their eyes fixed on the 49er European Championships that kicked off in La Grande Motte in the South of France this morning. This event is the final trial for Paris 2024 selection, and the international fleet looks to make the most of the final major test before this summer’s Olympic Games.

The selection trials are finely balanced between two boats, with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Dublin's Howth Yacht Club and Skerries holding a tiny five-point advantage over Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club. To win a place with Team Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Guilfoyle and Durcan must beat them by five places and finish within the top 20 at the Europeans.

The event features a fleet of 71 two-person 49er class skiffs, including all the major nations expected for Paris 2024. With the final composition of the sailing squad to be nominated for Team Ireland known this week, both boats will concentrate on delivering their best regatta performance rather than competing solely for the selection trials.

According to James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing, "The outcome of our selection trials is finely balanced between the two boats. This series will likely be determined by whichever crew can open up the championship with some strong early results."

After a lacklustre performance in Hyeres, where no Irish boat qualified for the medal race at French Olympic week, Dickson and Waddilove retain their favourite tag due to their past performances, including at Tokyo 2020; Guilfoyle and Durcan have demonstrated considerable resilience and steadily improving form since losing their place in the squad last year.

The competition begins on Tuesday (May 7th) with the 71 boats split into two qualifying groups, each competing in three races daily to decide a Gold fleet that sails a final round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday comprising a total of seven further races. Both Irish boats must at least qualify for the Gold fleet for the selection trials to continue to the end of the event.

In the overall European championship, the top ten boats on Sunday morning will compete in a single-medal race final to determine the podium.

Irish Olympic class sailors did not make it to Saturday's medal race final at French Olympic Week in Hyères, France on April 26th, 2024. This week's regatta saw all events conclude their series despite moderate winds and torrential rain on Friday.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht ClubSéafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy

49er Trial to be Decided in A Fortnight

The Men's skiff event saw a two-boat selection trial building towards an epic conclusion after two inconclusive regattas, with only five points separating the two crews. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Dublin's Howth Yacht Club dropped back five places to 16th after a lacklustre four-race final day. Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club ended the series in 21st overall after a final day that included a disqualification for early starting.

The third and final event in their trials series, the 49er European Championships at La Grand Motté, France, begins in less than two weeks. Dickson and Waddilove hold a tiny five-point advantage, meaning the Cork crew must beat them by five places and finish within the top 20 at the Europeans to win a place with Team Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Details of the scoring for the Irish trials series process are:

4. Scoring
4.1 Points shall be awarded to the Athlete in each Trial Regatta exactly corresponding to that Athlete’s final overall placing in that Trial Regatta as shown on the official final results sheet published by the regatta organisers. For example, an overall first place shall score one point; a second place shall score two points and so on. The maximum points an Athlete will be awarded in a Trial Regatta is 25 points for double handed events and 30 points for single handed events. This score will be awarded to an Athlete either where they do not compete at the Trial Regatta or where they finish with a higher score then indicated above, other than where an Athlete’s overall score is higher than indicated above as a result of a breach of RRS 2 Fair Sailing for illegally hindering an opponent (Case 78), in which case the points as shown on the official results sheet shall apply.

4.2 In the event of a double handed team not continuing together and where both seek qualification for the Games the minimum standard to be included in a Trial Series or points accrued from the Trial Regattas may, by agreement between the parties and the OSG, be awarded to either the helm or the crew. If the parties cannot agree the Performance Director will decide which, if any of them, benefits from their past performances together.

4.3 Points for the Trials Series for each Event shall include the points from each Trial Regatta.

4.4 If there is a tied score between two or more Athletes in any Trials Series, each Athlete’s Trial Regatta scores shall be listed in order of best (lowest) to worst (highest) and at the first point where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favour of the Athlete with the best score. If a tie still remains between two or more Athletes, the Athlete with the best final overall placing in the last Trial Regatta shall be recommended.

4.5 If no Athlete scores better than 25th place overall (for double handers) or 30th place overall (for single handers) in the Trial Series for an Event, the Trial Series results shall not apply and the OSG will recommend the Athlete who they feel shall best represent Ireland at the Games.

4.6 Subject to Section 4.4 & 4.5 above, the Athlete with the lowest number of points at the conclusion of the Trials Series shall be recommended by the OSG to the Board.

Amendments

No amendment to these procedures shall be made in respect of any Event without the prior written consent of each Athlete for that Event. However the OSG reserves the right to amend the procedures unilaterally if agreement cannot be reached between the Athletes.

Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht ClubEve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy

ILCA 6

Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club needed a big jump to reach the top ten for a place in the medal race on Saturday in the women's one-person dinghy (ILCA6 class). She scored a creditable ninth in the morning but was unable to secure her spot in the medal race.

ILCA 7 campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth at full speed at French Olympic Week  Photo: Sailing EnergyILCA 7 campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth at full speed at French Olympic Week  Photo: Sailing Energy

ILCA 7

In the men's counterpart event (ILCA7 class), Finn Lynch from Carlow's National Yacht Club dropped from 23rd to 31st for the regatta after a disappointing run. Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club held his overnight 22nd place after a 14th place in the morning, followed by his worst score of the regatta, a 38th, which he was then able to discard.

Performance Director with Irish Sailing, James O'Callaghan, said, "For sure, there are a lot of positives after a week with the outcome we've had. We got to do the dry-run for the games which was the intention for this event."

The coming three months will see the full squad based in Marseille for fine-tuning and re-familiarisation with the Olympic sailing venue where the Irish Sailing Foundation has provided a training base for the past three years.

Irish 49er skiff sailors are set to compete in the 49er class world championship in Lanzarote, Canary Islands from March 4th to March 10th, 2024. With less than five months left before the Paris 2024 Olympics, this event marks an intensive phase for the Irish sailors. 

Two Irish boats will be contesting a three-event selection trials to decide who will be nominated by Irish Sailing to the Olympic Federation of Ireland for inclusion in the Olympic Team. Although a place in the men's skiff event for the games has already been secured, the Irish sailors are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the Olympics. 

Veteran Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will return to Lanzarote to compete in the event where they qualified for Tokyo 2020 just three years ago. In 2020, the duo secured bronze at the Spring Championships and will be seeking at least a top ten finish or a podium place next week. 

Royal Cork sailors Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan will contest an Olympic trial for Paris 2024 at the 49er class world championship in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, next week Photo: World SailingRoyal Cork sailors Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan will contest an Olympic trial for Paris 2024 at the 49er class world championship in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, next week Photo: World Sailing

Crosshaven's Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, campaigning independently of Irish Sailing's senior squad, are also chasing selection and will be looking to see the fruits of their intensive winter training paying off and recently landed a sponsorship deal. The Cork Harbour pairing will also aim to secure Sport Ireland carding status with a good performance in Lanzarote, which is the first of the three-event trials series. 

A total of 75 crews from 28 countries will compete in the six-day series, which comprises a qualification round to decide the Gold fleet round. From there, the top ten boats will sail a short medal race to decide the podium. 

The French Olympic Week in Hyeres followed by the 49er European Championships will complete the trials that emphasise best overall event standings rather than a boat-on-boat competition, James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Director of Performance, said. "As with the ILCA7 for the men’s single-handed event, these trials will be decided on a low-points scoring basis," he added. "This incentivises both crews to concentrate on their best regatta score rather than winning the place for Paris 2024."

The single-handed events have already concluded, with Eve McMahon and Finn Lynch in the process of being nominated to the Olympic Federation of Ireland in their respective events at the Olympic regatta set for Marseille, which will begin at the end of July.

The “Fingal Flyers” Rob Dickson of Howth (and other clubs) with Sean Waddilove of Skerries brightened sailing spirits in the gloomiest month of the year, with an absolutely stellar performance in the Olympic 49er Euros 2023 at Vilamoura in Portugal.

They swept all before them both for total victory in the event, leaving their way clear into the 2024 Sailing Olympiad at Marseille, where they first leapt to fame while still very much newbies in the U23 49er Worlds in September 2018.

Since then, despite the various Covid interruptions, they have significantly matured into the top level. They’ve taken on board the harsh lessons learned at the Tokyo Olympics, and with their start problems coming well under control, they now have an on-track and determined campaign which has brought us all some early Christmas glitter.

Published in Sailor of the Month

There will be a tight finish to Monday's battle for the single European qualification spot on offer at the 49er European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal.

After 12 races since last Wednesday, in some difficult light air conditions, Ireland and Italy are in eighth and ninth overall, only separated by 3 points pending any protests.

Dubliner's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are holding a top ten place as the championships enters its medal race finale on Monday with a Paris 2024 place at stake.

Sunday's racing proved difficult in a disappearing sea breeze. Dickson (Howth YC) and Waddilove (Skerries SC) took a fourth place in the opening race of the day, a 14th and 15th places followed and they slipped from sixth place overnight to eighth.

At the same time, Italians Simone Ferrarse and Leonardo Chiste moved up from eleventh to ninth place and follow the Irish boat by a gap of three points.

"That was a tough day; it was hard to get the strategy right,' said Dickson after racing ended. "Considering the conditions and Gold fleet, we're pretty happy with it."

Just one nation place for Paris 2024 is being decided at this regatta, with one-time Paris place leader Belgium along with Germany also able to mount a challenge on the final day.

Much depends on the weather and whether the full schedule can be sailed on Monday.

A further fleet race is due before deciding the final top ten boats to compete in the high-scoring medal race final.

Paris 2024 hopefuls Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove have been performing consistently well at the 49er European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal. However, with the competition reaching its halfway stage, the Dublin pair need to deliver a strong set of results to stay within the criteria for the Gold fleet. Currently listed at 18th overall, they are tied on points with two other boats.

At least two races are scheduled for Friday to complete the qualification round and decide the top 25 boats for the finals, where one Olympic berth in Paris is on offer. The competition is extremely close. The 14-point spread from first place to 18th highlights this fact. What's more, the spread from 18th to 26th is even tighter at just three points. 

The week is a vital week for the European nations who have yet to book an Olympic spot. Yannick Lefèbvre and Jan Heuninck are doing great work for Belgium and, in sixth overall are currently the highest-placed team in the battle for 49er qualification.

The second Irish boat sailed by Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork is facing an uphill battle to win a place in the Gold fleet. They discarded a 19th but went on to score 15th and 19th places, which drops them to 59th overall.

Light wind 49e Euros - the top boats are all struggling for consistency with the tricky conditions Photo: Prow MediaLight wind 49e Euros - the top boats are all struggling for consistency with the tricky conditions Photo: Prow Media

The Dublin pair discarded a 16th place from the opening race of day two and went on to score an eleventh and a ninth for the day that saw the light breeze progressively drop away to near-calm conditions.

"We're pretty happy with our starts - two good and one bad one - but our starting is going well [but] it's more about trying to spot the shifts," commented Dickson. "Whatever we get, we get - we can't really control the conditions."

The forecast for the remaining four days of the regatta continues with light winds. The competition is intense, and just one weighty result could tip any of the top boats out of Gold fleet contention.

There was bitter disappointment at the Allianz Sailing World Championships at The Hague today after Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove missed the first chance of Olympic Nation Qualification for Paris 2024 in the Mens Skiff discipline.

The Howth and Skerries duo looked on course to take one of the first Paris spots midweek when they were as high as sixth overall in the 49er class, but today's performance will be agonising for them as they ended their 15-race series in 14th place overall after counting a black flag disqualification (their second of the championships) in race 14. 

While the Olympic nation qualification in The Hague represented the best possible preparation for Paris 2024 and the best indicator that Ireland is in the medal hunt, Irish 49er campaigners, which includes Royal Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, have two remaining opportunities to make the Marseille startline next July. These are the 2023 European Championships in Portugal in November and a final 'Last Chance' qualification regatta just weeks before the Games itself.

The Irish crew suffered a last place in Wednesday's opening race that was delayed till the afternoon due to light winds. They could have carried that result except that they incurred a Black Flag starting disqualification in the penultimate race in which they placed second.

Had their result not been disqualified today, they would have achieved both the medal race top ten and Olympic qualification for Ireland at the first attempt.

Meanwhile, the Irish pair's training partners Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken (NED) have won 49er gold before Friday’s medal race. 
 
This is the Dutch team’s third consecutive world title, and for Lambriex the sweetest so far. 
 
“The level of the fleet was the highest we’ve seen, we’ve done it on home waters, and we have qualified to go to the Olympics,” smiled Lambriex.
 
“I’m proud of how Floris and I have dealt with the pressure this week. We didn’t sail so well yesterday and we were a bit behind the Spanish at the start of the day. We expected a big battle with them but then we saw their name on the board at the end of the second race.” 
 
Unfortunately for Diego Botin and Florian Trittel they had fallen foul of the black flag, disqualified for starting a fraction too soon. 
 
“This made our job a bit more straightforward,” said Lambriex. 
 
The Spanish hold second place but will have to sail well in the medal race to keep silver ahead of the Swiss team of Sebastien Schneiter and Arno de Planta who are just 4.2 points behind in third place.

The following countries have qualified for the games in 49er.

  1. Netherlands
  2. Spain
  3. Switzerland
  4. USA
  5. New Zealand
  6. Poland
  7. Great Britain
  8. Croatia
  9. Denmark
  10. Austria

Italy, Germany, and Ireland are the next three placed countries who have missed qualifying.

Also, Australia is now guaranteed a spot based on New Zealand qualifying, and there only being two competing nations in Oceania, and one spot awarded at the Oceania Qualifier. Canada also sets up well, as the USA has qualified early, leaving one spot for North America at the Pan Am Games, and only Canada and Mexico remaining in North America.

In a tough spot are the Asian nations and, to some extent South America. Asia has the most nations remaining, and with none qualifying so far, they must all fight for a single spot at the Asian qualifier in Thailand this December. South America will also have a tough battle, with Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and potentially Peru all seeking out a single spot in the Pan Am Games. All teams not qualified by the end of the continental qualifiers must aim for one of the three at-large berths at the last chance qualifier in April 2024.

The medal race will be on August 18th, and there will be a solid battle for the silver medal between Spain and SUI, with the British, Kiwis, and Americans having a shot at the bronze.

Results here

Solid performances from Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the men's skiff 49er class at the Allianz Sailing World Championships at The Hague are needed on Wednesday if the Irish Tokyo 2020 representatives are to retain their top ten place, a scenario which would lead them to both the medal race final on Friday and one of ten nation places available for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Strong tides and light winds add to the challenges on Tuesday, and the Dublin crew found themselves in 19th and 15th places in both races before recovering with a creditable third in the second race of the day. Overall the pair have slipped from sixth to tenth and cannot afford any further drop in form if a Paris berth is to remain on the cards.

The battle between leaders Botin with Trittel (ESP) and Lambriex with van de Werken (NED) is on! After twelve 49er races, the Spanish and Dutch protagonists find themselves just 0.2 points apart at the top of the standings. The teams are locked on the leaderboard and locked on the water, too, finishing within two places in each of the three races today. The Dutch won two of the three times to whittle down the small lead to a minuscule one. For example, 30 seconds after the start of race three, both the Spanish and Dutch struggled to hold their lanes on starboard. The Dutch tacked to Port and ducked the Spanish, and then just a few moments later, the Spanish tacked to follow and keep in lockstep. 30 minutes later, the pair were still together, finishing 6th and 7th, respectively.

James Peters and Fynn Sterrit (GBR) had two wins today and a poor race to bring themselves into the mix after the first day of gold fleet racing. They also won their final qualifying race to be on three wins in a row, the third of which was very comfortable by the time they completed the second lap. The British pair are up into third overall, typically a finish that would secure themselves a place in Paris within the confidential British trial system.

In the race to qualify nation places for Paris 2024, ten different nations are represented in the top 10 overall and aim to get the ten Paris berths on offer this week.

Gold fleet racing continues on Wednesday, with three more races scheduled. Then the top 10 will race the medal race on the 18th of August.

Results here

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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