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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

Leading Irish 49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth Yacht Club dropped ten places in the overall standings to be just a single place outside the all-important gold fleet cut-off at the 2020 49er World Championship in Geelong, Australia.

The qualification series was reduced after the first day of racing was lost to weather. Racing continues until Saturday in gold and silver fleet splits.

Irish rivals for Tokyo 2020, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle improved overall jumping from 49th to 34th in the 78-boat fleet and their scoresheet includes a second place in race five, an individual score to compare to the race win of Dickson and Waddilove in the opening race of the championships.

Reigning 49er world champions and Rio 2016 Gold medallists, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), bagged enough low scores in the qualification round to lead at the midway point of the qualification round

The top 25 49er teams go through to gold fleet to fight in the coming three days for the world title, and Burling/Tuke are primed to defend their crown, which would make it six for the canny Kiwis.

“It’s good to get through the qualifying series with some low scores, we didn’t sail our best at times, but we had some pretty good comebacks to make up for it. It was pretty tricky out there, plenty of shifts,” Burling said during the derig. “Tomorrow looks pretty similar in terms of the forecast - it should be nice. All the good guys are still here and pushing hard.”

Chasing they are, as the top six teams through qualifying were all in the top eight at the 2019 Worlds. With so many highly-ranked teams close on points, the gold fleet racing will be dramatic. Join us from 1100hrs (AEDT) to watch all the action.

The city of Geelong in the southern state of Victoria awoke to steady rain, grey skies and mist which affected visibility on Corio Bay. It’s been a rare sight at these championships but finally the sun broke through and up to 18 knots of SSE puffy magic blessed the afternoon session, on Wednesday February 12.

Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl tallied an equally low score to the frontrunners and the Spanish duo of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra finished a strong third overall.

Worth highlighting are the three Danish teams in the top 15, the best of those Mads Emil Lubeck and Nikolaj Hoffman Buhl. A strong USA presence in the top 20 is being spearheaded by Andrew Mollerus and his 49er crew Ian MacDiarmid who are eighth overall.

“It’s the first step getting to gold; the regatta starts now,” MacDiarmid said. “We are checking off the list we have, making sure we get through the regatta - nothing crazy on the scoreboard and no letters; just putting it through well.”

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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A day of waiting for two Irish Olympic 49er teams disappointingly ended without any racing at the 2020 world title for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

The Race Committee monitored conditions on Corio Bay from well before the morning session to late afternoon, 25-30 knots out of the east keeping 49er crews ashore all day playing pool and cards, one eye on the flagpole. Afternoon sessions for the 49erFX and Nacra 17 were abandoned early.

Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will compete in Geelong on their road to a Tokyo Olympic Trial in Italy in search of the last remaining Olympic berth in April.

Despite four years of hard campaigning, Ireland has still not met the qualification standard for Tokyo. The last chance is at the Euro qualifiers in Genoa in Italy.

The racing schedule for Tuesday, February 11 remains as per the schedule which is 49erFX and Nacras up first and 49er men’s skiffs in the afternoon. The forecast is for lighter winds in the morning then SSW 15-20kts in the afternoon with the chance of thunderstorms.

Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey, now a member of the British Olympic team member and qualified for Tokyo, is competing in the 49erFX.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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British Sailing’s performance director Ian Walker has predicted a five-medal haul for Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In a recent sports podcast conversation, as reported on Sailweb, the boss of the UK’s Olympic sailing squad would not be drawn on what medals they would take home, nor in which class.

But the former Irish Green Dragon skipper, and RYA racing director, did indicate that the team were capable of greater things provided the conditions were more windy than light.

Irish 49erFX sailor Saskia Tidey is among those who will be in contention with Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games.

She and her sailing partner Charlotte Dobson were selected last October and head to Enoshima as serious medal contenders.

This follows a string of successes since forming their partnership in 2017 when Tidey switched from Team Ireland due to a lack of opportunity here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Lough Derg Yacht Club’s Laser Radial contender Aisling Keller has been named in the shortlist for Her Sport’s Young Athlete Of The Year gong, voted on by the website’s readers.

She joins a list with nine other remarkable Irish sportswomen who “provided some of the most thrilling and memorable moments, in what was arguably one of our greatest sporting years of all time”.

Keller, who secured her place at the Tokyo Olympics at the Laser Worlds last July, was also named Afloat’s Sailor of the Month (Olympic) for November as is in the running for the overall award next month.

Published in Laser

Irish Sailing National and International Judge Chris Lindsay of Carrickfergus Sailing Club on Belfast Lough has been appointed as an International Technical Official (ITO) for the Tokyo Olympics. Not only will Chris be the only Irish race official in Tokyo, but he’ll also be taking on a brand new role as Video Officiating ITO (International Technical Official).

So what is a Video Officiating International Technical Official?

The Tokyo Olympics will be the first Olympics to have officials with an eye on the screen, using technology to provide a dedicated back up to the on-the-water ITO team. Chris will be working with new software that records the sailing live, and watching all the racing from behind a screen and noting potential rule infringements and other issues for the jury. This information is then available if required in a protest hearing or redress and helps to speed up the process.

Where did the love of umpiring begin?

There are many paths a sailor can take and Chris’s is a little different to most. He started out as a child on big boats at Carrickfergus Sailing Club, learning sailing “hands on”, mainly as there wasn’t much dinghy sailing back then.

While studying chemistry at Oxford, he joined the thriving and competitive world of University Team Racing. Chris describes Team Racing as being reliant on a good knowledge of the rules – it’s not about who’s the fastest, but who can work as a team and use the rules to their advantage. He was drawn to the role of umpire, loving the thrill and adrenaline of driving a rib out on the racecourse and making immediate decisions to keep the racing moving.

Chris is still in Oxford and finishing up a PhD on statins. But he loves nothing more than to spend a weekend working as a judge or race official back in Ireland whenever he can and says “the people I get to work with are the best part. Sitting at the post-event dinner with race officials from around the World and sharing stories. And that thrill and rush of being an umpire is second to none.”

How does a race official reach the heady heights of the Olympics?

Through commitment and hard work. Chris outlines the route he took: “getting the basics of Local Race Umpire, then National Umpire and onto International Umpire, all the while putting each level into practice, being active and in time World Sailing notice your commitment and work”. World Sailing choose the ITOs for the Olympics based on what they have noticed, experience, qualifications and references. There is no application process; instead “you just get a letter in the post informing you that you have been chosen”.

“I am looking forward to seeing what the Olympics is all about, being part of a hugely talented group of ITOs, being in the Olympic Village, watching the opening ceremony and of course the incredible sailing (albeit on-screen). This will be an event like no other.” Chris

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Despite a bravo performance by young Dublin skiff sailors who finished in the top quarter of the 88-boat fleet, an Irish Tokyo 2020 berth was not secured in Auckland today.

Four European countries were selected this week in a championship won by multiple Olympic and now five-time world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand.

Now, in order to make the Tokyo startline at all, the two Irish skiff crews will be forced to scrap it out for one last remaining European country Olympic place to be decided in Genoa, Italy next April. It's a scenario that highlights why qualification at the 2018 Worlds in Aarhus was so important for Ireland two years ago.

Ireland, Belgium and Italy will be contenders for this single place (Ireland finished ahead of both Italy and Belgium this week) and the Irish Olympic representative will be decided by whichever crew qualifies the country, if any.

Team manager James O'Callaghan admits "Genoa will be a dogfight to qualify as it is a notoriously light airs and shifty venue". 

22nd for Dickson & Waddilove

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) ended the Gold fleet series in 22nd place overall in their best ever performance at senior level.

Highlights of the week for the Dublin pair were winning the opening race in the qualification round and a day of top ten results in the Gold fleet.

"This is a huge confidence boost, there's no reason we can't be back in the Gold fleet again."

Seaton Wants 'More Racing Experience'

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) didn't make the Gold fleet after losing out on a three-way tie-break on Thursday and sailed the remainder of the 17-race series in the Silver group.

"We're awfully disappointed with how our regatta turned out but very happy to see the young guys make Gold fleet," said Seaton. "But we know what we have to work to improve and it's not boat-speed - more racing experience will allow us to develop roles and better communication between us; we need to stick to our processes on board."

Spain, Austria, The Netherlands and Poland took the four country qualification places available in New Zealand. 

Burling & Tuke Win Fifth World Title

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won a fifth world title to add to the four consecutive victories they enjoyed between 2013 and 2016. This will be one of the sweetest victories, however, not least because it’s on home waters, but also because of how hard the Kiwis were forced to work for this gold medal.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel had made a bit of a mess of the previous day’s racing but the Germans really turned it on at the end of the competition. With Burling/ Tuke forced out of the first Gold Fleet race of the morning due to a broken tiller extension, the Germans had the opportunity to close the points gap. Heil/ Ploessel came from deep in the pack to record a ninth place and then were fast out of the blocks in the next race, winning that one at a canter. Fortunately for home fans Burling/ Tuke had recovered their composure to finish third behind the Germans.

This gave New Zealand an 8-point gap going into the double-points, 10-boat Medal Race, effectively a four-boat buffer on their German rivals. As good as in the bag for the talented New Zealanders, surely...

But no! While racing up the first beat the Germans forced the Kiwis to tack off and Burling slipped from his trapeze handle during the tack to almost capsize. Rounding the windward mark in ninth and out of gold medal position, Burling and Tuke turned on their downwind jets - moving up the fleet and with a few more passes were up into fourth. With the Germans in second there was nothing left that could be done by Heil and Ploessel. Burling and Tuke rose to the occasion despite showing some rare unforced errors, and were pushed hard all the way by Heil and Ploessel. After a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Games, the Germans have displayed sufficient class to be able to dream of beating the New Zealanders to the top step at Tokyo 2020 next summer.

After looking like they might not even make the 25-boat cut for Gold Fleet earlier in the week, Diego Botin & Iago Marra (ESP) made the comeback of the regatta. The Spanish had a shot at the bronze medal if things went their way, and winning the Medal Race was the best way for them to conclude their time in Auckland. The 2017 World Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR) looked to be in trouble but the Brits finished 8th in the Medal Race which was sufficient to hang on to the last medal by a single point from the Spanish. At least the Spanish have done enough to secure a spot for the Olympic Games after failing to make the Gold Fleet at the previous Worlds in Denmark.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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A race win in breezy conditions for Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove was the best possible start for the Howth Yacht Club and Skerries duo who are one of two Irish teams trying to qualify Ireland this week at the 49er World Championships in Tokyo

As Afloat previously reported, this week's Championships is the most important regatta for sailors outside of the Olympic Games and four Olympic berths are up for grabs but Ireland must finish in the top eight overall to be in with a realistic chance of securing one of these prized places.

High winds delayed the racing schedule on Auckland Harbour today.

After two races from a possible 15 for the complete series, Dickson and Waddilove are 16th overall with double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle lying 26th overall. Irish teams sailed in separate flights of 30 boats each.

After a general recall, the Blue fleet, , in which Dickson and Waddilove were sailing, was the last race to get going as they suffered from unstable winds. By the time racing did get going the wind started picking up quickly and many top teams got caught out on the wrong rig settings.

Some of the favourites in this fleet - such as Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL 42) - found themselves with a lot to do at the first windward mark. Portuguese sailors Jorge Lima and Jose Costa suffered rig damage and were forced to pull out of competition for the rest of the day, a disappointing start to the regatta with Costa also suffering an ankle injury.

Showing no hesitation were Rio Olympic bronze medalists Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER 4), but in tacking to the left side upwind the experienced Germans let slip the 2018 Junior World Champions from Ireland, Dickson and Waddilove, who overtook for the lead.

In a tight downwind battle, the young Irishmen held off the Olympic medallists to win their first ever race at a World Championship, a massive moment for any sailor.

For the world's best this week is the best measuring stick for how they stack up as a fleet. Teams doing well will be the ones to beat in Tokyo, and their countries will deliver the resources needed to take aim at Tokyo for those who they think can win a medal.

A bit farther down in the fleet, there are four Olympic qualifying berths on offer and currently, Dickson and Waddilove are the fourth country, but it is far too early in the series to lay claim to a Tokyo berth. Full results are here. Organisers have indicated countries seeking Olympic berths with a blue bar. The key to success for Ireland will be a string of consistent results and this morning's opening bid shows Ireland has the potential to be in Tokyo.

Only 20 teams make it to the Olympics, and many top sailing teams are still not qualified for Tokyo. Qualifying is a three-stage process, where the first berths were awarded last year at the 2018 World Championship in Aarhus, and the 2019 Worlds is the second stage. The final stage is called continental qualifying, and it will occur in the spring of 2020 on each continent.

Organisers had to wait for a weather front to clear the racing area causing a six-hour wait for the 89 crews representing 30 countries and day two of racing will begin one hour earlier on Wednesday to catch-up on the lost programme.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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#Canoeing: Liam Jegou has been nominated by Canoeing Ireland to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Jegou won the selection event for the C1 at the British Open. The boat had been qualified by Robert Hendrick at the canoe slalom World Championships. The selection will be confirmed once the Olympic Federation of Ireland makes the announcement.  

Published in Canoeing
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Although Team Ireland hopes were dashed when Annalise Murphy quit the 49erFX for a Radial return this month there is consolation in fledgeling skiff circles that another Dun Laoghaire sailor has reached the standard and been confirmed for the women's class in Tokyo even though Saskia Tidey will not be sailing for her native Ireland.

Tidey's remarkable achievements since opting to sail for Team GB after Rio 2016 have been rewarded with Royal Yachting Association (RYA) confirmation today that she and Charlotte Dobson will be the British representatives in Enoshima in 300 days time. What's more the Scottish-Irish combination head to Japan as serious medal contenders after a succession of stellar international results this quadrennial.

Skipper Dobson returns to the 49erFX, this time sailing with the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Tidey, after a change of crew following the 2016 games.

"Last time it felt like it was all about the experience," Dobson said to the BBC this morning adding."This time around the announcement feels more like an attack on the podium."

Dun Laoghaire born Tidey was a relative latecomer to sailing, taking up the sport aged 15 after watching coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

A clear natural talent, Tidey’s progression through the ranks was quick – and eight years later she was representing Ireland at Rio 2016 in the 49er FX, finishing 12th.

Tidey joined the British Sailing Team in early 2017, eligible to compete under the Union flag through her father Don, and teamed up with Dobson for a crack at Tokyo 2020.

Since then Dobson and Tidey have proved themselves a formidable force on the Olympic circuit, bagging silver medals at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Final and the 49er FX European Championships, plus wins at Kiel Week 2017 and the 2018 Medemblik regatta.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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Sky Sport will broadcast live all six days of December’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland, New Zealand, which is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class sailing world championships it has been announced by the 49er and 49erFX world president Marcus Spillane from Cork.

Spillane is also a member of Irish Sailing's Olympic Steering Group charged with assisting Irish Sailors to reach medal winning positions in the Olympic Games so he will have added interest in ensuring Ireland's 49er crews, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove will be in the best possible position to compete for the final chance of an Olympic berth at Tokyo 2020.

Unfortunately, the championships will not now include Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who quit their fledgeling campaign last week.

49er Dickson Waddilove 1854Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are New Zealand bound Photo: Afloat

As many as 400 of the world’s best sailors, including New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, are expected to compete at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from December 3-8.

Not only will world titles be on the line, but many countries will be using it as an Olympic selection event so the stakes will be high.

Sky Sport will screen live all six days of racing – six races a day – and also produce a daily highlights package, which will also be shown on free-to-air partner Prime TV.

On-the-water gyroscopic cameras will capture all the racing action, including state-of-the-art drones, and there will be comprehensive analysis and interviews from the boat park before and after the racing presented by a team of sailing experts.

Tracking and animation will also be provided by Animation Research Ltd, who are world leaders in graphics visualisation.

“We’re proud to be the host broadcaster for this great event, and we look forward to bringing sailing fans racing coverage from December 3-8 on Sky Sport,” Sky head of sports production Brian Hitchcock said.

The scale of the production is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class regatta and will enable New Zealand fans to get close to the action. Negotiations are also progressing to distribute the feed internationally.

The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 are arguably the most exciting of all of the Olympic classes, with the boats reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots.

Burling and Tuke have made a successful comeback to the 49er after a couple of years focusing on the America’s Cup and Ocean Race, winning last month’s Olympic test event in Japan, and will be looking to add a fifth world title in December.

“We are thrilled to have Sky Sport New Zealand broadcast our upcoming world championship,” 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 president Spillane said. “The 2019 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 world championships are likely to be the most competitive regatta in all of sailing this year.

“To have a passionate New Zealand audience and our global fanbase be able to watch the whole thing is wonderful for the sport.”

The regatta is one of the highlights on the upcoming sailing calendar, which also includes February’s RS:X world championships in Auckland as well as the 2021 America’s Cup.

“It’s a great time to be involved in sailing in this country,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “With Sky Sport’s partnership, we have an opportunity to further inspire our young sailors through sharing content, telling stories and showing live just how exciting sailing, and in particular, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 sailing, can be.

“As a passionate nation of sports enthusiasts and sailors, we look forward to what promises to be an exciting week of competition and thank Sky Sport for their commitment to work with us in showcasing sailing and Auckland and New Zealand.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
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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

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