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The Royal Irish Yacht Club’s Saskia Tidey and her Team GB sailing partner Charlotte Dobson have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their efforts to qualify for the 49erFX class in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The pair, who finished seventh among a strong field of contender at the 49erFX Europeans last month, say they have reached a “hurdle” in their present fundraising efforts.

“The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of.”

But with additional backing, they say, “we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal”.

Saskia and Charlotte have set a £5,000 of which they have raised nearly a quarter in less than a week.

For more on the pair’s campaign, see their GoFundMe page HERE.

Read the pair’s full appeal below:

We are Olympians Saskia Tidey & Charlotte Dobson. Team mates onboard our 49er FX Olympic class skiff dinghy representing Great Britain on the British Sailing team. We need your help!

After the Rio 2016 Olympic games concluded we left with fire in our bellies and our eyes and hearts set on the goal to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

For three years we have battled on the International World Sailing circuit to bring home medal winning performances for Great Britain. It has been a honour to fly the flag and and a privilege to be under the pressure of striving for greatness.

Unfortunately we have reached a hurdle in our campaign which we are finding increasingly difficult to jump. The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of. With additional funds we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal.

This summer we will represent Great Britain at the 2019 Olympic Test event in Japan. Please follow our journey and donate before August 2019 to help us reach the gold standard program we need to continue to succeed!

With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner we are seeking help and support from anyone would would like to join our journey and help us keep on the podium for Great Britain in 2020!

Sailing is a sport that can be overlooked and misunderstood but it is an exhilarating sport which is accessible to everyone and we would love to entice more viewers to enjoy it too!

Please help us on on our journey!

Follow our story on Instagram @gbr_44fx

Help Spread the word! 

Charlotte & Saskia xox

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Olympic medalist Annalise Murphy and crew Katie Tingle continue their learning curve in the 49erFX dinghy where they battled extremely testing conditions on day two of the European Championships in Weymouth.

It was a "steep learning curve" for the pair in their new discipline as they and the other Irish 49er squads faced winds over 20 knots and large seas off Weymouth on the south coast of England but one crew who is on top of her game is Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey of Dun Laoghaire who tops the leaderboard with Scotland's Charlotte Dobson for Team GB.

Conditions were so close to the limit of what can be sailed in that organisers changed the scheduled to allow the women’s 49erFX race to take place inside the harbour. While that provided more shelter and flatter waters, the easterly winds took its toll on Murphy and Tingle’s challenge.

49erfx annalise MurphyAnnalise Murphy and Katie Tingle roll to windward in the "challenging" conditions experienced at a weather mark Photo: Drew Malcolm

The Irish pair placed 27th in one race and retired in the day’s two other races yesterday, having scored a 6th, 15th and 19th place in their first three races of the regatta on Monday. Murphy, from Dublin, and Cork native Tingle have three more qualifying races tomorrow which will determine which division they sail in later this week, in what is their second competitive regatta in the Olympic class.

Tidey Leads 49erFX Fleet

The two halves of the 49erFX qualification series took place today in a 15-18 knots easterly in Portland Harbour, delivering spectacularly fast conditions for the women’s skiff fleet. While Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey have upped their game significantly in lighter conditions, the British duo were back in their favourite breeze - strong and gusty. Scores of 1,1,2 lift them to top of the leaderboard, tied on points with second-placed Brazilians, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.

A container ship near the Portland shore on the right-hand side of the course prevented a straightforward tack into the corner, forcing a couple more tacks out of the teams. “We quite liked the container ship there,” said Dobson. “It made it a bit more interesting. The gusts were pretty hard though, you couldn’t see them coming. There’s quite a lot of weight in the wind and being so close to the shore there wasn’t much warning before the next gust hit. So it kept you on your toes, you couldn’t really relax for a moment.”

The Brits’ closest rival on their side of the draw is the young Swedish team who were leading after day one, Vilma Bobeck and Malin Tengstrom, who continue to tear round the track at high speed, scoring 7,4,1 from the day. “We train with them a lot,” said Dobson. “They’re probably a bit faster than us in the breeze but we managed to be a bit more consistent on the race course.”

The other side of the draw saw a three-way battle play out between three 49erFX World Champions past and present. The reigning Olympic Champions, Grael and Kunze, had the best of it with 1,1,3. The Olympic silver medallists from New Zealand, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, notched up an ever-improving 3,2,1, lifting them to fifth overall, one place behind the other high performer of the day, the reigning World Champions Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz of the Netherlands. The Dutch were still grinning after a fun day on the water that brought them scores of 2,3,2. “We love that stuff,” said Bekkering. “We don’t get to sail in such flat water very often, and the boats were flying today.”

Bekkering and Duetz are definitely enjoying the weather so far in Weymouth, although the breeze is set to drop in the coming days. They’re strong in all conditions, but so far the higher wind - which floated between 15 and 20 knots - is making life harder for their rivals for Dutch Olympic selection. A few weeks ago Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens won the Hempel Sailing World Cup regatta in Genoa, Italy, in very light winds. This gives them a significant advantage going into the second and final part of the Olympic trials here in Weymouth. So far, Bekkering and Duetz are doing a good job of staying in the fight, but that is exactly what the reigning World Champions need to do if they hope to stay in contention for that coveted place at Tokyo 2020.

49erFX Top 5 – Full Results
1            GBR       Charlotte Dobson, Saskia Tidey                 8
2            BRA       Martine Grael, Kahena Kunze                   8
3            SWE       Vilma Bobeck, Malin Tengstrom              10
4            NED       Annemiek Bekkering, Annette Duetz        10
5            NZL        Alex Maloney, Molly Meech                      14

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish 49erFX pairing Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who are seeking a place on the Tokyo 2020 startline are lying 36th in their 57 boat fleet overall after scoring 24, 12 and 19 in the opening three races of the European Championships in Weymouth today.

The teams faced a 'challenging' easterly breeze and big waves off the Dorset coast in the opening rounds and these conditions are quite a contrast for Murphy and Tingle who made a gentle debut to the class just a few weeks ago at their first regatta, a light air Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca.

Annalise's Rio teammate Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who switched to sail for Team GB with Charlotte Dobson for Tokyo, is off to a flying start and lying fourth overall. 

Full results are here.

Junior World Champions Show Skiff Ladies the Way

Young Swedes, Vilma Bobeck and Malin Tengstrom, who won the Junior World Championship in 2018, today showed how in heavy weather, they are right in line with the World’s best.

“We suspected we could perform like this, as we’d had some good training sessions, but taking two wins and then sailing through the fleet to recover to a third is beyond our expectations,” commented the plucky helm Bobeck.

The duo started well in the first two races, and couldn’t be reeled in, taking wire-to-wire victories in both races. In the final race of the day, they started poorly but moved up throughout the race passing on every leg.

Bobeck, the helm, is a towering figure, almost the tallest sailor in the fleet. Together with the average sized Tengstrom the duo were the only 49erFX female team to compete with the top two male teams at the 2018 Junior Worlds, which was a very windy regatta in Marseille, France. This season they have finished between 8th and 21st through Miami, Vilamoura, Palma, and Genoa, but almost all of the racing this season has been in light winds. Today, they got their time to shine.

Among the ten teams chasing them are the Olympic Champions, three other World Champions and two further European Champions. Holding their leading position won’t be easy, but today was a great way for a young team to make a mark.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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As Afloat previously reported here, the Irish Sailing 49er and 49erFX teams will be sailing in next week’s European Championships, one of the highlights of the 2019 Olympic sailing calendar and an important benchmark for Irish teams still seeking Tokyo berths with a little over a year to go to the Olympic Regatta itself.

Next week’s regatta will see more than 400 of the best sailors from all over the world battle on Weymouth and Portland’s world-class waters, home of the London 2012 Olympic sailing competition, in pursuit of the European crown.

The Irish team attending the event is made up of eight sailors: 

  • Annalise Murphy (Olympic silver medallist) with Katie Tingle, competing in the 49erFX
  • Ryan Seaton (a medal race finalist at the Olympic Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016) and Seafra Guilfoyle
  • Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (winners, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and 2018 Afloat Irish Sailors of the Year)
  • Tadgh and Sean Donnelly, training partners with the Irish Sailing Performance team

Speaking in advance of the event, Ross Killian, Irish Sailing 49er Coach said “All of the teams have put in massive amounts of preparation to get ready for this event, which simply underlines its importance to them, and how keen they are to succeed. It’s another significant step toward the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.”

At the venue, Howth's Dickson and Waddilove have chalked up a 15th overall in the RYA Warm Up Regatta to set them up nicely for the main event.

Ian Barker 49erFX Irish Sailing coach said “Annalise and Katie are looking forward to the event and to getting out on the water. There’s a lot to sail for at Weymouth and they’re confident that their training and preparation regimes have them ready and prepared for the challenges ahead.”

The week-long regatta takes place at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from May 13 to 19.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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All three Irish 49er teams ended up in the silver fleet at the World Cup in Genoa yesterday leaving some head scratching in the Irish camp as to how performances might be improved before the important European championships in Weymouth next month.

The fifth day of competition in Genoa saw a long-awaited 6-9 knot steady western breeze arrive, ensuring that 41 of 42 races were completed.  Conditions during the week were described as tricky with Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach explaining “It’s been really tough conditions – one mistake and you’re at the back of the fleet".

Best of the Irish was 38th place Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove next was 48th place, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle. Sean and Tadhg Donnelly were 58th in the 65-boat fleet.

Annalise's 49erFX Debut

Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle's debut in the silver fleet of the Women’s 49erFX skiff ended with an overall 41st from 49th.

Medal Races

The scene has been set for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Medal Races at Hempel World Cup Series Genoa following the conclusion of fleet racing in the Italian city.

Italy’s Carlotta Omari and Matilda Distefano will lead the home nations hopes as they take a narrow advantage into the 49erFX Medal Race. Australian brothers David and Lachy Gilmour have New Zealand’s hottest sailing properties, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, hot on their heels in the 49er.

Full results are here. Check out all our Irish Olympic sailing coverage in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 here

All Medal Races will be live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel here - https://youtu.be/kyGGiRqiUdw

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Annalise Murphy has received a major boost to her 49erFX campaign for Tokyo 2020 as Mercedes-Benz has extended its support to the Olympic silver medallist.

The National Yacht Club hero recently resumed training without direct funding support from Sport Ireland, as her absence from competition due to Volvo Ocean Race commitments ruled her out of the €40,000-per-annum programme.

But now the 29-year-old Rathfarnham sailing star has renewed her ‘Tier One’ partnership arrangement with Mercedes-Benz, availing of a new X-Class pickup to transport her and team-mate Katie Tingle to events here in Ireland and abroad.

“Having the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is a major boost to my training regime and my ambitions for Tokyo,” she says. “I am really looking forward to giving my preparation the X-tra power that the stylish new X-Class delivers.”

Soon to be a regular sight at 49erFX events, the 190hp X-Class is finished in the Kabara black, silver and grey livery similar to that on her previous Mercedes-Benz Vito Mixto van.

Equipped to tow her and Katie’s 49erFX, its features include 4MATIC 4x4 automatic transmission, chrome style bar, bed liner and bed cover in body-matching colour, reversing camera, cruise control power, rear sliding window and a style pack that includes roof rails and side steps.

Wishing Annalise every success on her road to Tokyo, Fergus Conheady, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, said: “We are proud to continue our support for Annalise, one of Ireland’s most admired Olympians.”

The renewed support for Annalise Murphy could not come at a better time, as she and Katie prepare for their first big test of their qualifying campaign at the World Cup event in Genoa, Italy next week.

Published in National YC

Two of Ireland’s most promising sailors in Aoife Hopkins and Katie Tingle have been the subject of separate profiles in recent days.

Katie Tingle has been making her big comeback after a broken arm put her and Annalise Murphy’s 49erFX training regimen on pause last autumn.

But it’s also been part of a longer return for the Cork sailor, who swapped competitive racing for coaching after success in the Optimist class as a junior last decade.

A reconnection with former junior peer Annalise on the Wednesday night scene in Dublin led to a fateful phone call a year ago, from the Olympic silver medallist to the primary school teacher: did Katie want to join her 49erFX Olympic campaign?

“I don’t think she’d have asked me if she didn’t think I could do it and I wouldn’t have said yes if I didn’t think deep down that I could do it either,” Katie tells The42.ie.

The 29-year-old was already deep into training and conditioning when Annalise returned from her stint in the Volvo Ocean Race, and the two started getting to grips with their new boat on Dublin Bay — the Olympian learning from Katie who had previous experience in two-handed dinghies.

However, a freak incident just weeks into training left Katie with a broken arm — and out of the water for four crucial months.

As needs must, Annalise shortly after resumed training over the winter in the warmer climes of Portugal, with Adam Hyland in Katie’s stead — while Katie hit the gym as soon as doctors allowed get back on the road to sailing fitness.

Earlier this year Annalise and Katie, how fully healed up, reunited and got back in their groove with the challenging 49erFX as their first big test — and first Tokyo 2020 qualifier — looms in Genoa just two weeks from now.

“AoifeAoife Hopkins weight training | Photo: Irish Sailing

Another young sailor who faces a big test in Genoa is Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins.

The Laser Radial ace not only steps into the significant gap left by Annalise Murphy, whose Rio 2016 silver medal was in the class — she’s also in competition with teammate Aisling Keller for the single slot available to Ireland.

Aoife tells The Irish Times how she juggles the training regimen of her Tokyo 2020 campaign with the demands of her maths degree at Trinity College, not to mention the various expenses associated with performance sailing at the highest level.

In a boost to their aspirations, Aoife and her fellow performance sailors now benefit from Irish Sailing's new Performance Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Olympic

The Irish Times reported earlier this month that Irish Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy no longer has her direct funding support from Sport Ireland.

Performance in competition is a prerequisite for the €40,000-per-annum support under the international carding scheme, also known as the ‘podium’ grand.

However, 29-year-old Annalise moved on from the Laser Radial class after her silver medal win in Rio in 2016.

She spent a number of months in 2017 and 2018 sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race before taking up the 49erFX with a view to qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Annalise recently resumed winter trials with her new boat in Portugal, joined by sailing partner Katie Tingle now recovered from an arm injury sustained last year.

Their first competition as a duo is expected be the Sailing World Cup series regatta in Genoa, Italy this April.

And both will continue to be supported by Irish Sailing, with high performance director James O’Callaghan saying: “The important thing is that [Annalise is] full on campaigning for Tokyo, and we’re delighted to have her back.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in ISA

Just crowned Irish Sailors of the Year, Robert Dickson and Robert Waddilove were back on the water in Portugal finishing 23rd in a fleet of 53 at the second round of the Portugal Grand Prix in Vilamoura. Top Irish 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle (who injured his leg in November) were 17th and National Yacht Club duo Tadhg and Donnelly finished 31st in the 11–race regatta.

But the best result of an Irish sailor was scored by Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Saskia Tidey – now sailing for Team GB – who finished third overall in the 49erFX fleet.

Vilamoura has been growing as a winter destination for the past few seasons. Regattas in December and now February attracted 109 and then 116 boats respectively across 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17. Indeed, Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle are also based here but although out on the water at the weekend, the pair were not recorded as an entry in the official results.  See full results here.  See vid of the pair in Vilamoura below: 

The regatta this past weekend featured big breeze and waves each of the days.

Check out this video of 2018 European Champions Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen (NOR) in absolute survival mode heading downwind as they navigate a growing graveyard. 

The 49er fleet was the largest and deepest. Diego Botin and Iago Marra (ESP) hardly made any mistakes in the tough conditions, and had only one race outside of the top 10 to compliment three race wins to take the overall victory. They were pressed hard by James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) who was the only team to stay in the hunt with the Spaniards. Both teams had disappointing conclusions to the Miami World Cup only 10 days ago, being over early in the medal race, but rebounded in the much fresher conditions.

The 49er fleet was somewhat depleted by the number of teams participating in Sail GP, which overlapped, and a very healthy down under circuit in both Auckland and Australia.

The 49erFX racing was a three way battle royale for the win. Going into the final race it was the 2018 World Champions, Bekkering and Duetz (NED), on 13 points, Dobson and Tidey (GBR) on 14 points, and Nielsen and Olsen (DEN) on 20 points.

The Danish multiple European Champions, took the final race, their second in a row to keep the pressure on, but it was the 2018 World Champions from the Netherlands who managed a second in the race to claim the title. Dobson and Tidey finished in 8th, and subsequently had to be satisfied with third overall after leading for much of the regatta.

See full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Former Irish Olympian Saskia Tidey won bronze in the 49erFX with her sailing partner Charlotte Dobson at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami yesterday (Saturday 2 February).

The Royal Irish Yacht Club skiff sailor, who switched to Team GB two years ago for her Tokyo 2020 campaign, had an impressive week on the waters of Biscayne Bay with Dobson — including three top-three placements.

The pair capped it off with a finish in fourth in the medal race that was enough to earn them the final spot on the podium behind New Zealand's Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech who took silver, and Brazilian Olympic champions Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze who claimed the gold.

Also in Miami, and despite his neck injury, Ireland’s top Laser sail Finn Lynch remains in contention for a podium finish on the final day of racing later today (Sunday 3 February).

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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