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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Saskia Tidey will make her third Olympic Games appearance in 2024 after being named as one of ten sailors for Team GB.

Returning for another tilt at Olympic glory is Saskia Tidey, who, with two previous Olympic Games under her belt, will be the most experienced member of the sailing team.

Tidey, of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, is picked in the women’s skiff class alongside crew mate Freya Black, the youngest sailor in the Team GB sailing line-up at 22 years old.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Tidey first sailed in the Olympics in Rio 2016 for Ireland but switched to Team GB for Tokyo 2020 due to a lack of opportunities in the skiff class at home.

Olympic medallists Emma Wilson, John Gimson and Anna Burnet, who recently broke the record for the fastest crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland in their foiling catamaran, are also among ten sailors named by the British Olympic Association (BOA) as the first Team GB athletes selected for Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The trio headline a new-look group of elite sailors representing seven of the ten Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at London’s St Pancras Station, home of the Eurostar.

Tokyo 2020 silver medal winners Gimson and Burnet sealed their Paris place with a bronze in the mixed multihull fleet at the Olympic test event in July, followed by the runners-up spot at the World Championships in August. 

Wilson also enjoyed a solid summer, with bronze at the iQFOiL European Championships followed up with a silver at the test event in Marseille, the venue for the Paris 2024 sailing competition.

Her selection for Team GB is all the more impressive given she has only been racing the iQFOiL, the foiling windsurfer new for Paris 2024, for two years.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will look to continue Britain’s success in the men’s skiff on their Olympic debut, following in the footsteps of Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.

Windsurfer Sam Sills earned his place with Team GB after winning the men’s iQFOiL class at the illustrious Princess Sofia regatta in Mallorca this year, following it up with a fifth at the Sailing World Championships.

Irish Sea sailor Michael Beckett will pick up the mantle in the men’s dinghy and attempt to break Australia’s three-Games winning streak in the class.

Meanwhile, Ellie Aldridge’s historic European title win just two weeks ago secured her place as the sole representative in the women’s kite class, the second of the two new sailing disciplines for Paris 2024.

Mark Robinson, Team GB Sailing Team Leader and RYA Performance Director, said: “Announcing this amazing group of sailors as the first athletes for Team GB is a real privilege. They are the best of the best and have all rightly earned their spots thanks to some fantastic performances over the past year.

“We have a lot of pressure and expectation on us to maintain our record as the most successful Olympic nation, but I have no doubt that the sailors announced today are the ones who can help us succeed in that challenge in Marseille next summer.”

Team GB has a rich history of excellence in Olympic sailing competition, having won 64 medals, including 31 golds, more than any other nation.

Former Team GB athletes Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills are the most successful male and female Olympic sailors of all time; Ainslie with four golds and a silver, Mills with two golds and a silver.

The sailors selected for Team GB at Paris 2024 are:

  • John Gimson and Anna Burnet – Mixed Multihull (Nacra 17)
  • James Peters and Fynn Sterritt – Men’s Skiff (49er)
  • Freya Black and Saskia Tidey – Women’s Skiff (49erFX)
  • Emma Wilson – Women’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Sam Sills – Men’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Ellie Aldridge – Women’s Kite (Formula Kite)
  • Michael Beckett – Men’s Dinghy (ILCA 7)
Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Two Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailors are a step closer to the Paris 2024 Olympics thanks to their performances at last week's World Sailing Championships in The Hague.

In addition to the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch gaining Ireland's only place so far for the Marseille-based Olympic regatta, his Rio 2016 teammate Saskia Tidey (30) also took a berth in the 49er FX for Team GB.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, Tidey quit the Irish Team after Rio 'due to lack of opportunities at home' in the 49er FX skiff and embarked on a new campaign for Team GB (thanks to dual citizenship), and led the Tokyo 2020 event at the halfway stage with Scottish helm Charlotte Dobson before finishing sixth. Now the Royal Irish Yacht Club ace has qualified Britain for Paris 2024 by coming home fifth in The Hague with new helm Freya Black and is a front-runner to make Team GB for a second time, bringing with it the prospect of her becoming a triple Olympian. 

Tidey and Black were among eight Team GB teams to achieve qualification in The Hague.

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Tokyo 2020 UK stars John Gimson, Anna Burnet, and Emma Wilson will headline a stellar cast of athletes picked to represent Great Britain at the Paris 2024 test event that includes Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

The medal-winning trio are among a 14-strong squad that will take on the world’s best in Marseille, the host city of the sailing competition at next summer’s Olympics, in July.

The test event is a dress rehearsal for the Games, with only one entry per nation in each of the ten classes.

It’s also a key performance indicator in the run-up to Paris 2024, where Britain will aim to maintain its title as the world’s most successful Olympic sailing team.

Gimson and Burnett, Nacra 17 silver medallists at Tokyo 2020, will head to Marseille unbeaten in 2023, chalking up wins at the Princess Sofia Trophy and Semaine Olympique Française regattas.

Team GB Windsurfer Emma WilsonTeam GB Windsurfer Emma Wilson

Windsurfer Wilson (above), who won Olympic bronze in the RS:X, has also enjoyed an impressive start to the season with victory at the Princess Sofia Trophy and bronze at the iQFOiL European Championships.

With many of the successful Tokyo 2020 team hanging up their wetsuit boots, including gold medallists Giles Scott, Hannah Mills, Eilidh McIntyre, Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, a new generation will get their chance stake their claims for a ticket to the greatest show on Earth.

Joining Wilson on the iQFOiL, one of two new sailing classes making their Olympic debut in Paris, will be Sam Sills (below), who won bronze at the Lanzarote International Regatta before clinching the top spot at the Princess Sofia Trophy.

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With Formula Kite also set to debut in Paris, Connor Bainbridge and Ellie Aldridge have been chosen to compete at the test event off the back off bronze medals at the Princess Sofia Trophy and another for Bainbridge at Semaine Olympique Française.

A win at Princess Sofia followed by bronze at Semaine Olympique Française was enough to secure Micky Beckett the coveted spot in the ILCA 7, while 2022 Princess Sofia silver medallist Hannah Snellgrove will fly the flag in the ILCA 6 fleet.

Stalwart pairing James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will take on the 49er fleet, while two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey and test event debutant Freya Black will contest the 49erFX class.

As regular Afloat readers know, Tidey switched to sail for Team GB after Rio due to 'a lack of opportunities in the Irish team set-up'.

In the mixed 470, the spot goes to Martin Wrigley and Bettine Harris. The duo only joined forces a few months ago but have put in some promising performances.

Selection for the test event, made by the RYA's Olympic Selection Committee, is a key step in the RYA's ongoing process to nominate athletes to go to Paris 2024 as part of Team GB.

It doesn’t guarantee that these athletes will be picked to represent Team GB in Paris 2024.

Mark Robinson, the RYA’s Performance Director, said: “Attending the Olympic test event is always a key milestone in one’s Olympic campaign journey and these 14 athletes, through their recent performances, thoroughly deserve that opportunity. With a number of equipment and class changes for Paris 2024 we have selected a great mix of up-and-coming performers alongside seasoned campaigners at the highest level.”

The Paris 2024 test event runs from July 9 to 16.

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Saskia Tidey, who now sails for Team GB in a 49erFX campaign for Paris 2024, struck gold with new sailing partner Freya Black at Lanzarote International Regatta.

Black and Tidey (of the Royal Irish Yacht Club) looked hard to beat going into the regatta with a consistent display in some strong wind conditions. In the medal race, the Irish-British combination crossed the finish line in fourth, giving them the gold medal. Italy’s Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi made a late charge across the finish to grab silver from the Americans, Steph Roble and Maggie Shea, who took bronze.

A year ago, Black had barely trapezed off the side of any dinghy, let alone a high-performance skiff like the 49erFX. Working with the experienced double Olympian Tidey, Black quickly made phenomenal progress. “I’m so, so buzzing and so proud of what we've done here this week,” said Black. Tidey added: “We’re slightly ahead of where we want to be and it’s a great start to a really important year as we build up towards qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“We’ve had a really good training block here in Lanzarote. We've been here for three years now, and the conditions just deliver every single time we've been here"

Results here

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Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club has moved to the top of the 49erFX women’s fleet on day two of the Lanzarote International Regatta on the Canary Islands. 

Tidey, who sails with Freya Black for Great Britain due to a lack of skiff opportunities in Ireland, held their nerve in big seas to move to the top of the 49erFX women’s fleet at the Lanzarote International Regatta on the Canary Islands. 

Even launching the 49erFX fleet had its hairy moments; the wind was gusting hard through Marina Rubicon as the women launched their frisky, disobedient skiffs onto the water. The racing was a war of attrition with multiple nosedives, pitchpoles and capsizes in the huge, unforgiving swell.

Double Olympian Saskia Tidey (IRL and GBR): “Defo the Biggest Wave of My Life!”

Where the 470s travel at more or less wave speed a lot of the time, the 49erFX always wants to overtake the wave, and that’s where the trouble begins. Learning how to throttle back is sometimes more important than putting your foot to the floor.

Emerging unscathed and on top of the leaderboard were the still quite new pairing of Freya Black and Saskia Tidey (GBR). While Tidey has been to the past two Olympic Games (for Ireland in Rio 2016) in the 49erFX, Black is barely a year in this demanding class, which made her mastery of today’s conditions all the more impressive. 

Tidey was still buzzing from a big day out. “Pretty full on, but fun, massive waves,” she grinned. “Thankfully, we kept a dry mast for all three races, plenty of points where we were nearly going over, but Freya did a great job of keeping the stick in the sky.

“To be honest,” continued Tidey, “I think I saw two of the biggest waves in my career today. Bigger than in Tokyo, but we survived them and that’s all that matters. A lot of time I was head in the boat, trying to look after ourselves and keeping out of trouble, so I’m only just realising now how much of a big day it’s been with breakage and injury. It’s an epic venue and Marina Rubicon are putting on such a great show here, we’re really enjoying it.”

Almost as consistent as the British scores of 2,4,1 were the Italians, Jana Germani & Georgia Bertuzzi (ITA) who won the first two heats and were sixth in the last. However their mast tip snapped soon after the end of the last race. “We haven’t had a moment to think about what we did just now,” said Germani as she and Bertuzzi rushed to prepare a new mast in case the fleet was sent out for an afternoon session. “We were sailing in after the races and a fitting at the top of the mast broke so we need to hurry to get ready again.” 

The Italians have moved to second overall with Steph Roble & Maggie Shea (USA) posting a solid day to climb to third place, just ahead of yesterday’s leaders, Olympic Champions Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA) who struggled today.

The forecast for Sunday and the coming days is looking very good. Racing starts at 1100 hours on Sunday morning.

Results here

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Five Irish sailors will be looking to make a big impression at the 49er Worlds 2022 in the frigid waters of Nova Scotia, which get under way this coming Wednesday 31 August.

In the 49er division, the experienced skiff duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club/Skerries Sailing Club) will be up against the new Royal Cork pairing of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan within a challenging field.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny DurcanSéafra Guilfoyle (left) and Johnny Durcan

Meanwhile, in the 49erFX, Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey and new Team GB skiff partner Freya Black will be looking to improve upon their 24th-place finish in last month’s Europeans and make a bigger splash at Hubbards on St Margaret’s Bay, some 50km west of Halifax.

Robert Dickson and Sean WaddiloveRobert Dickson (left) and Sean Waddilove

The village’s community waterfront on the site of a former fish processing plant has been completely transformed in preparation for the championships hosting the cream of 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 racers the world over.

Racing at the 2022 World Championship runs from Wednesday 31 August to Monday 5 September with daily live streams from Day 3 (Friday 2 September). 

A seventh in the Kiel Week medal race leaving Dubliners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in ninth overall represents another creditable result on the road to Paris 2024 for the Tokyo 2020 49er reps and another confidence boost before this week's toughest test of this triennial so far; the European Championships that start on Tuesday, (July 5th).

Buoyed by their top ten in Kiel and second in June's Allianz Regatta (not to mention an Irish Sailor of the Month award), the 90-boat Euros is the biggest event of the 2022 season so far, and with Paris just two years away will prove a crucial benchmark across the international fleet.

Also competing for Ireland are Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from the Royal Cork YC.

The 2022 European Championships run until the 10th of July at Aarhus, Denmark. 

Saskia Tidey

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who is competing for Team GB due to 'a lack of opportunities at home' will compete in the 74-boat 49erFX fleet.

In fact, Tidey is part of five British crews contesting the title. 

Rio 2016 (for Team Ireland) and Tokyo 2020 Olympian for GB) Saskia Tidey and new teammate Freya Black will be looking to make an impression on the fleet, although their lead-up to the regatta was disrupted by Covid. 

“Our lead into the Europeans has been challenging and not quite as planned,” Black said. “We will push through and hope to be fit and fighting on day one. We are buzzing to make a debut as a team at our first Europeans together and we are ready to give it the best shot we can.” 

To follow the results, click here.

Britain’s elite sailors laid down a marker as the 2022 season got underway at Palma’s iconic Trofeo Princesa Sofia, bringing home medals in six of the ten classes.

The British Sailing Team haul included two golds, a silver and three bronze as the six-day regatta came to a climax in Palma Bay.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7 (formerly Laser) class, his first-ever medal at any World Cup event, while Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7Michael Beckett took gold in the ILCA 7

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial), and there were bronzes for Ellie Aldridge and Connor Bainbridge in the Formula Kite classes, and John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the Nacra 17.

“This is one of the first World Cup regattas I ever did, ten years ago, and so the number of people here and the scale of the event makes it special,” said Beckett, from Solva in Pembrokeshire. “I remember at the time how unbelievably difficult it was then and I had so much respect for the people who were winning then. This is a proper event and this is the first World Cup event I have won. That means a lot.”

Brown, from Glasgow, revelled in Palma’s blustery conditions and proved his skill in the Olympics’ new foiling windsurfing class with eight race wins in 18 races, only once placing outside of the top 10.

Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing classAndy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class

“I’m feeling amazing,” Brown said. “It’s the first time I’ve won any senior medal in an Olympic class, and I’m absolutely buzzing. I’ve been competing at this event for six years now and it feels great to win.”

Just like her ILCA counterpart, Snellgrove also started the medal race guaranteed of silverware – although a 25-point gap to leader Sarah Douglas of Canada made gold unattainable.

Snellgrove’s battle for second was with Greece’s Vasileia Karachaliou, who started the medal race just a point behind. The sailor in fourth, Louise Cervera, of France, had no chance of third, so the medal race became a shoot-out for silver between Snellgrove and Karachaliou.

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6

“I feel really happy and relieved,” said Snellgrove, from Lymington. “It was a really stressful medal race, and I went into it knowing I could win either silver or bronze, so it was a case of ‘who beat’ who between Vasileia and me.

“I’m super happy to come away with the silver. It’s my best result at this regatta and it’s a massive confidence boost for the season ahead.”

Aldridge, from Poole, and Weymouth’s Bainbridge are no strangers to the Formula Kite podium, and both continued their stellar run of form with a brace of bronzes.

Elsewhere Sam Sills was fifth in the men’s iQFOiL class, while sister Saskia finished tenth in the women’s fleet, just behind Islay Watson in ninth and Emma Wilson in eighth.

British 470 pairs Vita Heathcote/Ryan Orr and Martin Wrigley/Eilidh McIntyre were ninth and tenth respectively as the class’s new mixed format made its debut at Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

New 49erFX pair Freya Black and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club were dealt a cruel blow when they were disqualified from the last race of the final series, relegating them to 11th overall. Teammates Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton were just one place back in 12th.

Young guns Nick Robins and Dan Budden were the top 49er boat in 20th; Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Dylan Fletcher and new crew Rhos Hawes had to pull out on day one with damage to their boat.

The British Sailing Team will now turn its attention to the Semaine Olympique Francais in Hyeres later this month.

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Two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey has teamed up with 20-year-old Freya Black (pictured below) in the 49erFX after Tokyo partner Charlotte Dobson called time on her Olympic career.

A national champion in the 29er class, Black is returning to skiff racing after competing in the mixed 470 class for the past two years for a tilt at Paris 2024.

Tidey, a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, was forced to quit the Irish team after Rio and cited a lack of opportunities at home. 

As regular Afloat readers will know, Dobson and Tidey had a commanding lead in the early stages of the Tokyo Regatta before finishing sixth overall. 

“Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class,” said Tidey, 28, from Sandycove on Dublin Bay but now based full time in Portland, Dorset.

Tidey told Afloat: “There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.”

Black, from Goudhurst, Kent, added: “Partnering up with Sas in a 49erFX is a huge opportunity for me to make the jump into a team that has the experience and knowledge of a medal-worthy campaign. Bringing together Sas’ epic crewing skills and my 470 background of racing and boat feel, we see the potential of a great team.”

“It feels pretty good to be back in the harness and wearing the BST bib again. I have put a lot of thought into why I want to continue to develop as a world-class sailor with the BST. I still have the passion for pressure & the fire inside me to push for more.

“When the opportunity to sail with Freya Black presented itself I was really excited to take it. Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class. There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.

“Currently we are in Lanzarote training. This year is about playing with the boat as a new team and learning from our mistakes. With it being such a short cycle to Paris 2024 we will be making the most of every hour we have to ensure we qualify GB for the Olympic Games. I am honoured to have the opportunity to challenge a third Olympic Games in the 49erFX and be back with the British Sailing Team.”

The first major event of 2022 for the British Sailing Team will be the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, Mallorca, in early April.

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The 49erFX partner of Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey at Tokyo 2020 has spoken of her fond memories of competing at the highest level as she called time on her Olympic career.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Charlotte Dobson was among a host of top names in British sailing who announced their retirement from Olympic campaigning this week.

Originally contesting in the Laser Radial (now ILCA 6), the Scottish sailor switched to the 49erFX skiff when it was introduced in 2014, teaming up with Sophie Ainsworth. The pair won their spot with Team GB for Rio 2016, finishing ninth.

Dobson then joined forces with Ireland’s Saskia Tidey following the Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor’s decision to move to Team GBR in 2017, citing a lack of opportunities for her to pursue her career at home.

The duo quickly established themselves as a powerhouse of the 49erFX fleet, backed up by string of podium results silvers at the Olympic test event and the 2020 World Championships.

Dobson and Tidey led the Tokyo 2020 regatta in the windy early stages before being overhauled later on as the breeze turned light, eventually finishing sixth.

Dobson, who married Dylan Fletcher a few weeks after returning from Tokyo, is now looking to work in banking.

“We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough”

On retirement, the 35-year-old from Rhu, near Glasgow, says: “The latest news for me is that I’m going to hang up my sailing boots and trapeze harness and say goodbye to the Olympic world. It’s been an amazing period of time, and now I’m going on to work out what the next thing is.

“It was a pretty easy decision to be honest. I genuinely felt in the couple of years before Tokyo that Saskia [Tidey] and I had given ourselves the best chance of winning a medal in Tokyo. We’d worked with some incredible coaches and support staff, and had some amazing sailors in our training groups. When you’re proud of the campaign you put together you have to accept the result at the end.

“We gave it a really good crack but it wasn’t enough at the end. I think you have to know when it’s time to say that we did our best but it wasn’t really good enough.”

Asked for her fondest memories of the Games, Dobson says: “It’s probably more of feeling than a memory. Regardless of the result not turning out the way we wanted, I wholeheartedly feel hugely proud to be part of that Tokyo team.

“We were surrounded by excellent people doing pretty incredible things. The atmosphere was one of elevating yourself. It was a huge honour to see some of the sailing greats that we had do their thing, and try to emulate that.”

As for her future plans? “I’m dipping my toes into the real world slowly, and I’m hopefully going to find a job in banking,” she says. “I’m definitely not going very far from Portland, I love it here. Sailing has brought me all the way from the west coast of Scotland to this little island and I love it. I won’t be completely disappearing.”

Dobson also had the following advice for sailing’s next generation: “I’d say just stay in love with our sport. It’s the most incredible sport, and so wide-ranging. You can sail fast boats, slow boats, complicated boats, simple boats, with people, on your own… Never lose the love for the sport.

“Do as much sailing across a variety of boats. And if you decide you want to go to the Olympics it’s totally possible. Anything is possible when you set a goal, put your mind to it and crack on.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
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