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Both of Ireland's Olympic skiff crews are in the top five overall after an explosive start to their Olympic regattas in Rio this afternoon. Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern scored a second in race two today and in more good news for Team Ireland, Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey took a third in the second race of the 49erfx.  See results here

Seaton and McGovern had results of 14th and 2nd, while Brewster and Tidey finished 8th and 3rd in their races.

Finn Lynch is 29th in the Men's Laser.

49er rioThe Irish 49er skiff took a well earned second in race two. Photo: World Sailing

49er

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) made the perfect start to their competition winning both opening heats in the Men's 49er. After a long wait for the wind to settle on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course, it was Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) who found themselves duelling with the New Zealanders at the front of the fleet. Warrer, the 2008 Olympic Champion, looked to have got the better of the Kiwis on the final lap and was leading down to the finish when he belatedly realised he had missed out the gate mark. The Danes reluctantly but hurriedly dropped their gennaker to resail the course correctly, leaving the way clear for an easy opening victory for Burling and Tuke. Warrer crossed in eighth, an expensive mistake that could cost him further down the line.

In the next race the Kiwis rounded the first mark in fourth and patiently worked their way to the front ahead of the Irish pair Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern. At the end of a day that saw some spectacular racing in moderate breezes and beautiful winter sunshine, New Zealand holds the lead, Portugal is second and Germany is third. "We're just happy to walk away from day one with two low scores,” said Burling, the four-time World Champion. While the Kiwi boatspeed was good, most of their winning came from picking their way through the gusts and the lulls on the tricky course. "We made our gain in that first race when we gybe-set on that first run. It felt like we found some good breeze and that helped us get out of the pack and up to the front.”

Their opening day wasn't the way that Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) would have liked to open the defence of their Olympic title. Scores of 13,8 put the Australians in 11th overall. "We haven't lost the event, but we haven't set the world on fire,” Outteridge admitted, acknowledging they just weren't quite fast enough out of the blocks. "A lot of it is trying to get on the first tack and getting yourself up the ladder ahead of everyone else. Both times we just missed that first opportunity.”

Women's Skiff – 49erFX

There is no stand-out favourite for gold in the brand new Women's Skiff fleet, and after day one of competition things aren't much clearer. Of all the teams that might have been expected to be topping the leaderboard, few would have picked the Canadians. Yet Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd scored a 5,4 to hold a one-point lead over one of the acknowledged favourites, local sailors Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), who won the second race of the day just as the sun was setting over their home town.

Winners of the first race were Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan (FRA) who are in third overall on equal points with last year's World Champions from Italy, Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich.

The Canadians were delighted with their first day of Olympic competition. "We don't like to get caught up in the numbers but this is definitely our best start to a regatta,” said Rafuse. "We picked the right regatta.” Boyd enjoyed the tricky racing in shifty winds. "These conditions are right in our wheelhouse,” she said. "We know we can throw the boat wherever we want to. We had good starts and were able to get on the first shift of the day and it makes the rest of the race a lot easier.”

Published in Olympic

Olympic sailors Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern starred in last night's RTE Rio Olympic preview series. The pair sailing in the high–speed 49er skiff class and secured an Olympic spot with a top 10 finish at the 2014 World Championships. But as they reveal in the programme funding issues mean that their preparations for the Olympics are anything but smooth. Check out the programme here

Published in Olympic

In a heavy wind start to the second last Sailing World Cup event before the Olympic Games, Northern Ireland 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 17th in a fleet of 40–boats in Hyeres, France this evening. 

After a gold medal in Palma at the start of this month but silver fleet racing at the European Championships a fortnight later, the Belfast Lough pairing are aiming for some more consistency this week and a performance that might bring them back to the silver medals they won on the French south coast this time two years ago. 

So far it eludes them. In the first three races today, they scored 33, 22 and 7 but conditions have been described as 'survival' with plenty of capsizes. There are a possible nine races left to sai before the all important medal race this Sunday.

On Tuesday, 49er kings Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) could be seen meticulously practicing their tacking and gybing in huge breeze. The fluid, continuous motions that they rehearsed on Tuesday paid dividends as they took to the top of the table after three 49er races.

A bullet and a third was the ideal start but it could have been much better as Tuke explained, "We sailed the first two races well and 99% of the third race but we capsized right at the finish which is a bit of a pain. All in all, not a bad start.”

Burling and Tuke are on a run of 25 consecutive regatta victories, remaining unbeaten in the Rio 2016 quad. As a result, they are rightly labelled as favourites for Rio 2016 gold and with 100 days to go until the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, their run will count for nothing if they don't take gold.

"It is exciting, 100 days to go. I saw that [World Sailing's 100 Days to Go video] this morning on social media. It's a good little landmark but for us, it's business as usual and what we've been preparing for, for the last four years. We're here at the World Cup event to win but Rio in 100 days' time is fully on our mind and we're just looking to get better.”

Their unbeaten run indicates pure perfection so how can they get better? "Well we could have been better today by not capsizing,” Tuke said through a smile.

"There's still a lot of things that we can do better and we're just going to look at those things, at the big picture in Rio and concentrate on getting better. Since we've been focusing on improving, the results have spoken for themselves.”

It is early days in the 49er and the Kiwis lead only stands at one point over Will and Sam Phillips of Australia but if they keep looking to improve then it's going to take a special performance to overhaul them.

Racing this morning is scheduled to start at 11:00 local time and the 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets will catch up on their missed races. -- Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Top three by class:

2.4 m
1. Matthew Bugg, AUS
2. Antonio Squizzato, ITA
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS
2. Luke Patience / Chris Grube, GBR
3. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska, POL
3. Fernanda Oliveira / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA

49er
1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
2. William Phillips / Sam Phillips, AUS
3. John Pink / Stuart Bithell, GBR

49erFX Women - No results

Finn
1. Josh Junior, NZL
2. Caleb Paine, USA
3. Oliver Tweddell, AUS

Laser
1. Phlipp Buhl, GER
2. Matthew Wearn, AUS
3. Jean Baptiste Bernaz, FRA

Laser Radial Women
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL
2. Veronika Kozelska Fenclova, CZE
3. Alison Young, GBR

Nacra 17
1. Moana Vaireaux / Manon Audinet, FRA
2. Fernando Echavarri / Tara Pacheco van Rijnsoever, ESP
3. Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders, NZL

RS:X Men
1. Pawel Tarnowski, POL
2. Joao Rodrigues, POR
3. Thomas Goyard, FRA

RS:X Women
1. Helene Noesmoen, FRA
2. Maja Dziarnowska, POL
3. Zofia Nocceti-Klepacka, POL

Sonar
1. Hannah Stodel / John Robertson / Steve Thomas, GBR
2. Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA
3. Aleksander Wang-Hansen / Marie Solberg / Per Eugen Kristiansen, NOR

Published in Olympic

Two years ago they won silver in Hyeres in what was an important boost to their 2016 Olympic campaign and tomorrow Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern hope to go one better at the French Sailing World Cup event. It's certainly a possibility if the Northern Ireland 49er duo can find the form that took them to the top of the fleet and a gold medal in Trofeo Princesca Sofia in Palma last month.  

The Ballyholme Yacht Club duo mark seven years sailing together this week and are keen to put the disappointment of dropping out of this month's gold fleet at the European championships in Barcelona behind them. In the words of French Olympic medallist Jonathan Lobert, "you never know what will happen in Hyères.”

Never has a saying been more relevant to the 2016 edition of Sailing World Cup Hyères with a mixed forecast and an aroma of unpredictability in the air for the Olympic and Paralympic classes as the clock ticks down to Rio 2016.

A glance at the forecast indicates the sailors are in for a week battling with the elements. Gusts up to 50 knots were reported overnight and it was strong for practice throughout Monday. A breeze in the region of 18-25 knots is predicted for the start of racing on Wednesday 27 April and will be an ultimate test for all and as Lobert said, you never know what will happen.

A moment of calm in between Thursday evening and Friday morning will be a welcome respite for some of the lighter sailors, but it's full on from Friday afternoon until Sunday 1 May's televised Medal Races which will be available on World Sailing's YouTube Channel

"The weather forecast at the moment is showing a lot of wind,” smiled the 6 foot 3-inch Lobert, bronze medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games. "The winds pick up in the afternoon and then it's strong into the evening. I think it will be mostly windy this week but you never know what will happen in Hyères.”

A 25 knot breeze is on the limit for the high powered fleets, such as the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 but for the Finn class giants, it brings smiles to their faces.

"For us it's always nice to be sailing in the big breeze. The Finn is a very nice boat and when it is windy you can still manage it very well and on the downwind it can still be very powerful and fast.

"It is very exciting for us,” concluded Lobert.

Lobert has booked his spot at Rio 2016 and the pressure to perform in Hyères is off. For his rivals it is a different story. Jake Lilley and Oliver Tweddell continue to fight it out for the Australian spot whilst Canadian, Croatian, German and Kiwi sailors are all in Hyères aiming to get one up on their compatriots to reach Rio.

Many of those vying for national selection will have their eye on their national team mates which could open to the door for a mixed week of results.

For those who have already qualified, trial and error and the drive for perfection before the summer showcase will be the aim of the game. Make a mistake now and it can be worked on, make a mistake in 102 days and it is game over. But still, you never know what can happen in Hyères and as for what will happen in Rio, time will tell.

Racing at 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyères is scheduled to commence on Wednesday 27 April. Four days of fleet racing will culminate in the Medal Races on Sunday 1 May which will be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel from 11:00 local time.

Published in Olympic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results are here

Published in Olympic

It was business as usual for Kiwi duo Pete Burling and Blair Tuke who wrapped up their fourth world title at the 49er World Championships with a Gold Fleet race to spare, and ended up winning by a massive 41 points. While the Medal Race was a formality for the victorious Kiwis, there was a very close battle for the silver and bronze. Meanwhile, Irish hopes of a top ten finish at this year's Olympics have been boosted with a highly credible top ten finish by Rio qualified Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern of Belfast Lough who were tenth overall in the 68–boat fleet. See the full results here.

Finished 10th at the 2016 Worlds.. 🤘It's been a great week and we have made some really big improvements.. Lots of...

Posted by Team Seaton & McGovern on Sunday, 14 February 2016

Final top three

49er

1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL, 40
2. Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth / Nikolaus Liopold Resch, AUT, 81
3. Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Alain Sign, GBR, 88

49er FX
1. Tamara Echegoyen / Berta Betanzos, ESP, 62
2. Maiken Foght Schutt / Anne-Julie Schutt, DEN, 75
3. Victoria Jurczok / Anika Lorenz, GER, 76

Published in Olympic

Irish Olympic class sailors were tested again yesterday in fickle Miami breezes on the second day of the World Sailing Cup on Biscayne Bay. The important regatta marks the build up to the Rio Olympics in less that 200 days.

After six races In the mens 49er skiff Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Belfast Lough lie 30th in a fleet of 61, up 20 places from Monday's poor start when the Belfast Lough duo were black flagged for a starting line penalty in race two.

Only two races have been sailed so far in the Laser Radial class which forms the second round of the irish trial for the single Rio berth between Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club and Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club. It was another long day with only one race completed. Hopkins has moved into 36th and Murphy is in 53rd in the 81–boat fleet. An earlier start is planned today and three races scheduled.

 

Launching ! I'm with a very international group. My coach is from Uruguay and the other sailors are from Brasil, Peru and Uruguay.Hoping to be fluent in Spanish by the end of the week

Posted by Aoife Hopkins Sailing on Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A 'niggling' foot Injury has forced the withdrawal of 49erfx campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey who  are not competing.

In the Paralympic Sonar, John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O'Carroll are sixth from nine.

Click here for the results table.

Sailors opening their curtains in Miami yesterday morning would have been welcomed by a pleasant breeze that was enough to put a grin on their faces.

Upon arriving at the venues of Sailing World Cup Miami their grins were to turn into a smile as a 14 knot south eastern breeze whipped its way around Biscayne Bay.

Predicted to hold throughout the day, the breeze was unable to sustain its tempo, dropping early afternoon and in the words of Australia's Jason Waterhouse it was a day to 'have your head on a screw.'

In the end, only the 49er, Laser and Paralympic fleets completed their full schedule of racing for the day with the remainder either completing three, two, one or in the RS:X Women and Finn fleets case, no races.

Laser and Laser Radial

Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg continued his solid start to the regatta with a first and sixth today. It was a slight step down from his 2-1 yesterday, but it was still the best score of the day, nipping Filip Jurišić (CRO) by virtue of a tiebreaker. Van Schaardenburg retains command of the overall lead, six points ahead of Jurišić. Behind the Croatian sailor, however, lies a tightly packed mob of top Laser talent; just 23 points separates second from 22nd. Included in that group is five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) in 13th and American medal hopeful Charlie Buckingham (USA) in 14th. Buckingham is in the first stage of the selection series for the U.S. Olympic Team. While US Sailing Team Sperry teammate Chris Barnard (USA) is not off to a good start, Erik Bowers (USA) is just 2 points behind Buckingham in the overall standings. The Lasers will hope for two races tomorrow and then, regardless of how many races have been completed, the fleet will be split into Gold and Silver Groups for the final two days of full-fleet racing.

49er and 49erFX

'Keeping it consistent' is a term every racing sailor aspires to and that term could not be more appropriate in the Olympic sailing arena.

Sailors don't necessarily have to win a race to claim a medal. Regular results at the front of the pack can go a long way to ensure you're there at the end when it counts.

Argentina's Victoria Travascio and Maria Sol Branz are well known for their light breeze consistency and they personified that once again by picking up a 2-1-2.

"We did very good and it was really cool,” explained Travisco. "We managed three good starts and that was it really. The first we went on the left, had a good start and stayed on the left.”

The Argentineans demonstrated their light wind nous in the middle of 2015, winning Pan American Games gold on Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Miami's conditions on Tuesday suited them and they have leapt up the leader board, tied for third with Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).

Ragna and Maia Agerup (NOR) hold their overnight lead with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in second.

Defending Miami 49er champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) took over at the top of the pile after four races. They opened up with a 13th, which they discarded before swiftly following up with a fourth, second and a first. They occupy first overall on 12 points.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) are second on 19 and overnight leaders Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) drop to third on 24 points.

Paralympic Classes

Three 2.4mR races have thrown out different victors in each. Bruce Millar (CAN) took the first bullet on the opening day and in Tuesday's two, Peter Eagar (CAN) and Helena Lucas (GBR) crossed the line first in races two and three.

As a result, the trio are separated by one point at the top of the leader board. Miller leads on three points followed by Eagar and Lucas on four.

Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) grabbed the lead in the Sonar following a second and a discarded seventh. Race wins went to Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Jacob Haug and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as Alphonsus Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund who are eighth and fifth respectively.

Racing resumes on Wednesday 27 January at 10:00 local time. The Laser, Laser Radial and 49er will complete their qualification series and many of the fleets will be looking to catch up on races lost over two challenging days.

Published in Olympic

#trofeosofia – Ireland leaves Palma tonight with a medal in the demonstration sport of kitesurfing, thanks to the efforts of Jade O'Connor, plus two medal race finishes for the Irish Olympic sailing team. It's a considerable improvement on last year's 'rusty' Irish performance at the same venue when Annalise Murphy did not make the gold fleet cut.

Unfortunately, Annalise was disqualified as a premature starter in today's medal race dropping the one time regatta leader to fifth overall at the 46th edition of the Trofeo Sofia, a nevertheless strong performance for the National YC solo sailor that featured seven top ten placings from ten races.

Belfast 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished sixth in their medal race moving them up one place to ninth overall at the first ISAF world cup event event in their new boat.

Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the women's 49erfx finished 20th from 47.

Belfast's James Espey will be disappointed with his score of 45th from 164 in the men's Laser division.

The medal races confirmed the leaders in all classes except in the RS:X men.

Young windsurfer Kiran Badloe (NED) had been gnawing day after day at the points safety margin that separates him from leader Julien Bontemps (FRA). Today he inflicted the killer blow, winning the medal race and the title on equal points with the World Champion. " I am very happy with the win. During the week, results were ok but the sailing is not perfect yet. I started poorly a few times. But with my speed and some smart sailing I could recover nicely. You have to realise the Polish and most of the French are not here including Dorian, so a number of tough competitors are missing. I am very happy with the progress we made last winter in New Zealand. Some of it is paying off now!"

In all other Olympic classes, the medal races didn't affect the leaders.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have successfully defended their title in the 470 with command and prove once more they deserve their world #1 status!The Olympic Gold medallists will also be awarded tonight by the Her Majesty Queen Sofia, the prestigious Trofeo consacrating the best team during the week.
Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) won the medal race closing the gap to 3 points threatening the kiwis supremacy during the medal race. The French take Silver with Bronze going to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).

Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) are back in force after an eight month break from the 470 competition. The Argentinians played it well all week, making the most of their combined experience to overcome their absence. "We had many days with shifty conditions and that suited us well. We could make gains on the fleet by sailing smart. It is great for our confidence to see that we are still competitive despite our forced retirement from competition." On the shore, the multiple Olympic medallists were warmly greated by the other 470 teams obviously happy to see their worthy Argentinian opponents back in shape! Luke Patience and Elliott Willis (GBR) take Silver in front of Johan Molund and Sebastian Östling (SWE) who settle for Bronze.

Gintare Scheidt (LTU) won the medal race in the Laser Radial. With Evi van Acker (BEL) taking the title on the penultimate day, Silver and Bronze went to Alison Young (GBR) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). The Laser Radial fleet was one of the most competitive in Palma this week despite the absence of current World Champion Marit Bouwmeester who had to withdraw from the competition at the start of the week.

Philipp Buhl (GER) wins Gold in the Laser after dominating all week in varied conditions. Jesper Stalheim (SWE) claims the medal race to climb to second overall in front of Nicholas Heiner (NED) third. Danish teams proved once again their edge on the fleet with two teams at the front. Training together and spending time in Palma have proven fruitful with again great results collected in the Trofeo IBEROSTAR. Maiken and Anne-Julie Foght Schutt (DEN) win the event with Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thuagaard Olsen a close second. "We have been training for about three weeks in Palma with the other teams and understand the conditions." explains Maiken Foght Schutt. "This week we had everything. When the wind comes from the land it is like in Denmark and with the regular sea breeze we can make the most of our good speed." Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (USA) win the medal race and the third place.

Nacra World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou win the medal race after winning the event with a day to spare. The french teams are performing well in Palma proving that good team work is paying off.
Silver goes to John Gimson and Hannah Diamond. Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) grab the Bronze by one point.

The top 3 remain unchanged in the 49er. New-Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been hard to beat, only threatened by German sailors Heil and Ploessel. Third goes to Brazilians Bianchi / Lowbeer. "I like to think that we have many strength and not so many weaknesses. We are working really hard and are consistent with our results." says Burling to explain their good form in Palma.

Finn Wold Champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the medal race and the title. The Finns were blessed with the best conditions out there today. After being sent out and back to the shore in the dying winds, the Finns went back out to enjoy a perfect 15 knots seabreeze allowing pumping. "We had a very good medal race." confirms Giles Scott. "It went well for me – I managed to come away with the win and seal the Championship, which is obviously great news for me!" Scott had to borrow a boat to sail most of the regatta after damaging his Finn earlier this week. "It was good to see how I could go in a different boat. Finns are very personal, so to be able to use someone else's and still come away with the regatta win, you have to take some positives from that and it's all good practice." Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is taking Silver and Finnish Tapio Nirkko the Bronze.

Female RS:X World Champion, Charline Picon is securing yet another event victory and is continuing on her good form. Lilian de Geus conserves her earlier second place while Eugenie Ricard (FRA) climbs to third overall.

Many stories developed in Palma this week with countries Olympic selections spicing up the contest.

The attention was especially focussed on the Dutch team for which Olympic selection was on the table in many classes. The Trofeo IBEROSTAR was the last chance for Nicholas Heiner to keep the Dutch Laser Olympic trial opened against Rutger Van Schaardenburg. The 2014 ISAF World Champion needed to be in front to extend the trials. "I am very pleased that my results are so good that I have prolonged the national selection with Rutger." explains Heiner, "Above all very pleased with the fact that I perform well under pressure, when it is needed. For the first time I am not on my back foot in this selection. It is all square and we start with a clean slate."

The 49er FX medal race saw the end of a very intense and dramatic Olympic selection between Dutch teams of Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz and Nina Keijzer / Claire Blom. The latest had an eight points advantage after the Miami SWC but were out of the medal race in 12th position in Palma, meaning that Bekkering/Duetz had to finish today at least in 4th position to overcome their rival. A 9th place in the medal race added two points too many to Bekkering/Duetz score who place 5th overall. Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom win the Dutch Olympic selection in the FX.

The third Olympic selection has concretised in Palma for Japanese RS:X sailor Makoto Tomizawa. The Trofeo Sofia IBEROSTAR has also marked the start of Japaneses Olympic selections in the women and men 470.

Paralympic Champion, Helena Lucas has retained her title after a very intense regatta against team mate Megan Pascoe and Norwegian Bjornar Erikstad who take second and third place.

Marc Patino and Pau Balaguer won the Dragon regatta over Patrick Monteiros and Pedro Manuel Da Costa Alemao.

The prize giving ceremony will take place tonight under the Cathedral to honour all the winners. Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain will present the awards.

Top three by class:

470 Men
1. Lucas Calabrese / Juan De La Fuente, ARG
2. Luke Patience / Elliot Willis, GBR
3. Johan Molund / Sebastian Ostling, SWE

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance, FRA
3. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR

49er
1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
2. Erik Heil / Thomas Ploessel, GER
3. Dante Bianchi / Thomas Lowbeer, BRA

49er FX
1. Maiken Foght Schitt / Anne-Julie Foght Schutt, DEN
2. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thuagaard Olsen, DEN
3. Olivia Price / Eliza Solly, AUS

Finn
1. Giles Scott, GBR
2. Ivan Kljukovic Gaspic, CRO
3. Tapio Nirkko, FIN

Laser
1. Philipp Buhl, GER
2. Jesper Stalheim, SWE
3. Nicholas Heiner, NED

Laser Radial
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL
2. Alison Young, GBR
3. Anne-Marine Rindom, DEN

NACRA 17
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
2. John Gimson / Hannah Diamond, GBR
3. Franck Cammas / Sophie De Turckheim, FRA

RS:X Men
1. Kiran Badlow, NED
2. Julien Bontemps, FRA
3. Sebastian Fleischer, DEN

RS: X Women
1. Charline Picon, FRA
2. Lilian De Geus, NED
3. Eugenie Ricard, FRA

2.4 Metre
1. Helena Lucas, GBR
2. Megan Pascoe, GBR
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

Kiteboard Men
1. Florian Trittel, ESP
2. Alejandro Climent Hernandez, ESP
3. Ivan Doronin, RUS

Kiteboard Women
1. Elena Kalinina, RUS
2. Anastasia Akopova, RUS
3. Jade O Connor, IRL

Dragon
1. Marc Patimo / Pau Balaguer, ESP
2. Patrick Monteiro De Barros / Pedro Manuel, POR
3. C. Carbajal / J. Company/N.Sanchez, ESP

Published in Olympic

#trofeosofia – Two Irish Olympic sailing campaigns are in action in this morning's medal races at the Trofeo Sofia in Palma, Spain. Laser Radial star Annalise Murphy and 49er skiff duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern will both contest the medal races. Each team can improve its overall position but neither can win.

In the Laser Radial class, Belgium's Evi van Acker has secured Gold before the medal race with a 26–points lead over early leader Alison Young. The World #2 has collected a near to perfect score in the final stage with five wins and a second place.

"Of course I'm very happy with the races in the gold fleet. I had a rough start of the regatta but I was able to press the reset button and start over in the finals. Today was more difficult with less wind and big waves. I made two nice comebacks so I am very happy." explains van Acker. "The goals for this year are to qualify and perform at my best at the test event in Rio this summer and at the Worlds later this year!" The two remaining medals will be coveted by the next five sailors including Annalise who lies fourth overall after what she described as a 'less than stellar day' yesterday counting a 26 and 36 in races nine and ten in lighter sea breezes.

Two wins for German 49ers Heil and Ploessel might not be enough to overtake the superfast kiwis on the medal race today. The Germans could take an edge on NZ's Burling and Tuke today by securing good start and maximising on their upwind, knowing that the kiwis are the fastest downwind. In any case Gold and Silver go to these top two teams.Belfast's Seaton/McGovern take the last medal race place in tenth overall.

Published in Olympic

#rio – Annalise Murphy has dropped back five places overall to eighth after four races and a long day in Palma with a late–coming sea breeze delaying racing. There is a change of lead in the Laser radial with Emma Plasschaert (BEL) taking a narrow lead over Paige Railey (USA), early leader Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) and Alicia Cebrian (ESP) all on equal points. The Dun Laoghaire sailor has kept a consistent score sheet (1, 6, 6, 7) to date with finals racing scheduled tomorrow. In four other classes – including a kitesurfer – Irish sailors scored top ten results races today. 

In their build up to Rio 2016, Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern launched a new 49er dinghy in Palma with champagne this week and after qualifying rounds lie 15th from 74 in their new skiff.

In a significant improvement to move up to 13th overall, Dun Laoghaire's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey – who are still chasing Rio Qualification – counted a three and a five today.

Full results for the Irish team here.

Patience paid off and the second day in the Trofeo Sofia provided great racing and allowed to complete the qualification stage. A seventh race was completed for the kites who will go into medal race mode on wednesday.

French and New Zealanders made the most of today's races taking the lead in six classes.

"This is an excellent start in the regatta for the French team especially in RS:X, Nacra, 470 Men and Finn!" French Olympic team manager, Guillaume Chiellino can be proud of his team who has taken a rocket start into the 46th Trofeo Sofia IBEROSTAR.

Two French teams are leading the Nacra with World and European champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou in first position and Moana Vaireaux with Manon Audinet in second. Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan are sharing the top of the score on equal points with Swedish team of Dahlberg / Bergstrom in the 470. RS:X World Champion Julien Bontemps scored his second victory to conserve a very tight lead in the Men's windsurfing on equal points with Joao Rodrigues (POR) and Makoto Tomizawa from Japan.

"We are only at the start of the competition but the French like this event where they usually perform well like last year when they scored some good performances." said Chiellino.

The talented New-Zealand team will probably be one of the main threats for the titles, like in the Finn where French and New-Zealander are head to head. Young kiwi Josh Junior has taken the edge today on the London Bronze medalist Jonathan Lobert, with a race win.

"It was a great day sailing. We had two completely different races." explains Junior. "The first was very light and dominated by the left hand side. It was good the race committee persevered as a steady 18 knots breeze came in! I am really happy to have won that race too!"

New Zealanders are conserving their lead in the women 470 where the top two teams remain unchanged. Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie sailed into consistent second places today to conserve a small lead over French Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance.

World number 1 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke remain at the top of the 49er fleet in front of German Heil / Ploessel and Brazilian Bianchi / Lowbeer.

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos consolidate their lead in the women skiff with the Foght Schutt sisters climbing to second. Alexandra Maloney and
Molly Meech (NZL) are taking third overall.

In the Laser men, Jesper Stalheim (SWE) conserves his lead in front of Norwegian Mathias Molatt and German Philipp Buhl. The day's best performer is Argentinian Julio Alsogaray who places second in both races and climbs to 6th overall.

In the RS:X women, Chinese Manjia Zheng takes the lead from Charline Picon with top three scores.

The final stage is now on with fleets now split in Gold, Silver and a Bronze group for the Lasers. The Finns will continue to race in fleet until the medal race.

The kites have managed to complete one more race but leaders remain unchanged with Florian Trittel (ESP) and Elena Kalinina (RUS) who have been unbeatable. The wind direction and strength was far from ideal for launching and securing good racing conditions for the kites who have struggled to race for the last three days. Tomorrow 3 short medal races will decide on the winners in both the men and women divisions.

Published in Olympic
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