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Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove

It was game on immediately for two Irish rivals at the Olympic 49er skiff class world championships in Mussanah, Oman on Tuesday. A new Royal Cork combination took a race win in their opening round while their Dublin rivals for the single Paris 2024 place won the last race of the day.

Cork dinghy ace Johnny Durcan with Tokyo campaigner Séafra Guilfoyle won their championship opening race in their flight. A ninth and an 18th followed, leaving the debutantes in the 18th, a mid-fleet overall standing at this early stage.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a steadily improving day, building their form as the light breeze strengthened.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)

The North Dublin pair had a 14th then tenth place before winning the third race to finish 14th overall.

Britain's Jack Hawkins and Chris Tomas, who are looking to emerge from the shadow of training partners of Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists are tied with the French pair of Kevin Fischer Guillou and Noe’ Delpech. Both are experiencing their first tastes of sitting atop a big championship.

With only the two 49er fleets needing to sail qualifiers through Thursday, the fleets are aiming for three races each day. Though the shifty warm breezes kept the scores of even the leaders mixed, the sunshine will be the only consistent factor this week.

Turning Heads

The Path to Paris will have new faces. Otto Henry with Miles Davey (AUS) and Hernan Umpierre with Fernando Diz (URU) sit third and fourth on the 49er leaderboard respectively. They represent the next generation of skiff talent who have grown up sailing fast and upskilling through a combination of video and extreme sports. Of the four, Diz is the oldest born in 1999, the rest were born in the new millennium and it doesn’t look like they’re interested in starting from the back of the fleet and moving up.

The Uruguayan pair won the Asian Championship as the warm up to this year’s worlds. They have moved to Cadiz, Spain, for their university studies, but it’s clear their passions lie in sailing. Likewise, locked out of Australia, the young pair have been in Europe all summer racing and training, before they are allowed back home eventually.

The qualification round continues for another two days to determine the Gold and Silver fleet splits for the final game that concludes the event on Sunday (21st November 2021).

The venue has experienced light airs for the past two weeks, but a sea breeze on Wednesday has been forecast.

Oman Sail is preparing to welcome a 148-strong fleet representing 29 countries when the 2021 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships gets underway in Mussanah on 16 November.

Being held in Asia for the first time in event history, the regatta is one of the first global sailing events after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and for some participants the start of the campaign to qualify for the Paris 2024 Games.

Ireland is represented by two 49er teams but alas no one in the women's 49er FX class where there is also an absence of Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who competed for Team GB in Tokyo.

Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er ChampionshipsTokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er Championships Photo: Sailing Energy

Representing Ireland are Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove of Howth YC and Skerries Sailing Club (2018 Afloat Sailors of the Year) and challengers for Paris, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, both of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Asian Championships

The Worlds is the first big event for both teams but not the first time the Irish rivals have met on the water.

They crossed swords last week at the 11-race pre-worlds or Asian Championships. It was first blood to the Tokyo Olympians as might be expected in the 30 boat fleet but not by that big a margin. Dickson and Waddilove finished 11th and the new Cork Harbour partnership finished 17th with a promising sixth scored in the penultimate race.

The 36-boat world championship will run from 16–21 November 2021 at the Barcelo Mussanah Resort, adding to Oman’s reputation as a world-class host and premier sailing nation.

The fleet includes Olympians, promising young sailors, high-performance doubles sailors and members of Oman’s national team, all looking to start their 2024 Olympic campaign in good form.

Teams are taking a breather after Tokyo 2020 and with Covid still causing travel issues, all three fleets will be heavily reduced at this regatta. That said, each class still contains some heavy hitters, so it will by no means be an easy ride to the top.

In the 49er class, none of the Olympic medalists from Tokyo are competing but that's not to say it leaves the prospect of a top result wide open with Olympians Łukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL), Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT), and former world number one James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) all competing.

Ben Remocker, 49er Class Manager, said, “In this shortened cycle ahead of the Paris 2024 Games, every regatta is important. With such a strong and varied fleet, the competition should be fierce throughout the week. Oman is an ideal host venue, and a great choice for the first 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships to be held within Asia".

It was party time in Dun Laoghaire Harbour last Thursday night (September 23rd) to welcome home the Irish Olympic sailing team from last month's Tokyo Olympic Games.

Invited guests included Government Ministers, Olympians, local Dun Laoghaire Rathdown officials plus yacht club commodores and sponsors who were all back on the waterfront to hear Annalise Murphy's thoughts post-Tokyo as the team returned to its High-Performance HQ at the Irish Lights Depot.

Murphy's teammates, the 49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were in attendance too along with the Tokyo backroom team.

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers along with Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Ossian Smyth, the local Green Party TD, were invited to the outdoor function.

From Northern Ireland, 1984 and 1988, Olympian Bill O'Hara OBE was also at the get-together, as were members of the Olympic Federation of Ireland including CEO Peter Sherrard.

The Dun Laoghaire High Performance HQ was the venue for Thursday night's homecoming celebrations of the Olympic TeamThe Dun Laoghaire High Performance HQ was the venue for last Thursday night's homecoming celebrations of the Olympic Team

The Rio silver medalist signed off the evening by thanking Rory Fitzpatrick 'for being her coach' and updated the event on how she is adjusting to life as an MBA student at UCD.

Irish prospects for Paris 2024

Next on the agenda for the Irish Olympic sailing team is, of course, Paris 2024. With just three years to the first gun at Marseille, Thursday evening provided the chance to pitch Irish prospects.

The race for places has already begun with Polish duo Mikolaj Staniul / Kuba Sztorch crowned 49er European champions in Thessaloniki last week. Although no Irish crew participated at the Greek event, there are already triennial developments at home with Cork Harbour's Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan announcing this month they will be making a bid for the single Irish men's skiff slot.

Finn Lynch, who was unsuccessful in his quest for a Tokyo Laser place, has already declared he will run again and it is expected Howth's Ewan McMahon will also be a contender. And in the Radial, McMahon's sister, Eve and Aoife Hopkins, both of Howth, will each seek the nomination.

Tokyo 2020 Review

A number of post-Tokyo reviews are being conducted. One is being undertaken by Irish Sailing, which, for the first time since Athens 2004, will be in the hands of "an external sports management expert", according to sailing president David O'Brien.

That's a process that will no doubt shine a light on the circumstances surrounding the controversially cut-short 2020 Radial selection procedure

The review is expected to be completed by year-end.

Published in Tokyo 2020

It's almost a month since the last sailing race of the Tokyo Olympics. In most sports, the end of each Olympic Quad (in this case a Quinq) is the traditional time for reflection on the previous campaign and consideration of the one (or more) ahead. It is also, traditionally, a time of changing personnel, both ashore and afloat. 

Deep thought is given by sports National Governing Bodies to current and future resources, both human and otherwise. This time around, the changes to the Olympic Sailing programme must be taken into the mix. During the Tokyo competition itself, Irish team management was acknowledging the need for a full debrief in order to"strengthen processes" in "every aspect of its preparations".

A key factor in the consideration is that, typically, not many of the Olympic Classes, have ever developed fleets with meaningful depth in Ireland, or, for that matter, in the UK. Think, Flying Dutchman, Soling, Star, Tempest, Europe, even 470. Except for the ILCA (Laser) fleets, aspiring Olympians in Ireland have to travel to get the competitive experience necessary to advance along the Olympic pathway.

Sailing talent

This raises the question of how to identify the talent worthy of support if they are not currently sailing the boat that they might aspire to.

The (hopefully temporary) rejection of an Offshore event in Paris in favour of kites, means that only three of the ten Olympic disciplines have Irish sailors anywhere on the world ranking lists.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland targeted qualification in four Olympic classes for Tokyo but despite full-on campaigns ended up qualifying in only two.

While Annalise Murphy uses well-earned downtime to contemplate the future, Ireland's pool of sailors with proven talent is perhaps limited to Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er, Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins and Eve McMahon in the ILCA 6, and perhaps Finn Lynch in the ILCA7. Of course, there could be, and probably are, many others out there, but which of these would make it to the start line in Marseille in under three years time?

Annalise Murphy – well-earned downtime to contemplate the future Photo: Sailing EnergyAnnalise Murphy – well-earned downtime to contemplate the future Photo: Sailing Energy

Parsi prospects  - Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er Photo: Sailing EnergyParis prospects - Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er Photo: Sailing Energy

Another uncertainty is the investment Sport Ireland are prepared to put into Irish High-Performance Sailing over the next three years.

No medal race finish

On average, just over €750,000 was granted to Irish Sailing every year since 2017. Will Sport Ireland be prepared to cough up the same, given the fairly meagre return of two classes qualified with results in the mid-teens and no medal race result?

Paris 2024

And how are we preparing for beyond Paris? Observers of this month's Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds on Dublin Bay pointed in frustration to the nationally supported squads of European sailors, where the Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Greek fleets seemed particularly well-organised and featured many sailors in the gold fleet. By contrast, the largest country by fleet numbers, Ireland, could only manage to get four out of 35 boys into the gold fleet and two of the 35 girls. If this is a pointer to future Olympic results, then Ireland will struggle to qualify.

Bold decisions

Irish Sailing should and probably will use the post-Olympic period to study clinically the quad just passed, apply the lessons learned to the next cycle, but perhaps most of all, consider a longer-term approach to developing talent considering ways to balance the investment in current and future talent. It may be time for bold decisions that may favour a bigger input of resources into youth sailing that may not pay off until Los Angeles 2028 or Brisbane 2032.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove would have done their best to heed the advice of their former coach Tytus Konarzewski  (who brought them to the Under-23 World Championship title success in 2018) and forget about yesterday’s two disqualifications as quickly as possible.

The Howth and Skerries pair made the best of the change in conditions and took two top ten results from this morning's light air proceedings. 

They finished in 8th, 18th and 9th position in Race 7, 8 and 9 respectively this morning, with the final three races to take place tomorrow.

Going into today's rounds and counting the unfortunate DSQs, the duo were in 13th on 57 points and 13 points off the top ten but despite the solid reset, however, the pair are now back one place to 14th overall after nine races and 22 points off the top ten for a coveted medal race place.

Saturday's three final fleet races are therefore crucial to Irish prospects of achieving a place in Monday's medal race which would be a major achievement for Dickson and Waddilove on their first Olympic outing.

Results and overall standings are here

Published in Tokyo 2020

In a 10-knot southerly breeze, sailing on the Zushi course, Ireland’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove finished second in race 5 behind Denmark, and followed that with a sixth in race 6 as the wind picked up today (Thursday 29 July).

These results move the Dublin 49er pair up from 11th place after four races to seventh position overall in the Tokyo 2020 49er standings, 14 points behind joint leaders Great Britain (1st on count back) and Spain.

Brazil’s Marco Grael, sailing with Gabriel Borges, was the winner in race 6, the second race of the day for the 49ers. Marco is a son of five-time Olympic medallist Torben and sister to Martine, current Olympic 49erFX champion and lying fifth overall in her class.

Dickson and Waddilove will be particularly pleased that, in both races, they improved position after mark 1. In the first race of the day, they came from 25 seconds behind Germany at the final weather mark to beat them by 2 seconds at the finish.

Their recovery was more dramatic in the day’s second race, improving from 12th at mark 1 to eighth across the finishing line. They were promoted to sixth place due to starting infringements by the Portuguese and Swiss boats.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” Waddilove said afterwards. “We had a pretty average day yesterday, but we learned from our mistakes and we were really nicely set up today so that made our life a lot easier.

“At the halfway point, we’re still ready to go. One race at a time — and still keep picking off the places. We had quite steady conditions, maybe medium winds and not too wavy.

“First race was just about going fast and keeping yourself clear out of other boats, not making too many mistakes and that was really it – just keep it simple around the racecourse. Really nice conditions here — I don’t think you can get much better.”

Find the full race results HERE.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Day two of the 49er event at the 2020 Olympic Games regatta proved a bit less successful for the Irish pairing of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after taking the first race in what was a dream debut.

Sailed in a 14 knot southerly, in bright sunny conditions, the Irish boat was consistently mid-fleet from 13th at mark 1 to 12th at the finish. Spain, Netherlands and New Zealand took the top three places.

There was a slight increase in wind speed for race 2 and once again the Irish pair sailed consistently to finish 11th. The race was remarkably close, with the first 13 boats crossing the finish line in just over 1 minute. Australia, Spain and Netherlands were the first three in this race, with the British a place behind in 4th.

Today's final race was completed in 16 knots and was won by Great Britain with New Zealand 2nd and Denmark 3rd. Ireland was less consistent in this race, dropping from 6th at Mark 1 to 13th at the finish.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are lying 11th after four races sailed Photo: Sailing EnergyRobert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are lying 11th after four races sailed Photo: Sailing Energy

After the four completed races, the Irish boat is 11th overall.

GBR, ESP and AUS are currently occupying the top three places. There are two races scheduled for Thursday to make up for the two lost on Tuesday.

Speaking afterwards, Dickson said: “It was a lot windier and wavier, pretty nice conditions and pretty enjoyable!” with Waddilove agreeing before adding; “We’re not coming in confused or deflated.  We know what we need to change for the next day which are some simple things.”

Results are here

Annalise Murphy Back in competition on Thursday

Ireland's Annalise Murphy returns to the water on Thursday as well, with winds forecast to build during the day.

The regatta is using six race areas. To date the Radials have sailed on the more inshore Enoshima and Kamakura courses, tomorrow they will sail on the Fujisama course.

The 49ers sailed on Enoshima on day 1, Sagami today and will be on Zushi tomorrow. The inshore courses are reported to suffer from backwash in these onshore breezes. There should be a cleaner wave regime in the outer courses.

The Tokyo Olympic Regatta race areasThe Tokyo Olympic Regatta race areas

Published in Tokyo 2020

Since winning Olympic gold in the Men’s Skiff – 49er at Rio 2016 five years ago, Pete Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have packed a whole lifetime of sailing achievements into their busy careers.

In 2017 Burling steered Emirates Team New Zealand’s foiling catamaran to victory at the America’s Cup in Bermuda, with Tuke further forward running the flight control for his best mate. A year later they were pitched against each other on rival boats in their first round-the-world adventure. Coming into the finish of the final leg of that year-long marathon called the Volvo Ocean Race, Burling or Tuke looked set to emerge as first-time winners of the race, before being pipped by the other boat, the Chinese, in a three-way, last-gasp battle for victory.

Earlier this year Burling and Tuke were again right at the core of New Zealand’s successful defence of the America’s Cup. This was meant to have happened after the Tokyo 2020 Games, but with the year’s postponement, the Kiwis had to hop straight off their multimillion-dollar foiling AC75 spaceship and reacquaint themselves with the somewhat more affordable, simpler pleasures of 49er racing.

New Zealand's Burling and Tuke start as 49er favourites in TokyoNew Zealand's Burling and Tuke start as 49er favourites in Tokyo

Despite the distractions of the Volvo Ocean Race, two America’s Cup campaigns, and more recently the SailGP circuit, the six-time World Champions still start as favourites for 49er gold in Tokyo.

Among the Tokyo line-up is Ireland’s debutantes Sean Waddilove and Rob Dickson who probably wouldn’t have made it to Tokyo if it had taken place in 2020, but this young team made the most of winter training in southern Europe to really show that they mean business. The young Irish crew earned the final spot for Tokyo competing at the Lanzarote International Regatta in March, winning their first-ever Medal Race at the event and seizing a bronze medal ahead of a world-class fleet. 

Among the challengers to the Kiwi crown are the bronze medallists from Rio 2016, Erik Heil and Tommy Ploessel (GER) who always turn it on for the big occasion. Despite taking time out from their campaign, they scored second at the 2019 Worlds and third at the 2020 Worlds. Now in their early 30s, Heil and Ploessel feel ready for another life-defining performance in Tokyo.

"We want to win a medal again," said Heil, "preferably in an even more beautiful colour than last time."

Medical student Heil and mechanical engineering graduate Ploessel ran the Kiwis close for the 2019 world title in Auckland. "We have come closer to them, closer than ever before," Heil remarked at the time.

In with a shout of a medal at the end of Rio 2016 was Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher who, crewed by Alain Sign, ended up sixth overall. Fletcher has since teamed up with Stu Bithell, Olympic silver medallist in the 470 at London 2012. Fletcher is focused, sometimes spiky, while Bithell appears to be the entertainer but is far more than that. From being rivals they have become good mates and have strung together some good results over the past four years, including victory at the 2017 World and European Championships.

However, in 2017 Burling and Tuke were absent from the 49er as they raced their way around the Volvo Ocean Race world. Fletcher and Bithell haven’t beaten the Kiwis at a World Championship, so do they have the self-belief to take away the Olympic crown from their feted rivals?

Bithell admits the duo are "super tough competition".

"We’re up against perhaps the most successful sailing team in the world – they are formidable together," he expressed. "I like to put a positive spin on things and say it creates an opportunity for us to go out and beat the best team in the world."

Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Marra have spent the last few years chipping away at the front of the 49er fleet, gradually improving their scores season by season. The Spanish team were fourth at the 2019 Worlds and runners-up in 2020 to their regular training partners Burling and Tuke, who they know probably better than anyone in the Olympic fleet.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Champion Jonas Warrer is back representing Denmark, crewed by Jakob Precht Jensen. In 2008, even Warrer would admit he used more than his fair share of fortune to clinch gold in the most extraordinary and controversial of circumstances. Contrary to predictions of a windless Beijing, the 49er Medal Race that year proved extremely breezy and enormously wavy, and everyone was unprepared and underweight for those heinous conditions.

"I was sailing before the start with my crew Martin Kirketerp," Warrer recalls. "We broke the mast half a minute after hoisting the spinnaker. We thought our regatta was over but we rushed ashore and the Croatians lent us their boat for the race." There’s much more to that incredible story, but the story now is can the 42-year-old repeat gold, 13 years on?

Warrer knows what it’s like to finish first, and he knows how it feels to finish fourth, his position at Rio 2016. "I had a break from sailing after Rio, but I think my idea was to do another Olympics. I know what it’s like to be in the medals and to be out of the medals. Winning a medal is more fun."

Warrer’s crew Jensen is hoping the spirit of 2008 returns to carry them to victory.

"Leading the regatta, breaking a mast and winning a medal, let’s do that again," jokes Jensen about his helmsman’s streak of Beijing luck. "Of course we want to come away from Tokyo with a medal and if it’s made of gold, even better."

Sime Fantela became the first sailor to win a sailing gold medal for Croatia in the 470 class five years ago in Rio. Teaming up with his brother Mihovil, Sime made a rapid and successful switch to the 49er. The brothers won the 2018 World Championship after just 18 months in this demanding class. They’re probably an outside bet for the 49er podium, but Sime is a wily competitor who’s unlikely to be intimidated by the occasion.

Another couple of brothers to watch out for, particularly if the breeze and the big waves kick in, are first-time Olympians Will and Sam Phillips racing for Australia. Following in the wake of the London 2012 gold medallists and Rio 2016 silver medallists, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, the Aussie siblings have big footloops to fill, but a recent big wave training session on the Queensland coast with Burling and Tuke should stand them in good stead for the Pacific swell of Enoshima.

Others to watch include Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl, who have a very good record on Olympic waters with the high point being a silver medal at the Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima two years ago. They were bronze medallists at the 2017 Worlds, with sixth in 2019 and fourth in 2020, very consistent scores that make the Austrians a real threat for the podium.

The fast-improving Dutch team of Bart Lambriex and Pim van Vugt are starting to look like the real deal, regularly finishing in the top six of major events.

The 49er fleet features 19-world class teams. They will sail an Opening Series of 12 races, with the first three races scheduled for Tuesday 27 July on the Enoshima course, starting at 1445 JST. Their Medal Race on Monday 2 August will bring their competition to a close.

A full list of competitors is available here.

-Andy Rice

Published in Tokyo 2020

Team Ireland has officially selected a team of three sailors to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy is set to compete in her third Olympic Games in the Laser Radial Women, and her teammates Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove will compete in the 49er Men.

The sailing events in Tokyo will run from 25 July – 2 August 2021 at Enoshima Yacht Harbour.

Murphy will be competing in her third Olympic Games; in London 2012 she came agonisingly close to a medal, finishing fourth. Against the odds the Dun Laoghaire based sailor finished second in Rio 2016, winning an Olympic silver medal for Team Ireland. Murphy is back competing in this Olympic category after taking a short break after Rio, when she temporarily switched her focus to the Volvo Ocean Race.

Heading into their first Olympic Games, Dickson and Waddilove are no strangers to success, in 2018 they won the 49er Under 23 Junior World title in Marseille, France making them Irish Sailors of the Year. 

Their qualification for Tokyo came courtesy of a stellar performance in the 49er Olympic Qualifying event in Lanzarote last March, the last opportunity to secure an Olympic berth. A dominant start to the event saw the crew gain enough points to win the Olympic berth in the preliminary rounds, before they competed in the medal race.

Laser Radial Women – Annalise Murphy (Dublin)Laser Radial Women – Annalise Murphy (Dublin)

On the day she collected her official kit Murphy said, “Getting your gear, that’s when it all becomes a reality. It’s all happening now! It’s when you can believe that I’m going to the Olympic Games for the third time, it’s just mad! After Rio I spent some time in the Volvo Ocean Race, and really enjoyed being part of a crew so I competed for a while with Katie Tingle in the 49er FX, but as Tokyo came closer, I switched the focus back to the Laser Radial. I think the conditions in Tokyo could suit me, and I know I work harder than anyone else out there – so I’m ready for a good competition, and we have a good team out there, with Rob and Seán as well.”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said, “I’m really pleased to be announcing this sailing team today, they have pedigree and talent. On one hand, we have Annalise who is already an Olympic medallist, bringing the experience to the team heading into her third Olympics. On the other, we have Rob and Seán who are really exciting prospects. They showed their class at the qualifiers in Lanzarote earlier this year, and we are really looking forward to watching them perform in Tokyo."

TEAM IRELAND TOKYO SAILING TEAM:

Laser Radial Women – Annalise Murphy (Dublin)

49er Men – Robert Dickson (Dublin), Seán Waddilove (Dublin)

Team Ireland now consists of 50 officially selected athletes, with over 100 athletes spots confirmed across nineteen sports. The final team announcement is scheduled for the beginning of July.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from the 23rd July to 8th August 2021.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Howth Yacht Club and Skerries Sailing Club Olympic skiff duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have had a pre-Olympic boost by taking second overall at the 49er Championships in Cascais, Portugal.

It's not the only boost for Irish Skiff sailors either with the Royal Irish's Saskia Tidey taking sixth for Team GB in the 49erFX with partner Charlotte Dobson of Scotland.

As regular Afloat readers know, the Howth debutantes put the zing back into the Irish Olympic sailing scene in March when they put double Olympian Ryan Seaton to the sword to win the last available Olympic place in Tokyo this summer. 

The weekend international result from Portugal (with three race wins) represents another significant step forward to July on Enoshima Bay for the duo that previously won Under 23 World Championship Gold three years ago.

Cascais blows up some very breezy weather and as heavy airs are predicted for the Japanese Olympic venue, it gave the Portuguese Championships extra meaning.

Even with the Howth duo's immaculate boat handling it wasn't all plain sailing to the silver medal position. The strong winds on day one presented a sail tearing challenge as CN Cascais/Luis Fraguas's photographs reveal.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

On the last day of the 2021 Cascais 49er & 49erFX Championship after a stormy morning, the sun shyly appeared and filled the bay of Cascais with light. The championship could not have ended in the best way with the Cascais Bay delivering the best for the Olympic sailors, its fantastic conditions for sailing. In these fabulous conditions, the Olympic sailors had the day most similar to the sea conditions of Sagami Bay, in Tokyo, with a large and wide wave. The last day was reserved for the medal race for both fleets. This is a single race for each class, 49er and 49erFx. This regatta is special since it was double points for the overall with only the ten best competitors in each division being eligible to race.

The first Medal Race was for the male Olympic skiff class, which started at noon as scheduled. The race course at that time was in a northwest wind and 14 knots in intensity.

The big winners of the championship in the Olympic class 49er were the North Americans Nevin Snow and Dane Wilson who led the leaderboard for a couple of days. Irish youngsters Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were runner ups. In the lowest place on the podium were the North Americans Ian Barrows and Hans Henken.

On their journey to Tokyo in July, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were runners up in CascaisOn their journey to Tokyo in July, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were runners up in Cascais

After the Men's Medal Race, it was the ladies' turn to take the stage in Cascais. With the weaker wind that made the wind shift on the right more prominent for the 49erFx class race.

Lutz and Beucke had a conservative race having finished the final race in fourth place, this result being enough to overtake Echegoyen and Barcelo by one point and thus conquer the highest place on the podium in Cascais. While Denmark and Holland were glad to compete in the medal race regatta for the supposed third place, the team from Brazil also had a very successful regatta having finished in second place. This good result from Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze was enough to leave the northern European teams out of the podium in this championship. Grael and Kunze ended their show in Cascais in the third position of the overall.

Top ten, 49er

1. Nevin Snow / Dane Wilson, USA, 52.0
2. Robert Dickson / Sean Waooilove, IRL, 54.0
3. Ian Barrows / Hans Henken, USA, 60.0
4. Marco Soffiatti Grael / Gabriel Borges, BRA, 67.0
5. Jorge Lima / Jose Costa, POR, 84.0
6. Revil Theo / Tim Depery, FRA, 94.0
7. William Jones / Evan DePaul, CAN, 101.0
8. Hippolyte Machetti / Sidoine Dantes, FRA, 123.0
9. Robert Solune / Sipan Valentin, FRA, 128.0
10. Joshua Richner / Nilo Scherer, SUI, 141

Top ten, 49erFX

1. Tina Lutz / Susann Beucke, GER, 83.0
2. Tamara Echegoyen / Paula Barcelo, ESP, 84.0
3. Martine Soffiatti grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 86.0
4. Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz, NED, 90.0
5. Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen, DEN, 91.0
6. Charlotte I Dobson / Saskia Tidey, GBR, 92.0
7. Kimberly Lim / Cecilia Low, SIN, 133.0
8. Tanja Frank / Lorena Abicht, AUT, 137.0
9. Isaura Maerhaub / Anouk Geurks, BEL, 141.0
10. Helene Ness / Marie Renningen, NOR, 174.0

 Full results here

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