#OLYMPIC SAILNG – After a busy month of six world Olympic sailing championships Ireland will send a five boat team to the sailing Olympics this July after two more boats were added to the team in the last ten days.
Beyond the qualification celebrations though the heat is on to deliver 'six medal race finishes plus two medals' in pre-Olympic events as a sign that the team is on track to deliver Olympic success in just over eight weeks time. That was the results tab calculation by team manager James O'Callaghan a month ago when he declared the Irish sailing team vision was to 'stand on the podium' in Weymouth in August.
The proclaimation followed the release of ISAF's standings that put both of Ireland's medal contenders in the Laser Radial and Star classes in the top five of the world rankings in January.
So far Peter O'Leary and David Burrows look on target in their keelboat class finishing fourth in the Star Worlds in France this month, one of Ireland's best ever results at an Olympic class world championships and secured when competition is at its hottest in an Olympic year. It follows a sixth in Hyeres Olympic week (even with a broken forestay) and a silver medal (for the third time) at the Star class Bacardi Cup in Miami in March.
Last week Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan finished with a fourth at the 470 world championships in Barcelona and moved up to 24th overall, a result that qualified them for London, Owens' third Olympic regatta and Flanigan's first.
Also through this month to London by virtue of a Gold fleet finish at the Laser worlds in Boltehnagen, Germany is Bangor Laser Sailor James Espey. He is the second Belfast Lough crew on the team joining Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern who race the 49er dinghy.
And at the same venue Annalise Murphy, finished 25th overall yesterday at the Laser Radial Worlds after an event where an inconsistent score sheet shows how the Dun Laoghaire sailor won two races in her 133-boat fleet but also discarded a 64th at the shifty venue.
Meanwhile Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who were narrowly denied a bronze medal at the Star Worlds a week ago have posted an update on the team website describing themselves as 'happy enough' with fourth overall and how the high quality event gave them the chance to test new gear. 'Some areas we were happy with and others we need to work on', they conclude.
Whatever the outcome in August for the Star keelboat it is the end of the Olympic road.