In a thrilling medal race final on the Bay of Palma today, Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern won the Gold medal in the 49er skiff event at the Princess Sofia Regatta this afternoon. Seaton and McGovern started cleanly and led the fleet to the first mark but hit it forcing them to take a penalty turn that dropped them to ninth in a fleet of ten boats.
It was yet more drama after last night's giddy report that the pair had won Gold by a massive margin before protests had been heard. In a confusing scenario, Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen earned redress last night and although a podium for Ireland was still assured today only Gold would do for the Carrickfergus–Bangor partnership.
The skiff pair, who represented Ireland in the 49er at London 2012, worked their way steadily up the fleet to finish sixth, one place behind Outteridge and Jensen, more than sufficient to claim the Gold medal for Ireland. The best result of their 2016 campaign to date.
The result is a big endorsement of the progress the Ballyholme Yacht Club pairing have made, especially keeping 2012 Olympic Champions Outteridge and Jensen in second. Seaton summed it up: "To be so solid this week has been important. We have done a lot of work being able to go up and down the gears, a lot of the time sailing on our own. But we have done a lot of sailing. And we have re-established our training group we had before the last games with the Australians. So that has helped out in the lighter wind range. That is where our consistency has come. This was really a training regatta along the way, it's important but it is a great platform for us and the confidence it brings, winning a big regatta at this stage, is immense."
Seaton and McGoverns’ previous best results include Silver at the French Olympic classes regatta in Hyeres in 2014 and a Gold at the Weymouth pre-Olympic event in 2011. They placed 14th at the London 2012 Olympics.
Already qualified for Rio in four month's time, the pair are members of the Providence Team Ireland ISA sailing squad as well as being RYA NI High Performance athletes. They are funded both by the Irish Sports Council and Sport NI’s Athlete Support Programme.
Preceding, as it does, the 49er European Championships in just over one week in Barcelona and the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres coming up in April, Palma regatta is considered a vital 'training' rather than 'outcome' regatta. Let's hope the Irish 49er form continues
470 Men: 1.- Mathew Belcher/ Will Ryan (AUS): 21pts, 2.- Stu Macnay/Dave Hughes (USA): 49, 3.- Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE): 57.
470 W: 1.- Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrozek (POL): 48, 2.- Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA): 50, 3.- Amy Seabright/Anna Carpenter (GBR): 52
49er M: 1.- Ryan Seaton/Matt Mcgovern (IRL): 75pts, 2.- Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen (AUS ): 88 3.-Diego Botin/Iago López (ESP): 97:
49er FX: 1.-Annemiek Bekkering/Annette Duetz (NED): 61 2.- Jena Mai Hansen/Katja Steen (DEN): 74 3.-Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke (GER): 93
FINN: 1.- Josh Junior (NZL): 51pts, 2.- Giles Scott (GBR): 78, 3.- Tapio Nirkko (FIN): 78p
LASER STANDARD: 1.- Andrew Maloney (NZL): 57pts, 2.- Robert Scheidt (BRA): 66, 3.- Tonci Stipanovic (CRO): 72;
LASER RADIAL: 1.- Tuula Tenkanen (FIN):55, 2.- Evi Van Acker (BEL): 64, 3.- Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN): 65;
NACRA 17: 1.-Billy Besson/Marie Riou (FRA): 60pts, 2.- Thomas Zajac/Tanja Frank (AUT): 104, 3.- Allan Norregaard/Anette Viborg (DEN): 109pts
RS: X M: 1.- Tom Squires (GBR): 28pts , 2.- Pawel Tarnowski (POL): 40, 3.- Byron Kokkalanis (GRE): 41RS:X W: 1.- Olga Maslivets (RUS): 44pts 2.- Flavia Tartaglini (ITA): 51pts, 3.- Lilian De Geus (NED): 56.
2.4mR: 1.- Heiko Kröger (GER): 8, 2.- Damien Seguin (FRA): 15, 3.- Helena Lucas (GBR): 16pt
DRAGON: 1.-Lady Tati (POR): 8pts, 2.- Sun Flower (RUS): 14 3.-Convergens (RUS): 16