Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Four Irish 49ers Seek Perfect Olympic Campaign Start in Palma

27th March 2017
Irish sailors are competing in the 49er, Finn, Laser and 49erFX this morning in Palma Irish sailors are competing in the 49er, Finn, Laser and 49erFX this morning in Palma Photo: Jesus Renedo

Four of five of Ireland's full–time 49er Olympic campaigns launch this morning at the showcase Trofeo Princesa Sofía Regatta in Palma, Mallorca.

Northern Ireland helmsman Ryan Seaton, tenth in Rio, won the class in Palma last year but sails this time with new crew Seafra Guilfoyle. The North–South duo will be looking for a repeat performance in their Goldfinger named boat to get their Tokyo 2020 campaign off to a perfect start.

Wet Dreams sailed by Mark Hassett and Oisin O'Driscoll from West Cork, Seán and Tadhg Donnelly from the National Yacht Club as well as Howth's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (recovered from injury) are also in action, all setting out on the first stages of what they hope will be a successful journey to the 2020 Olympic regatta in Tokyo, Japan. But only one will qualify.

The Olympic sailing competition of the 48 Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR will see almost 700 boats and 900 sailors from 56 nations race across the ten Olympic classes in the bay of Palma, in Majorca, Spain, from Monday 27 March to Saturday 1 April.

The 49er sailors are joined in Palma by two Belfast single-handers. Former Topper World Champion Liam Glynn and Donaghdee's Oisin McClelland will race in the Laser and Finn classes respectively.

There is also Irish interest in the women's 49erfx where the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey competes for Team GB with Charlotte Dobson.

Seaton's London and Rio partner, Matt McGovern, who is now teamed up with Strangford's Robbie Gilmore, is not travelling to Palma, concentrating instead on the Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland in May. From there McGovern and Gilmore head to Kiel Week in June. In July the 49er Europeans are also in Kiel. The final event of our European season will be the 49er Worlds in Porto in August. 

In any event, there will be no shortage of competition in the 49er for the four Irish boats with Argentina’s young pairing of Yago and Klaus Lange finished seventh in Rio and were fifth in Miami at the Sailing World Cup also attending. Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski were eighth in Rio and seventh in the 49er Europeans last year in Barcelona. And the Spanish pair of Diego Botin and Lago Lopez Marra were third in Miami, third in the 2016 Europeans and third in Palma last year and ninth in the Olympic regatta in Rio. In Miami in January Brasilian legend five times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt opened a new chapter in his storied career with 16th at his first regatta in the 49er class with crew Gabriel Borges. They will be looking to prove their progression here. GBR’s 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Simon Hiscocks races with young Daniel Budden. Compatriots Dylan Fletcher and Alan Sign, sixth in Rio, start here after winning Miami.

There are changes to the format of the  race in Palma. For example the 49er and 49er FX Classes will now be decided over three ten minute races over an Arena Style rectangle course. 

The 49er fleet race in two groups Monday and Tuesday and then Wednesday and Friday are Semi Finals for 25 boats. From these aggregate scores there are ten boats advancing to a three race Medal Race Final.

Ferran Muniesa Manager of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía explains:

“ It was immediately obvious from last November’s World Sailing General Meeting that Olympic sailing needs changes to the format which was used in Rio 2016, as pushed for by the International Olympic Committee, by the Olympic classes and by the sailors themselves, recognising that Final day needs to be more understandable. At the last Olympics there were several cases where medals were already won before the Medal Race and that does not make sense to those who maybe do not know sailing, nor does it make for an exciting finale.
So we agreed with the Events Committee to get in touch with all of the different classes and to look at their proposals. Thus all off these formats come from the classes themselves. There is no point in experimenting without the backing of the classes. Now we hope we have formats which are more understandable to non experts.”

He adds:
“ We are a regatta which likes to innovate and to rise to a challenge like this. We have had a lot to adapt, not least the result systems. In practical terms that also means another course area on the last day and more people to run it. It’s a great challenge for the Trofeo Princesa Sofía IBEROSTAR. At first when we went through the proposals our people were looking at me like ‘what on earth?’…Now here we are ready to do it all. This is the right time to do it. We can be a little more flexible at this time in the quadrennial but you have to test it on a big scale like this, at a good level.

Published in Tokyo 2020

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Olympic Sailing features a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards. The programme at Tokyo 2020 will include two events for both men and women, three for men only, two for women only and one for mixed crews:

Event Programme

RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
49er - Skiff (Men)
49er FX - Skiff (Women)
Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull

The mixed Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull and women-only 49er FX - Skiff, events were first staged at Rio 2016.

Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.

During races, boats navigate a course shaped like an enormous triangle, heading for the finish line after they contend with the wind from all three directions. They must pass marker buoys a certain number of times and in a predetermined order.

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venues: Enoshima Yacht Harbor

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

tokyo sidebuttoncork300 sidebuttoncorkweek2020 sidebuttonroundire sidebuttonWave Regatta button full size

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating