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Laser Sailors Lynch & Hopkins in Miami for 2018 World Cup Sailing Series

22nd January 2018
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Laser Radial sailor Aoife Hopkins will be in action in Miami, Florida this week Laser Radial sailor Aoife Hopkins will be in action in Miami, Florida this week

Two Irish Olympic sailing hopefuls for Tokyo 2020 are among 540 sailors have gathered in Regatta Park, Miami, USA, for the second round of the 2018 World Cup Series, running from 21-28 January 2018.

Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins and Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club will race in the radial and full rig Laser classes respectively. Full entry lists are here.

Also of Dun Laoghaire interest is 2016 Irish Rio rep Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx, who is now sailing for Team GB.

The event marks the start of a big year for Olympic class sailors, as they prepare for the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark this summer.

Sailors from over 50 nations will race over six days in all ten Olympic events on Biscayne Bay, just off Coconut Grove in Miami. The fleets will feature 27 Olympic medallists and they, along with all competitors, will come up against a moderate 12 knot breeze, warm temperatures and intermittent showers during the week.

Erika Reineke (USA) is a local Laser Radial sailor and she is very familiar with the waters. As sailors get set up in Regatta Park, Reineke welcomes the international competitors and is looking forward to the event. "It's great to see so many faces from across the world come here,” says Reineke.

Reineke and Women's 470 sailor, Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) both relate to the thought of Dolphins whenever they think of sailing in Miami.

Siegenthaler will be sailing with Linda Fahrni. The pair also competed at the first event of the Series in Gamagori, Japan, and just missed out on a podium spot. However, they are looking to improve on that showing, ready for the Worlds in Aarhus.

In the Men's Laser fleet, Lynch will be up against it, the finest sailors in the class are here in Miami ready to fight for World Cup Series medals. The ones to beat will once again be Rio 2016 gold medallist, Tom Burton, reigning World Champion, Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and 2017 European Champion, Nick Thompson (GBR).

Ahead of the competition Kontides was at ease in Miami and when asked what he thought about the Sunshine State he responded, "Beautiful, warm and vibrant.”

However, Kontides says the competition in Miami isn't easy, "It's always tricky. As you can see from the results, sailors finish with high points and competition is very close. It can be unpredictable.”

The London 2012 Olympic medallist, has his sights firmly set on Aarhus as well.

"I have nice memories from Aarhus from 2008. I was able to win the Youth Worlds back then. Right now, my main focus is on training as much as I can and using this event to prepare for the Worlds,” said Kontides.

Racing is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 23 January with the regatta culminating with the LIVE Medal Race days on Saturday and Sunday, 27 and 28 January.

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