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Birthday Boy Finn Lynch Moves Up to 14th Place in Tricky Hyeres

26th April 2018
Belfast's Ryan Seaton and Royal Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle competing in the 49er skiff on day two of the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres Belfast's Ryan Seaton and Royal Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle competing in the 49er skiff on day two of the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres Credit: World Sailing

More solid results for Finn Lynch at the Sailing World Cup is the perfect birthday gift for the Laser Olympic helm in tricky and light winds in Hyeres on the Cote D'Azur.

The National Yacht Club single-hander scored a 21 and 17 on day 2 to move up to two places to 14th overall, six nett points off the top ten in a fleet of 68. Results here.

Lynch, who became Ireland's youngest ever Irish Olympic helmsman when he debuted in Rio age 20, turned 22 on April 23rd.

The other Irish boat competing this week, Lynch's Rio 2016 team mate, Ryan Seaton, now paired with Royal Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle in the 49er skiff, ended day two after five races in 25th place from a fleet of 40.  

At 20:35 local time the last of the 647 sailors from 46 nations competing at the third round of Sailing’s World Cup Series ot back to the dock, marking the end of a long and challenging day.

A foggy morning with no wind became a sunny afternoon with a light 5-8 knot breeze that tested the sailors composure and patience with delays ashore and on the water.

Races were held across every fleet but only the RS:X competitors could complete their full schedule of races as the 49er competitors pulled down their sails under the glow of the marina lights to close the day.

For many years, the Polish RS:X team have based themselves in Hyères for Spring training and with plenty of time on the water, they know the venue well.

Success has followed in both the men’s and women’s categories and could well continue after Zofia Noceti Klepacka (POL), Hyères winner in 2008, 2016 and 2017 advanced to the top of the 44-boat fleet.

Klepacka, a London 2012 bronze medallist, sailed her way to a 5-1-6 scoreline and is seven points clear of China’s Peina Chen. Klepacka was relieved to be ashore after a grueling day in the light winds, "We were on land waiting to go out for quite some time, eating sandwiches and drinking coffee waiting for the wind," explained Klepacka. "When we went out to race we had to pump a lot which made us very tired.

"I am glad that we will start after the men tomorrow so we can get more time to recover so let’s pray for more wind so we can sail."

Much like Klepacka, Chen knows what it takes to achieve success in Hyères following a victory in 2009 and knows she has the skillset to move up the leaderboard, "On both days the wind hasn’t been stable and it’s been tiring for all of us to sail but I think I have really good strength," expressed Chen. "That is why I can compete against some of the best like Zofia and Noga [Geller (ISR)] who are really strong sailors."

In the Men’s RS:X, French sailors continue to occupy the top positions but a new leader has emerged. All of the top racers had a mixed day with good and bad scores combined but Louis Giard (FRA) did enough to grab top spot.

Sitting on 26 points, Giard is three clear of China’s Mengfan Gao and overnight leader Pierre Le Coq (FRA) who are tied.

Three challenging Nacra 17 races were held and Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti picked up a 1-(15)-4 scoreline to remove the early pacesetters, Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface (GBR), from the top of the tree.

The Italians recently won gold at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia and finished third at the 2017 Nacra 17 World Championship.

They are lacking a World Cup medal but only have their eye on one colour, "We are here to win," exclaimed Banti. "We have some of the best here, including Santi and Cecilia, and Jason and Lisa. I think the Spanish, Fernando Echávarri and Tara Pacheco are also strong contenders.

"We will try out best and do whatever it takes. Our plan is to just sail as fast as we can."

Iker Martinez and Olga Masilvets (ESP) round up the podium with plenty of races ahead of the 30-boat fleet.

Helene Naess and Marie Rønningen (NOR) moved up to first overall in the 49erFX but New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech shone in the challenging conditions by picking up two race wins. The Kiwis are nine points off the leading Norwegians.

The day’s remaining race win went the way of Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot (AUS), 2016 Youth Sailing World Champions in the 29er, who are making only their second World Cup Series appearance.

Poland’s Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki and Australia’s David Gilmour and Joel Turner continue to do battle in the 49er fleet. From two light wind races in a dying twilight breeze, the Polish team picked up a 19th, which they discard and an eighth. Meanwhile, the Australians won a race and count the 13th from the other.

Just one point separates them with two more days of fleet racing remaining. Belgium’s Yannick Lefèbvre and Tom Pelsmaekers are eight points off the leading duo in third.

The 470 Men and Women only managed to complete one race but this saw major shifts on the leaderboards as the discard came into play.

The Japanese team of Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi ascended from seventh to first place, and the Swedes, Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström drop to second. Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL) occupy third.

In the Women’s 470, Noya Bar-Am and Nina Amir (ISR) made their way from tenth to first on the, and the Chinese, Mengxi Wei and Haiyan Gao, drop from first to second. Silvia Mas Depares & Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP) hold third place.

Jonathan Lobert (FRA) managed to retain his lead in the Finn despite not finishing his third race. Nicholas Heiner (NED) climbed up from fifth place and finished second whilst Jorge Zarif (BRA) drops from second to third place.

The Laser Radial has proven to be a tough competition between the top racers, even after just four close races. The fleet managed two races which saw a shift between Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Paige Railey (USA).

Bouwmeester now holds top position overnight, moving up one place whilst Railey dropped to second. Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU) maintains third place.

The Laser pack also managed to complete two races on day two. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) continues to hold top spot after discarding his fourth race. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) capitalised in the light winds and moved up from fourth to second, whilst Pavlos Kontides (CYP) dropped from second to third.

Antonio Squizzato (ITA) broke Damien Seguin’s (FRA) winning run in the 2.4 Norlin OD as he picked up the victory in the third race of the series, the only race the fleet held on the second day. The Italian is now just two points behind the flying Frenchman.

Racing will resume at 11:00 this morning, Thursday 26 April.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Sailing

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

Following a one year postponement, sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic Sailing Team

ANNALISE MURPHY, Laser Radial

Age 31. From Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Club: National Yacht Club

Full-time sailor

Silver medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio (Laser Radial class). Competed in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018. Represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics. Laser Radial European Champion in 2013.

ROBERT DICKSON, 49er (sails with Seán Waddilove)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and 2018 Volvo/Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 6 March 1998, from Sutton, Co. Dublin. Age 23

Club: Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying: Sports Science and Health in DCU with a Sports Scholarship.

SEÁN WADDILOVE, 49er (sails with Robert Dickson)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and recently awarded 2018 Volvo Afloat/Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 19 June 1997. From Skerries, Dublin

Age 24

Club: Skerries Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying International Business and Languages and awarded sports scholarship at TU (Technology University)

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