Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club won today’s only race in the Laser Radial event at the Sailing World Championships. It repeated Finn Lynch’s win on Tuesday in the men's Laser class to give both Irish front-runners some fine individual performances on their scoresheets but overall it will not hide the disappointment of the missed Irish qualification chance for Tokyo 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark this week.
Hopkins, the 19-year old Trinity Scholarship student, who is still a part-time sailor, had already delivered on her own 'event goal' by achieving a place in the Gold fleet and a race win against Olympic medallists and world champions will be a significant boost to her hopes for the Tokyo 2020 games.
The race took place in light conditions following a long delay ashore waiting for wind. Hopkins started at the committee boat end of the line and enjoyed clear wind that allowed her to maintain a good position on the favoured side of the course.
"Hopkins lead at every mark on the course to win with more than a minute to spare"
While under pressure at times from Italy's Silvia Zennaro, Hopkins was able to establish a controlling position and held the lead at every mark on the course to win with more than a minute to spare.
The result moves her into 44th place overall with the possibility of a further two races to complete the Gold fleet series. However, a heavy thunderstorm at Aarhus saw racing postponed for the day.
Tokyo Laser Place Proves Elusive
Meanwhile, Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club had a 46th place in the only Laser class race for the day before further racing was abandoned. His Black Flag disqualification from Tuesday's second race was also upheld so his overall standing in his Gold fleet is now 36th. A tenth race may yet be sailed but qualification for Tokyo 2020 is not a prospect for the Rio veteran who will have to wait for another opportunity to qualify Ireland.
Seaton & Guilfoyle Win Silver Fleet Race
The full Irish line-up was in action at various stages during the day despite the patchy conditions and competed in various Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. Ryan Seaton of Ballyholme Yacht Club with Séafra Guilfoyle of the Royal Cork Yacht Club won the opening race of the 49er skiff class Silver fleet.
Due to the weather conditions, the racing schedule for Thursday is being extended to include Laser and Laser Radial Gold fleets for their remaining series races while the 49er skiff is already scheduled due to have three more races.