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Finn Lynch Moves Up the World Cup Leaderboard in Enoshima

13th September 2018
Finn Lynch gets feedback from his coach between races in Enoshima, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic waters Finn Lynch gets feedback from his coach between races in Enoshima, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic waters Credit: James O'Callaghan/Irish Sailing

Laser sailor Finn Lynch is on the cusp of the top third of his World Cup Series fleet in Enoshima after scoring 15 in both of today's races on 2020 Olympic waters.

The National Yacht Club star continues to lead Irish hopes in 20th place after five races sailed in his 59-boat fleet but it was a more difficult day for his female counterparts in the Radial division, Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller, who did not race because of lack of wind. 

The Irish 49er pair Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle dropped back a place overall to 20 from 27, not helped, unfortunately, by scoring three successive discretionary penalties (DPI) because their bow numbers were judged to be missing (the mandatory number stickers fell off the Irish boat).

Seafra Guilfoyle sailorSeafra Guilfoyle refuels after racing in Enoshima Photo: James O'Callaghan/Irish Sailing

Meanwhile, the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey, now sailing for Team GB, lies second overall in the 49erFX.

Full results are here

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition, threw a new challenge at the 466 sailors from 44 nations racing at the 2018 World Cup Series Japan Round on Thursday as a light, testing breeze danced across Sagami Bay.

Global sailing venues can quite often be renowned for catering for strong sailors with big winds or for lighter, tactical athletes in weaker breeze – but in Enoshima, the competitors recognise that it will take a good all-rounder to conquer on the Olympic waters.

Following two days of consistent 12-17 knot northerly winds, the fan was turned down a notch with 5-8 knots, which then decreased to 3-4 knots. However, out of the ten Olympic fleets, only the Radial failed to complete a race.

"In Enoshima, the competitors recognise that it will take a good all-rounder to conquer on the Olympic waters"

Giles Scott (GBR) has made an almost seamless return to the Finn fleet and after six races in varying conditions, he holds the lead.

Scott is making his first appearance in the Finn fleet for six months after an absence to concentrate on the British America’s Cup campaign. However, judging by the way he has controlled the 21-boat fleet, many observers would think he had never been away.

"It feels great to be back," he commented. "The last bit of racing I did was in Palma [in March] and I haven’t done too much sailing since. It’s nice to be out here racing again."

Scott won both of the Rio 2016 Olympic test events, giving him confidence to achieve Olympic glory, and he admitted he’s in Enoshima to give him the first boost on the Tokyo journey, "I chose this event over going to Aarhus this year for that reason. My program is geared more to the Olympics, so I have to pick and choose which events I do, and this is an obvious one for me. It’s great to be here."

In the stronger breeze the days prior, Scott recorded a 6-1-2-6. Thursday’s light winds tested him as he sailed to a tenth, which he discards, but he quickly bounced back with a second.

"You’ve got to be an all-rounder here, I think," commented Scott on the key to Enoshima success. "We’ve been here for two weeks and while the event has been on for a few days, we’ve had some shifty offshore conditions, but earlier on we had big seas and big winds as well as some light stuff."

Scott is in top spot on 17 points and is followed by Nicholas Heiner (NED) on 20.8 points (the .8 arose from a discretionary scoring penalty applied to his races on day one related to hull weight) and Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Ed Wright (GBR) on 23 points each.

Heiner and Zarif both played down the return of Scott, instead taking their time to speak about the strength of the fleet at large.

Heiner commented, "He [Scott] is undefeated but he is never there so you can’t really beat him most of the time. All the top sailors are here so it’s great to sail with these guys again, not the biggest fleet but the same as the Olympic games, so you really feel it more."

Zarif added, "It’s an honour to be competing against these guys. We have Josh [Junior (NZL)], Ed, Giles and Nicolas who are at top of their game. It’s nice to be in the mix with them."

Four Finn fleet races remain ahead of Sunday’s Medal Race.

Bryony Shaw (GBR) reduced the gap on overnight leader Peina Chen (CHN) to three points after two consistent races where she recorded a 3-5 scoreline.

With a blend of strong onshore winds one day to offshore tricky breeze the next, as Scott stated, it takes a sailor with strong and light wind expertise to conquer in Enoshima.

After racing, Shaw was pleased with the work she’s put in to prepare, "In these conditions, windsurfers have to sail more on their fin and that’s something I’ve been working hard on since the World Championships. I am happy that I’m improving on that.

"It’s important you sail well in the mixed conditions yet keep your performance consistent throughout races."

Chen won the day’s opening race but could only follow up with a 13th, which she discards. 2018 World Champion Lilian de Geus (NED) is third overall and the day’s other race win went to eighth-placed Hongmei Shi (CHN).

There were some mixed scores in the Men’s RS:X but Kiran Badloe (NED) held on to his lead. The Dutch sailor came through in 17th in the opening race of the day before hitting back with a fourth to sit seven points clear of Mattia Camboni (ITA).

Switzerland’s Mateo Sanz Lanz moved up to third from sixth after a race win and a ninth.

Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT) stormed into medal contention in the 49er with an expert day of racing. As many around them racked up some high scores, the Austrians snapped up two race wins and a sixth to propel themselves up to fourth from 12th.

Great Britain’s James Peters and Fynn Sterritt held on to their overnight lead after some high scores but Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) drew level after a 4-5-8 scoreline.

Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell dropped from second to 11th after a 19-19-22. Their discard is a 23rd from the second day, so they count all the scores.

The 49erFX followed the 49er fleet on the Enoshima racing area in a dying afternoon breeze. A single race was completed and overnight leaders Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) snapped up the victory.

Many of their nearest rivals stuttered and they lead Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) by 26-points.

Finn Lynch LaserIreland's Finn Lynch competing in the Laser dinghy class lies 20th overall Photo: Jesus Renedo/World Sailing

The leading Laser sailors are starting to find medal-winning consistency. The top five all posted a top ten finish in the single race of the day and Elliot Hanson (GBR) held on to his lead following a third. Sam Meech (NZL) snapped up a sixth and is second. Nick Thompson (GBR) follows in third after finishing the sole race in second behind Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR).

No Races for Radials

The Laser Radial fleet were unable to complete their race in unstable conditions, ensuring the overnight points remain. Alison Young (GBR), Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Josefin Olsson (SWE) and Sarah Douglas (CAN) are split by three points at the top.

The Japanese Men’s 470 have shown no signs of slowing on their home waters, with four teams in the top five. Only Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) separate the Japanese in second.

A discarded 12th and a second allow Keiju Okada and Jumpei Hokazono (JPN) to hold onto their overall lead on 12 points. The Australians follow on 25, with Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura (JPN) on 29, Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi (JPN) on 36 and Kazuto Doi and Naoya Kimura (JPN) also on 36.

There is no separating Benedetta di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini (ITA) and Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) in the Women’s 470; the teams are locked on 21 points apiece.

Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar are five points back in third, while Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR) and Mengxi Wei and Haiyan Gao (CHN) won the day’s races.

Elsewhere, 2018 Nacra 17 World Champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA) saw their lead cut by Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS).

The Italians’ 4-6-12 saw them surrender points to the Australians, who discard their eighth and count their first and seventh. Tita and Banti lead on 27 points, followed by the Rio 2016 silver medallists on 32. Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA) are on 38 points in third, one point clear of Nathan and Haylee Outteridge (AUS).

Final Fleet Races

Friday’s racing will be the final day of fleet racing for the RS:X fleets, the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 ahead of their Medal Races on Saturday. Racing resumes at 12:00 local time.

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

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