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Sailors of the Year in 49er Action in Vilamoura, Royal Irish's Saskia Tidey Third in 49erFX

20th February 2019
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Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle sailing at their Vilamoura base in Portugal Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle sailing at their Vilamoura base in Portugal Photo: Vilamoura Sailing

Just crowned Irish Sailors of the Year, Robert Dickson and Robert Waddilove were back on the water in Portugal finishing 23rd in a fleet of 53 at the second round of the Portugal Grand Prix in Vilamoura. Top Irish 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle (who injured his leg in November) were 17th and National Yacht Club duo Tadhg and Donnelly finished 31st in the 11–race regatta.

But the best result of an Irish sailor was scored by Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Saskia Tidey – now sailing for Team GB – who finished third overall in the 49erFX fleet.

Vilamoura has been growing as a winter destination for the past few seasons. Regattas in December and now February attracted 109 and then 116 boats respectively across 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17. Indeed, Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle are also based here but although out on the water at the weekend, the pair were not recorded as an entry in the official results.  See full results here.  See vid of the pair in Vilamoura below: 

The regatta this past weekend featured big breeze and waves each of the days.

Check out this video of 2018 European Champions Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen (NOR) in absolute survival mode heading downwind as they navigate a growing graveyard. 

The 49er fleet was the largest and deepest. Diego Botin and Iago Marra (ESP) hardly made any mistakes in the tough conditions, and had only one race outside of the top 10 to compliment three race wins to take the overall victory. They were pressed hard by James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) who was the only team to stay in the hunt with the Spaniards. Both teams had disappointing conclusions to the Miami World Cup only 10 days ago, being over early in the medal race, but rebounded in the much fresher conditions.

The 49er fleet was somewhat depleted by the number of teams participating in Sail GP, which overlapped, and a very healthy down under circuit in both Auckland and Australia.

The 49erFX racing was a three way battle royale for the win. Going into the final race it was the 2018 World Champions, Bekkering and Duetz (NED), on 13 points, Dobson and Tidey (GBR) on 14 points, and Nielsen and Olsen (DEN) on 20 points.

The Danish multiple European Champions, took the final race, their second in a row to keep the pressure on, but it was the 2018 World Champions from the Netherlands who managed a second in the race to claim the title. Dobson and Tidey finished in 8th, and subsequently had to be satisfied with third overall after leading for much of the regatta.

See full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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