Belfast Lough and Cork Harbour duo Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle are 20th overall in quite possibly the largest 49er fleet ever assembled in Palma of 108 boats after the first day of racing at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta.
Helmsman Ryan Seaton, tenth in Rio, and who won the class in Palma in 2016, is only now getting up to speed after a troublesome winter of injuries for new crew Guilfoyle. The pair counted a (17), 9 and an encouraging third in the final race yesterday.
But these early qualifying rounds in light winds have not been plain sailing for the other Irish skiffs. Afloat.ie's Irish Sailor of the Year Rob Dickson, who is without his regular crew Sean Waddilove and sailing with stand-in Robbie Gilmore, lies 106th after 'gear problems' yesterday.
The National Yacht Club's Sean and Tadhg Donnelly are 105th. Not competing this year are West Cork duo, Mark Hassett and Oisin O'Driscoll.
Also absent from the Irish set-up in Palma this year is longtime coach Tytus Konarzewski who is credited with bringing the Dickson–Waddilove duo to U23 World Championship success last season. Konarzewski departed the Irish camp after the 'merger' of the youth and senior Irish skiff programmes this winter that saw the skiff numbers reduced.