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Irish 49er Sailors Learn Lessons at 'Challenging' European Championships

19th May 2019
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Light winds for the last rounds of the 49erFX Europeans in Weymouth Light winds for the last rounds of the 49erFX Europeans in Weymouth Photo: Lloyd Images

Ireland’s Olympic sailors will return home to training in Dun Laoghaire to put into practice the lessons they’ve learned during a week of challenging conditions at the 49er European Championships where the teams competed in the silver fleet divisions. The Irish crews are still a long way off the pace that will be required if Tokyo 2020 qualification is to be achieved later this year.

Full results are here

After very strong conditions earlier in the week, the regatta ended with a bit of a whimper today, when a lack of wind in Weymouth Bay meant that there were no silver or bronze fleet races.

With 18 races already completed over six days, the race officer made the decision not to force any races in very light conditions for the silver and bronze fleets, although there were final races in the gold fleet competitions.

Irish Sailing 49er coach Ross Killian said: “It’s been a long regatta with seven consecutive race days. The wide variety of conditions has challenged our sailors, we’ve had very windy races and very light races. Steady breeze and shifting breeze, big waves and flat water. An all-round test really."

“Across the 18 races sailed the Irish results were up and down, areas that need work have been highlighted during the course of the competition, so now we will tailor or training to focus on those areas.

“We are bringing the equipment home tomorrow and will be working from the new Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire for the next block of training. It’s a great thing that we can work together as a three-boat team at home while recharging the batteries. It’s been a busy start to the season with Palma, Genoa and the Euros one after another with little turnaround time in between.”

The lack of action today meant that in the men’s 49er class, Ryan Seaton, from Co Antrim, and Cork’s Seafra Guilfoyle finished highest of the Irish in 43rd place overall, after placing 2nd and 28th in Saturday’s two races. They were just one spot ahead of Dublin duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after their 29th and 9th place finishes on Saturday.

Also in the 49ers, Dalkey brothers Seán Donnelly and Tadgh Donnelly finished 33rd and 26th in Saturday’s silver fleet races to claim 57th place overall, while the new Cork pairing of Mark Hassett and Johnny Durcan claimed 4th and 11th place in the bronze fleet races to finished the regatta in 88th place overall.

There was also no silver fleet races in the women’s 49erFX, which meant that Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle finished the competition in 51st place overall after their 22nd and 9th placings in Saturday’s races.

In the 49er gold fleet, 49erNew Zealand pairing Peter Burling and Blair Tuke claimed victory, holding off the challenge of Britain’s Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.

The 49erFX competition was won by Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, ahead of reigning World Champions from the Netherlands, Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz.

The next regattas for the Irish Sailing team will attend will be Kiel in Germany in late June and the 49er Junior World Championships, in early July.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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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

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. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

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