Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Irish Laser Sailors Seek Olympic Country Qualification in Japan

4th July 2019
1284 Views
Under 21 Howth Yacht Club Laser sailor Ewan McMahon made gold fleet cut in Palma and is races at the World Championships in Japan tomorrow Under 21 Howth Yacht Club Laser sailor Ewan McMahon made gold fleet cut in Palma and is races at the World Championships in Japan tomorrow Photo: World Sailing

Rio Olympic solo sailor Finn Lynch leads Irish hopes at the start of the Laser World Championship that begins in Sakaiminato, Japan this morning (0800 - Irish time) with the stakes running high ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Ireland is seeking one of five Olympic berths up for grabs among 44 countries from 58 competing in the 160-boat fleet in Sakaiminato. 14 countries previously qualified at the first attempt in Aarhus in Denmark last year. 

The regatta marks the start of an extended run of events in the 2020 Olympics host nation which also includes the official Olympic test event and the World Cup Series Enoshima, both in August.

As Afloat previously reported, the three-boat Irish squad this week was the first overseas team to become established at the venue and the trio have fully adjusted to the conditions, afloat and ashore.

“It's been much smoother than I expected,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is the Irish Sailing head Laser coach. “We now have good knowledge of the local wind and currents in the race area."

Along with Lynch from Carlow, Liam Glynn from Bangor, Co Down and Ewan McMahon from Howth, Co. Dublin will be seeking to show their best performances of the year.

In terms of qualification for Tokyo 2020, the attention will be on Lynch who has had an exceptionally strong year to date apart from out of form result.

Lynch delivered top ten results at three consecutive regattas in Miami, Palma and Marseilles before slipping to 18th overall at the Laser European championships at Porto in late May.

"It was a little bit expected after four regattas in a row with not much chance to recover from the stress of previous events," said Zbogar. "We were also late getting set-up in Porto and the conditions were very strong so adapting took longer."

The late arrival for the Europeans partly explains the early arrival in Japan to ensure best preparation at the venue.

"Finn is ready, his boat-speed upwind and downwind is excellent," said Zbogar. "But the feeling of stress for the worlds is way more than normal. He has to understand and learn from it and then use it as a weapon."

Meanwhile, the Laser coach is pleased with the progress of the two younger sailors preparing for their first senior worlds.

"Liam has been sailing really well over the last ten days; I am super happy with him and it will be very interesting to see his results," said Zbogar.

"Ewan is quite solid. He’s still quite young and needs experience but he’s a big talent. The good thing here is that there’s no pressure so he can sail freely."

The series begins with two races daily in a qualification round to determine Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets before final rounds next Monday and Tuesday.

Ireland needs to be in the top five of unqualified nations to secure a berth for Tokyo 2020. Once qualified, a trials series will follow to select the best sailor.

Later this month, Ireland's Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller will commence their Laser Radial class World Championships, also in Sakaiminato-City aiming to secure a place in their event for the Olympics next year.

Published in Tokyo 2020
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Webcams

webcam sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating