The Irish Olympic Sailing team start competing in Australia at two separate World Championships next week.
The 49er World Championships
First off are the 49er World Championships in Geelong, Victoria. Ireland will be represented by two teams, Olympian Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Seafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club), and Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club). Racing starts on Monday 10 February and concludes 15 February.
Hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, the 49er World Championships will see 77 boats compete from 26 countries.
The ILCA Laser World Championships
The following day, Tuesday 11 February will see the start of the Laser men’s races at the ILCA Laser World Championships, taking place in Melbourne (Sandringham Yacht Club). Competing are Olympian and Carlow native Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club). There are 131 competitors from 45 countries.
A Mix of Youth & Experience
Both 49er and Laser classes have a mix of youth and experience. In the 49er two-time Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton will be hoping to regain some of the form that saw him make the medal race final in the 2016 Olympic Games. He now sails with Seafra Guilfoyle. Hot on their heels are the U23 Bronze medallists Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove. They are still learning the ropes on the senior circuit but had an impressive World Championships at the end of last year, making Gold fleet.
In the Laser, Olympian Finn Lynch is competing alongside Liam Glynn, and Ewan McMahon who is relatively new to the senior circuit. This is only Ewan’s second World Championships and he will be hoping to repeat his impressive Gold Fleet performance at his debut Worlds.
Laser Radial Women compete for Ireland’s spot at the Olympics
With Ireland having secured a boat in the Laser Radial at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, four Irish women now begin their battle for that spot. The women’s races at the ILCA Laser World Championships start a week after the men on 23 February. This is the first event of three to decide who will represent Ireland (the other two being the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, March, and the Hyeres Regatta, France in April).
In the mix is Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy (National Yacht Club) fresh from her silver medal at Sail Melbourne in January, Aoife Hopkins (Howth Yacht Club), Aisling Keller (Lough Derg Yacht Club) and Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) who won the U17 Gold Medal at Sail Melbourne.
111 competitors will compete from 41 countries.