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Royal Irish's Saskia Tidey & Charlotte Dobson Narrowly Miss 49erFX World Title

15th February 2020
Saskia Tidey (left) and Charlotte Dobson with their world championship silver medals in Geelong Saskia Tidey (left) and Charlotte Dobson with their world championship silver medals in Geelong

It was so close yet so far for Scottish-Irish combination Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey who narrowly missed out on winning the World 49erFX championships in Australia today.

The pair, who have qualified for Team GB's Tokyo team, had a stand out week of competition leading the championships at Geelong for most of the week.

Spanish sailors Tamara Echegoyen, a world match racing champion and the 2016 49erFX world champion with a different crew, with Barcelo (ESP) and Dobson with Tidey (GBR) locked horns throughout the medal race. Each team was well clear of any competition and only had to beat the other to secure the gold medal.

“We are so so happy,” Echegoyen said on-water once the world championship result was clear. “You know this kind, of course, is shifting all the time, you have to think about what is the best plan. We tried just to be close to her (GBR); you have to be calm and keep going. If you do a split, you can lose control.

“Because of the Volvo Race, Paula and I started this campaign a little late; it’s a short time to try and get to the high level of this fleet. At the last worlds in Auckland, we had to abandon [due to an injury to Paula]. Here we just tried to focus every day,” the beaming skipper added.

“Every moment it was so close and so stressful and finally we get the gold,” Barcelo said as the pair enjoyed some celebratory champagne, having beaten Dobson/Tidey.

On the second upwind beat of the medal race, the British team made significant gains on the Spanish before tacking underneath. Echegoyen, the 2012 match racing world champion, tacked immediately on their line and Dobson/Tidey reacted. The Brits were locked in and made gains, but the layline forced both to tack back with the Spanish directly ahead into the windward mark.

Saskia tidey 49erFX

The British looked to have a slightly better hoist going but capsized when their kite filled with water halfway up. The Spanish sped away, only looking back moments later to realize the pressure valve had been released.

The eventual silver medallists will be replaying the capsize in their heads for some time. “Our first reaction is we are a little disappointed,” Dobson admitted. “We could have taken it to the Spanish a little better in the medal race, but on the whole we have sailed a really good regatta.”

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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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