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Displaying items by tag: Ryan Seaton

Olympic sailor Ryan Seaton is back training at his home club in Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough following the completion of a slipway widening project.

In past campaigns Ryan has had to train away from home because the slipway at Carrickfergus was unsuitable for launching a high-performance dinghy.

Part-funded by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the new slipway means Ryan, who represented Ireland in the 49er Class at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, can now launch safely and undertake his winter training on familiar waters for the first time as he bids for a place at next year's games in Tokyo.

With qualification for the much-anticipated competition just around the corner, Ryan and his crew, Seafra Guilfoyle from Royal Cork YC and University College Cork Sailing Club, are busy training and making plenty of use of the new slipway as Seaton aims for this third Olympics in a row. The duo competed in Austria at Lake Attersee last month to battle it out at the Europeans, as Afloat reported here.

The newly widened slipway at Carrickfergus Sailing ClubThe newly widened slipway at Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Ryan said "Carrickfergus and Belfast Lough is one of the best sailing locations throughout the UK and Ireland but I was unable to take full advantage of training on it due to the lack of a slipway suitable for my dinghy. This new facility is an absolute game-changer for me and will make a huge difference as I can now continue my professional sailing career at my home club and complete some vital training ahead of Tokyo 2021 qualification".

He continued "My thanks are extended to Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for making this possible and improving my training opportunities."

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said the initiative will be a boost to the entire sailing community. "As a Council, we are proud to be able to assist with this very worthwhile project and wish Ryan every success as he aims for next year's Olympic games. This new feature is a boost to both the Club and other users and will hopefully inspire others to get involved and may even produce a few future Olympians."

Published in Belfast Lough

Northern Ireland sailor Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough, took to the water at Lake Attersee, Austria, earlier this month to battle it out at the Europeans with the other half of his 49er duo Seafra Guilfoyle from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

They finished 26th in the 55-boat fleet in the event which took place from 28 September to 4 October - no mean feat after a difficult few months.

The pair have been able to get only 30 days' sailing in the last six months due to Covid-19 restrictions. Setting out for their journey to compete in Austria, they also had to borrow kit as theirs is still on its way home from Palma after competing there earlier in the year.

Seaton explains that the Europeans were very different to the usual event: "With it being COVID19 times, it made big changes to the racing; we didn't have any measurement or social gathering at all. Masks on and no hugging, though it was great to see all the other sailors from the big Olympic family."

Commenting on their result, Seaton says: "We were happy with how well we sailed under all the circumstances and to be racing in the gold fleet with others who have sailed more and who were using their Olympic kit. To say conditions were shifty is an understatement. We had 60-degree wind shifts and many times we couldn't cross the start line on starboard tack. The event organisers did a great job under the circumstances. Seafra and I kept really positive. We used this event as an opportunity to get more hours on the water, in preparation for next year's Olympic qualification in Palma."

While it is difficult to plan in the current Covid-19 climate, the pair are looking ahead to 2021 and preparations are underway.

They plan to sail in Ireland until the beginning of December and then travel to Villamoura in Portugal to race in better conditions alongside international teams and log quality hours. They will then move down to Palma until April to take part in camps and sail at a small club regatta, working towards the Palma Regatta, an Olympic Qualification event at the end of March.

Seaton comments: "We are super motivated now to get lots of hours on the water. We aim to get 20 days a month completed and we are in the process of getting our kit all back home and sorted in preparation for next year."

RYA Northern Ireland's Performance Manager Andrew Baker says Seaton is on course to a solid year of racing ahead.

"This was Ryan's first real event of the season and was a fantastic opportunity to compete in a world-class field. He has now got a feel for the fleet and his strengths and weaknesses within it. RYA Northern Ireland is pleased that Ryan can now enter the Winter training phase with a clear pathway and goals to achieve."

Tagged under

It's been a disappointing opening day at the 49er European Championships for Ireland's double Olympic rep Ryan Seaton teamed with Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle. Ireland's top hope to win the last of the Olympic berths for Tokyo next year only managed to finish one of today's three opening races on Lake Attersee in Austria. As a result,  the pair now lie 53rd from 55 boats. Faring much better are Irish under-23 stars Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth and Skerries respectively who counted an 18, 6 and 17 to lie 26th overall.  A third Irish pair, Sean Donnelly and Marcus O'Leary lie 46th.  

It's still early days in the Championships and seven more qualifying races in the series remain.

Just seven points separate the top 10 in the 60-boat 49er men’s fleet after three highly testing races in wildly variable breeze on the races courses closest to the Union Yacht Club Attersee. Despite the seemingly random nature of the racing, somehow the 2018 World Champions from Croatia, Sime and Mihovil Fantela, emerged from the melée to hold top spot on the leaderboard.

A point behind are the German crew of Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf, followed by the Dutch crew Bart Lambriex and Pim van Vugt. Incredibly for such a strong sailing nation, Lambriex and van Vugt will be the first team ever to represent the Netherlands at the Olympic Games in 20 years of 49er skiff history.

The Dutch Federation holds its athletes to a high standard before they can be considered for sending to a Games, and now they have achieved that. Their performance in today’s conditions suggests they can keep their heads in high-pressure situations. They executed a brave port-tack start across the fleet in one race, although a protest by the Estonian crew means the Dutch will have to sweat for a while in the protest room this evening before they find out their fate.

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020

Three Irish Olympic 49ers will compete at the European Championships at Union-Yacht-Club Attersee, on Lake Attersee, Austria next week. 

After a halt to global racing in March, this will be the first time for teams to come together and race in a championship since the World Championship in Geelong in February.

Irish 49er Olympic Qualification

Ireland is vying with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggested that Irish sailors would be favourites having finished ahead of the other three candidates, but they are the lowest in a tightly packed group in the world rankings.

Even though Attersee is not a qualifying event, Italy is sending four teams, the Swedes have three teams and the Belgians one team.

It's hard to fathom how after starting out ahead of the curve for Tokyo four years ago, Ireland is now in the 49er last chance saloon. However, 'we are where we are', as the saying goes, and the final chance to secure the last berth now looks scheduled for early 2021.

In the meantime, the race is on to find that crucial speed edge to bring Ireland Olympic representation in the men's skiff class next July.

Three Irish skiff teams for Attersee

After seven months without racing Irish crews checked in with the European fleet earlier this month at Kiel Week in a build-up to the Europeans.

It produced some important markers for both Irish men's skiff teams, not least the fact that it was the Under-23 duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove that came out on top. The Howth and Skerries pairing finished 14th some 13 places ahead of double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle who had a silver fleet finish in 27th place in the 52-boat fleet. 

For Attersee, a new Irish combination makes its debut as Sean Donnelly and Marcus O'Leary represent the Royal St. George Yacht Club

European 49er Championship Racing Schedule

Date Activity First Warning
Mon 28th Sept 2020 Practice Race 12:55
Tues 29th Sept 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Wed 30th Set 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Thurs 1st  Oct 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Fri 2nd Oct 2020 Final Series 10:55
Sat 3rd Oct 2020 Final Series 10:55
Sun 4th Oct 2020 Final Series 09:55
Published in Tokyo 2020

The countdown is on for three Northern Ireland sailors campaigning for their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in late July this year, writes Betty Armstrong.

The athletes, who have been training for over four years, as part of their Olympic campaigns, will take to the waters on 11 April to battle it out at the nine-day qualifying competition in Genoa.

In the running is two-time Olympian and World Cup silver medallist Ryan Seaton, from Carrickfergus. Seaton paired up with new crew Seafra Guilfoyle from Cork in the 49er class, following his 10th place finish with Matt McGovern at Rio in 2016.

McGovern is now coach to the Irish 49er teams, all vying for an Olympic place.

Ryan and Seafra finished 10th at the Olympic Test event in Enoshima and recently finished 30th at the 2020 World Championships. They are embarking on a critical training phase in the lead up to the Olympic qualifier and subsequent European Championships in May.

Seaton comments: “Seafra and I have been training well and putting critical elements of speed and boat handling together over this winter period. Our focus has been to get more race practice and working under pressure to refine our performances and add consistency to a regatta week.”

Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in action at the 49er Worlds in Australia last month (Photo: Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy)Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in action at the 49er Worlds in Australia last month | Photo: Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy

The Finn is a dinghy not normally associated with Donaghadee Sailing Club, but DSC member Oisin McClelland is another contender.

Campaigning in the men’s heavyweight Finn class since 2015, McClelland has secured several top 32 World and European finishes. In January he finished fourth in the Miami World Cup Series event, just narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.

He says: “Really nailing down all elements that make up a successful Olympic campaign was definitely difficult at the start but over time I have been able to get consistent and make big improvements.”

Ballyholme’s Liam Glynn is also gearing up for the challenge in Genoa. Rising through the youth and U21 ranks, he has secured a world junior title and U21 bronze along the way and recently achieved a personal best finish in the Laser at the recent World Championships in Australia.

As part of the Irish Performance Laser squad, the Bangor sailor has been training hard, with a typical day including up to six hours of training, looking at racing skills and focusing on nutrition and recovery.

Commenting on his Olympic campaign so far, Glynn says: “I am motivated by my love of the sport, the feeling when you are in the zone and perfecting your technique and strategy amongst the best sailors in the world.”

Liam Glynn recently scored a personal best result in the LaserLiam Glynn recently scored a personal best result in the Laser

All three sailors graduated through the RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Pathway and are funded through Sport Northern Ireland. Seaton and Glynn are members of the Irish Performance Team.

In sailing, nations can qualify in 10 Olympic disciplines but just one boat is eventually selected to represent each nation in each discipline.

For the NI athletes, their last chance for a European place in the Finn, Laser and 49er fleets is up for grabs at the Sailing World Cup next month.

RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford, is looking forward to supporting the sailors as they make their final preparations.

“For all three boats the focus is now on one event in April and for the final chance to secure their place at Tokyo 2020,” he says. “All three have worked extremely hard during this Olympic cycle, with vast amounts of training, competing and travel to achieve their goal.

“At RYA Northern Ireland we are proud of how well they have applied themselves and their inspirational role as ambassadors for sailing in Northern Ireland.

“We look forward to the sailing community supporting them as they undertake this final challenge for Olympic qualification.”

Irish Olympic 49er campaigners Ryan Seaton and Séafra Guilfoyle put in a spirited performance in the 74-strong fleet at the 2020 Oceania Championships at Geelong near Melbourne, which ended today.

They posted a set of results which included a second, seventh, eighth and 14th, giving them an overall placing of 34th, approximately halfway up in what was in fact a world-class entry and ten places ahead of the other Irish pair competing, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove.

Winners were the Spanish pair Diego Botin le Chever and Iago Lopez Marre with five first places from eight, with the New Zealand team of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in second place.

Seaton and Guilfoyle entered under Carrickfergus Sailing Club, but Seaton has been a regular in the past at Ballyholme where he and former crew Matt McGovern trained for the London and Rio Olympics. Guilfoyle is a member of Royal Cork.

An Irish Olympic 49er Trials will be held in Genoa in a bid to secure the final Tokyo 2020 place. More on the Irish Trials procedure here,

Tagged under

Currently sitting in 19th place, Irish skiff duo Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle have got off to a good start (two fifths in three races) at this week's warm-up Oceania Championships in Auckland that is a precursor to next week's critical 49er World Championships, an Olympic qualification event for two Irish boats seeking a single Tokyo berth from four on offer.

Howth rivals for Tokyo, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, former 49er youth world champions, also got off to a good start (a 15 and a 17) yesterday but a black flag in race three meant after three races sailed they are 66th from 81 starters. 

Full results are here.

As Afloat previously reported, next week's championships represent the best chance of securing a Tokyo skiff berth for Ireland in the 19-boat Olympic fleet with just a single final place available next season in Genoa.

Glamour conditions greeted the 178 international teams on the opening day of racing at the 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra17 Oceania Championships. The three-day warmup regatta before next weeks world championships is hosted by Auckland’s Royal Akarana Yacht Club. With the weeks leading up to the event being filled with strong winds and sunshine, the bar was set high and New Zealand certainly delivered.

The 49er class once again staked its claim of being one of the tightest fleets in Olympic sailing. Just ten points separate the top 13 teams after three races with the young American team of Andrew Mollerus and Ian MacDiarmid taking the top honours. France’s Erwan / Pequin were the only team to record two wins and see themselves just one point behind the Americans, while the red hot Kiwi squad were lead by young guns Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie, finishing the day in third.

America’s Cup heroes Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had a consistent day to see themselves in 7th overall and just five points off the lead.

Day one in the 49erFX class was also lead by a team from the United States with Stephine Roble & Maggie Shea relishing in the conditions, claiming two wins and a third to lead by 7 points from Rio 2016 Gold Medallists Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze of Brazil, with reigning European and World Champions Annemiek Bekkering & Annette Duetz just two points further back.

“We’re excited about how we sailed today,” Roble commented after racing. “It was a really fun day out there in really beautiful conditions on Auckland Harbour. We really just focused on good start execution and trying to sail big lanes upwind to just let it rip and try to get to the pressure; staying on the lifted tack and we were really happy with just keeping it simple out there.”

New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney & Molly Meech finished the day in 5th place, with two second places marred by a 13th in race three.

It was the Ben & Nikki show in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull fleet. The reigning European Champions from Great Britain, Ben Saxton & Nicola Boniface rattled off three bullets from as many races in the building conditions to lead the fleet by 5 points. This show of dominance sets the scene for a thrilling selection battle with their fellow teammates John Gimson and Anna Burnet, currently 7th. The two teams have been trading wins throughout 2019 and a decisive win at the 2019 worlds could book the winning team a ticket to Tokyo.

USA’s Riley Gibbs & Anna Weis showed blistering speed downwind to finish the day second, ahead of Finland’s Sinem Kurtbay & Akseli Keskinen, with the chasing pack all producing consistent results across the board. The Auckland conditions are proving perfect for the foiling multihulls, with strong winds and flat water producing blistering speeds and tight racing across the fleet.

The full schedule of racing was streamed live to a global audience by broadcast partner SidelineApp. Hosted by New Zealand’s Jesse Tuke and featuring commentary from the likes of three-time Olympian PJ Postma and match racing expert Chris Steele, viewers were treated to previously unforeseen coverage of a continental championship. Live and free coverage will continue over the next two days of racing, (find at 49er.org/live) with viewers tuning in from 10:00 am Auckland time (NZDT / GMT+13).

(Live coverage of the 2019 Hyundai World Championships will be available for 9.95 euro if purchased before November 30, or 14.95 euro thereafter.)

Results

49er

1st Andrew Mollerus & Ian Macdiarmid (USA) 3-6-2; 11pts

2nd Fischer Erwain & Clément Pequin (FRA) 1-10-1; 12pts

3rd Isaac McHardie & William McKenzie (NZL) 1-4-7; 12pts

4th Diego Botin & Iago López Marra (ESP) 9-1-3; 13pts

5th Dominik Buksak & Szymon Wierzbicki (POL) 5-7-2; 14pts

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Sky Sport will broadcast live all six days of December’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland, New Zealand, which is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class sailing world championships it has been announced by the 49er and 49erFX world president Marcus Spillane from Cork.

Spillane is also a member of Irish Sailing's Olympic Steering Group charged with assisting Irish Sailors to reach medal winning positions in the Olympic Games so he will have added interest in ensuring Ireland's 49er crews, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove will be in the best possible position to compete for the final chance of an Olympic berth at Tokyo 2020.

Unfortunately, the championships will not now include Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who quit their fledgeling campaign last week.

49er Dickson Waddilove 1854Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are New Zealand bound Photo: Afloat

As many as 400 of the world’s best sailors, including New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, are expected to compete at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from December 3-8.

Not only will world titles be on the line, but many countries will be using it as an Olympic selection event so the stakes will be high.

Sky Sport will screen live all six days of racing – six races a day – and also produce a daily highlights package, which will also be shown on free-to-air partner Prime TV.

On-the-water gyroscopic cameras will capture all the racing action, including state-of-the-art drones, and there will be comprehensive analysis and interviews from the boat park before and after the racing presented by a team of sailing experts.

Tracking and animation will also be provided by Animation Research Ltd, who are world leaders in graphics visualisation.

“We’re proud to be the host broadcaster for this great event, and we look forward to bringing sailing fans racing coverage from December 3-8 on Sky Sport,” Sky head of sports production Brian Hitchcock said.

The scale of the production is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class regatta and will enable New Zealand fans to get close to the action. Negotiations are also progressing to distribute the feed internationally.

The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 are arguably the most exciting of all of the Olympic classes, with the boats reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots.

Burling and Tuke have made a successful comeback to the 49er after a couple of years focusing on the America’s Cup and Ocean Race, winning last month’s Olympic test event in Japan, and will be looking to add a fifth world title in December.

“We are thrilled to have Sky Sport New Zealand broadcast our upcoming world championship,” 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 president Spillane said. “The 2019 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 world championships are likely to be the most competitive regatta in all of sailing this year.

“To have a passionate New Zealand audience and our global fanbase be able to watch the whole thing is wonderful for the sport.”

The regatta is one of the highlights on the upcoming sailing calendar, which also includes February’s RS:X world championships in Auckland as well as the 2021 America’s Cup.

“It’s a great time to be involved in sailing in this country,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “With Sky Sport’s partnership, we have an opportunity to further inspire our young sailors through sharing content, telling stories and showing live just how exciting sailing, and in particular, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 sailing, can be.

“As a passionate nation of sports enthusiasts and sailors, we look forward to what promises to be an exciting week of competition and thank Sky Sport for their commitment to work with us in showcasing sailing and Auckland and New Zealand.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme Yacht Club and Séafra Guilfoyle of Royal Cork Yacht Club have made the cut for their 49er Gold fleet which begins this morning, the result was confirmed with a strong fourth place scored yesterday afternoon to put the duo 19th overall. 

The fact will not be lost on Seaton, however, that three years ago – in a red hot Olympic year – he won this regatta outright indicating there is much work for the new Belfast-Cork pair to do if a result is to be achieved in Tokyo next year to eclipse the creditable tenth overall he secured at Rio 2016 with former partner Matt McGovern.

The pair said on social media: "Some solid races in qualifying have us set up nicely for gold fleet. Still focusing on the processes but really happy with how we’re going".

Other Irish skiff results from Howth's Rob Dickson (sailing this week with Robbie Gilmore) and Sean and Tadhg Donnelly are here.

The top of the 49er fleet is tight after three more qualifying races were completed. GBR’s 2017 world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell are just one point clear of the Argentina’s Yago and Klaus Lange, winners here last year. 

“At the important moments we chose the right positions on the race course.” Klaus Lange recalled, “We had a really good winter of training sailed with the Austrian squad in Argentina. We have made progress and for us, we have to work perfectly as a team we are really strong".

Their Austrian training partners Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl won two from three races yesterday and are third overall while reigning world champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela of Croatia moved up to fifth with a 12pts aggregate.

Full results are here Check out all our Irish Olympic sailing coverage in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 here

Published in Tokyo 2020

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.

Full results are here. Read more about Irish hopes for Tokyo 2020 here.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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