#irish49er – Their meteoric rise from 33rd to 11th in the ISAF Global Rankings for the 49er Olympic Class gave international recognition to the April achievement of Belfast Lough's Ryan Seaton (24) and Matt McGovern (26). They brought home the Silver Medal from the ISAF World Championship in Hyeres on France's Mediterranean coast, and although it was a high-achieving month for Irish sailing generally at home and abroad, it makes them clear winners of the Afloat.ie Sailors of the Month title for April.
This is no flash-in-the-pan success. Seaton, who calls Carrickfergus home, and longtime sailing partner McGovern from Bangor on the other side of the lough, have been genuine contenders in this demanding class since the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, when they emerged in the front ranks. While they're well aware that sailing conditions in Brazil in 2016 will be very different from the brisk weather which helped them to start making their mark at Weymouth two years ago, their campaign is steadily developing.
Next up for the busy duo – who have admitted it took a day or two for the full significance of their silver to sink in – is a series of majors in Europe as the 2014 season develops. It's a hectic pace with the Garda EuroSAF Championship from May 8th to 12th, the often blustery Delta Lloyd Regatta in The Netherlands (May 21st to 25th), and Sail for Gold at Weymouth in the first week of June. It's all serious challenges coming down the line. But for now we salute Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern, Sailors of the Month for April 2014.