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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

81 470s from 25 countries (but not Ireland) will be competing from 30 April to 7 May in the men's, women's and the new mixed fleets for the respective European Champion titles in Vilamoura, Portugal.

34 out of the 40 Tokyo Olympic teams are racing in the men’s and women’s championships, along with a very strong mixed fleet in the first-ever Mixed 470 European Championship held by the Class.

International 470 Class President Andreas Kosmatopoulos commented: “Our European Championships are the last major event before the Olympic sailors head off to Enoshima, but we are far from over since Italy will host the Junior World and the Junior European Championships plus the Master's Cup in July and August. With the great support of Vilamoura Sailing in the last three months, we have managed to keep 470 competition alive against the odds by running the 470 World Championships, Warm-up and coaches' regattas and taking part in the Vilamoura Grand Prix series.

The competition is on a very high level and as we are in the final turn on the road to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the teams are eager to close their campaigns by winning the prestigious European titles”

Follow the championship here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Ireland can only look to the future and Paris 2024 - just three years away - for its next chance to compete in the men's singlehanded Laser class following Finn Lynch's failure to qualify Ireland in the Laser event for Tokyo 2020 this week at the Vilamoura International Championships.

Spain and The Netherlands won the two Olympic nation places for Tokyo, with Ireland finishing ninth in the country qualification stakes.

Lynch completed the event in 33rd place overall following a 14th and 42nd places for the day. 

Germany’s Philipp Buhl as reigning world champion delivered a thrilling finish to the series, beating Brazil’s five-times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt by a single point in the final race.

Ewan McMahon from Howth YC improved to 48th overall with a 23rd and 55th for the day. Liam McGlynn of Ballyholme YC also picked up places to 56th in the 70-boat Gold fleet.

In the Men’s event Silver fleet, newcomers to Senior level racing Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy, both of the Royal St. George YC in Dun Laoghaire placed 46th and 62nd respectively.

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020

The battle for country qualification at the ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy will enter the final day tomorrow without any Irish sailors in contention.

Irish hopes of securing a third boat for Tokyo ended this afternoon after two breezy races in the Gold fleet.

The result is a disappointment for team Ireland who will not have a male Laser sailor at the Olympics, the first time since 2008 and the third absence since the boat was introduced to the Olympics at Atlanta in 1996.

Ewan McMahon (HYC)Ewan McMahon (HYC) Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

Spain is the leading contender some 33 points ahead of Netherlands with Belgium, Switzerland and Italy within shouting distance.

Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC)Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC) Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

A second black flag of the regatta in race 9 today scuppered Finn Lynch's chances in the fresh south-south easterly breezes. He followed it up with a 26th to lie 38th overall.

Other Irish results today:

  • Ewan McMahon (HYC) 37, 47 to lie 51st overall
  • Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC) 47, 50 - 59th overall

Silver fleet results not available at time of report.

  • Tom Higgins (RSGYC)
  • Hugo Kennedy (RSGYC)

Robert Scheidt from Brazil is back in contention in VilamouraRobert Scheidt from Brazil is back in contention in Vilamoura

Robert Scheidt (BRA) bounced back into 2nd place - he now lies just 14 points behind regatta leader Britain's Michael Beckett.

Country Qualification After Day 5

Country Pts Day 5 Pos after Day 5
ESP 76 1  
NED 109 2  
BEL 125 3  
SUI 127 4  
ITA 127 5  
MNE 141 6  
POR 142 7  
GRE 199 8  
IRL 220 9  
POL 258 10  
TUR 261 11  

Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish hopes of a Tokyo Olympic place in the men's single-handed class all but disappeared today in light and shifty breeze off Vilamoura, Portugal at the European Olympic qualifier event.

With the 139 competitors now split into gold and silver fleets, Ireland's Finn Lynch (NYC) really needed a good day to make a move up the rankings of those countries not yet Tokyo qualified. Not to be, however, as a 20th and 27th moved him further down those rankings to ninth. (34th overall)

With only four races left to sail, it is hard to see how he could make up the 48 point deficit that separates him from the 2nd ranked dutch boat.

Other Irish results today:

  • Ewan McMahon (HYC) 66, 50 to lie 50th overall
  • Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC) 57, 32 - 59th overall

Silver fleet:

  • Tom Higgins (RSGYC) 22, 25 - 100th overall
  • Hugo Kennedy (RSGYC) BFD, 38 - 128th overall.

Welsh sailor Michael Beckett leads the Vilamoura International Regatta after eight races sailedWelsh sailor Michael Beckett leads the Vilamoura International Regatta after eight races sailed Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

Robert Scheidt's (BRA) challenge faded after a black flag in the 2nd race - he now lies in 5th place, some 25 points behind Britain's Michael Beckett who leads the regatta.

ILCA 7 Country Olympic Qualification Table after eight races sailed

Country Points Day 2 Pos after day 2 Pts Day 3 Pos after day 3 Pts Day 4 Pos after Day 4
ESP 21 4 27 1 47 1  
NED 16 1 39 2 75 2  
BEL 18 2 56 4 81 3  
SUI 27 5 44 3 100 4  
MNE 40 8 63 6 100 5  
ITA 18 3 56 5 107 6  
GRE 39 7 81 9 111 7  
POR 43 9 73 7 115 8  
IRL 38 6 76 8 123 9  
POL 51 10 112 10 195 10  
TUR 60 11 114 11 196 11  
ISR 112 14 198 15 208 12  
LTU 95 13 181 13 223 13  
CZE 126 16 185 14 232 14  
DEN 93 12 148 12 240 15  
UKR 115 15 210 16 329 16  

Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish hopes of landing one of the Olympic country spots at the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy men faded considerably following disappointing results on day three of the competition.

Sailed in 18 to 20 knot south-westerlies the best Irish result of the day's two races was a 14th by leading contender Finn Lynch (NYC) but he followed that up with a 23rd to drop him back to 34th overall and 8th of those countries still seeking Olympic qualification. Next best of the Irish, Ewan McMahon (HYC) is 45th (24,18), while Liam Glynn of Ballyholme is 60th following a 33rd and 43rd. Royal St George teammates Tom Higgins (45, 55) and Hugo Kennedy (59, 60) now lie in 106th and 123rd respectively.

Liam Glynn (third from right) starts a yellow fleet race at the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the mens Olympic single-handed dinghy in PortugalLiam Glynn (third from right) starts a yellow fleet race at the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the mens Olympic single-handed dinghy in Portugal Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

With only two country places available, the Irish challenge has a mountain to climb to catch up with second-placed the Netherlands, some 37 points ahead. However, there has been some movement amongst the leading nations with Spain moving up three places to take over the top spot. Six races are scheduled over the next three days. 

See Finn Lynch in action on the event video below, scrub to 2.49 on the timeline

See Afloat's country qualification table below for the latest positions

Laser and Star legend Robert Scheidt (BRA) is still challenging strongly in third place overall, just one point behind Croatia's Filip Jurisic and Michael Beckett (GBR)

ILCA Laser Men Country Qualification Table after Day 3

Country Points Day 2 Pos after day 2 Pts Day 3 Pos after day 3
ESP 21 4 27 1
NED 16 1 39 2
SUI 27 5 44 3
BEL 18 2 56 4
ITA 18 3 56 5
MNE 40 8 63 6
POR 43 9 73 7
IRL 38 6 76 8
GRE 39 7 81 9
POL 51 10 112 10
TUR 60 11 114 11
DEN 93 12 148 12
LTU 95 13 181 13
CZE 126 16 185 14
ISR 112 14 198 15
UKR 115 15 210 16

Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Cancelling the Tokyo Olympics “remains an option” if the pandemic spread is not brought under control.

As the Guardian reports, those were the comments of Toshihiro Nikai, general secretary of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic party, in a TV interview that was as of his morning (Saturday 17 April) yet to be aired.

Nikai’s statement is at odds with his government’s insistence that the Games will go ahead in a little over three months’ time, on 23 July.

But public sentiment is not so clear-cut, with nearly two-fifths saying the Games should be cancelled, and nearly a third supporting a further postponement — an option the International Olympic Committee has already ruled out.

While no overseas visitors will be allowed to enter to be spectators at this year’s Olympics, the event is set to being thousands of athletes — including Ireland’s qualified sailors Annalise Murphy, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove — together along with media, sponsors and officials for the two weeks of competition.

Hosting such numbers “domestic, political and economic purposes — ignoring scientific and moral imperatives — is contradictory to Japan’s commitment to global health and human security,” several medical experts have said.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Olympic
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With a personal best achieved in the Finn European Championships in 2020, the hope was that Donaghadee Sailing Club sailor Oisin McClelland would make a further improvement in Vilamoura, Portugal this week at the 2021 championships, an important milestone on his road to the Finn Gold Cup, (the final Tokyo Olympic Qualifier), next month in which he seeks to gain the last spot in Tokyo for Ireland.

But apart from a solid sixth place taken in race six, McClelland was, unfortunately, unable to improve on his 23rd spot at the Polish 2020 Euros and finished 33rd overall in a fleet of 49 yesterday.

Next month's Gold Cup is also in Portugal and as previously reported on Afloat, McClelland is determined to finish this quadrennial on a high: "My primary goal is to qualify for Tokyo, it's the goal I have built this campaign around and I set out to achieve in 2016. However, that aside, this may be the last Finn Gold Cup held as an Olympic class I would really like to achieve a great result overall. I've made good progress despite the tough year, systematically targeting weaknesses and building them into strengths. I look forward to testing this in May." He adds: "Give me the right conditions I can achieve some top-level race results, my focus going into the regatta is to combine the progress in each area of my training from the past three years and achieve the best result I can."

Zsombor Berecz successfully retained the Championship after a consistent, confident and conclusive display on the waters of Vilamoura over the past week.

The Hungarian never put a foot wrong and achieved a level of consistency unmatched by the fleet and then put the pedal to the metal when it mattered to win with a race to spare.

Giles Scott’s return to Finn sailing after six months off with the INEOS Team UK America’s Cup team was also a triumph. A shaky start for the Brit was followed by a few classic Scott moments but he did just enough to fend off the massive challenge from the ever-confident young sailors knocking on his transom.

With the pressure on and the finish line in sight, Switzerland’s Nil Theuninck rose to the challenge to dominate the final race and secure the bronze, the first Finn European medal for Switzerland for over 30 years.

Spain’s Joan Cardona was largely unchallenged for the U23 European title, his third in a row, but fourth overall reinforces his ability and determination ahead of the final Olympic qualification event next month.

Berecz won his first Finn European title last year in Gdynia, Poland.

He said, “I think the trophy likes me. It was in very bad condition last year and I fixed it and now it’s in great shape again, so we like each other. It was a very tough week but consistency again paid off and I am very happy to win it again as it’s a great trophy.”

“I’m also very happy to be part of the Finn family and I think that’s the great thing in Finn sailing, not so much the boat itself, but the people who are sailing the boat.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

Ireland is hoping a five-man team in Portugal can take one of two final nation places in the final men's Laser Olympic qualifier in Vilamoura starting on Monday.

Vilamoura International Regatta is the last chance for the Laser sailors to secure a place for Ireland in Tokyo and will see a fleet of 120 boats all looking for a last-minute speed edge, just 100 days out from the Olympic Regatta itself.

Vilamoura is itself a hastily rescheduled qualifier due to COVID as the earlier venue at Hyeres Regatta in France was cancelled over pandemic fears.

If the Irish can find the pace it will bring the Tokyo Olympic Sailing team up to three boats with the earlier qualification of the Irish Women's Laser Radial in 2019 and the men's 49er skiff a month ago.

Finn Lynch 

Despite some strong individual performances across his four-year campaign, inconsistency has prevented next week's main Irish hope, Finn Lynch, from taking a nation place so far.

Lynch's big chance came in 2018 when 40% of all Tokyo places went up for grabs at the World Championships in Aarhus. Despite the fact, he had three top ten results in his score sheet that week he still failed to qualify.

That miss now looks very expensive for the Rio representative as he enters the last chance saloon with up to 17 other countries also looking for elusive Tokyo tickets.

Countries still seeking nation qualification are: Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine but these can be boiled down to five or six main rivals who are capable of medal race finishes in Vilamoura.

To compound difficulties, nation spots for the Laser Men discipline have been reduced for Tokyo, 11 fewer than at the Rio Games in 2016. 

Irish Laser rivals for Tokyo

Lynch also has some strong domestic rivals to contend with in Portugal because whichever Irish sailor qualifies the country next week will get the Olympic nomination.

Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) and Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy (both of the Royal St. George Yacht Club) are all racing next week.

County Down's Liam Glynn (21) was the Bronze medallist at U21 World Championships in 2018 and the Topper World Champion in 2013   County Down's Liam Glynn (21) was the Bronze medallist at U21 World Championships in 2018 and the Topper World Champion in 2013 Photo: Tom Thouw

Team management is saying it's a 'tough task' but of all of them, Lynch has shown he is capable of grinding out the required result. 

Personal best is a boost

Coming off the back of the European Championships in Poland last October, Lynch showed the depth of his Olympic ambition and secured a personal best of 13th from a fleet of 126. It's a highly creditable result that will boost the 24-year-old's confidence next week.

Ewan McMahon (20) from Howth was the Silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016Ewan McMahon (20) from Howth was the Silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016

"There’s a bunch of good people who still haven’t qualified. There are five or six nations with guys who can have regattas in the top ten but I’m not really focusing on that. I’m focussing on trying to improve on the things that held me back on the last two qualification regattas. And If I can do that, there’s no reason that I cannot get a spot", Lynch told the Irish Laser Class AGM last November. See the full interview here.

Royal St. George Yacht Club youth sailors Tom Higgins (pictured above) and Hugo Kennedy are both competing at Vilamoura International RegattaRoyal St. George Yacht Club youth sailors Tom Higgins (pictured above) and Hugo Kennedy are both competing at Vilamoura International Regatta

Lynch and the rest of the team have benefitted from the exclusive services of Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar, a three-time Olympic medallist, so there is much to say that Lynch -  if not one of the five competing - can produce another sensational result, just as the Howth 49er skiff crew did in Lanzarote last month.

The competition begins on Monday 19 April and concludes on Saturday 24 April 2021. More details on the regatta website here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Tokyo Olympic solo sailor campaigner Oisin McClelland of Donaghadee in Northern Ireland is among the entries for the 2021 Open and U23 Finn European Championship that gets underway in Vilamoura, Portugal, this morning with around 49 sailors from 29 nations competing.

Over the coming week, 10 races are scheduled up to Friday 16 April.

It's the penultimate regatta in McClelland's long road to qualifying Ireland in the Finn, a heavy weight men's class that McClelland has been campaigning since 2015. 

McClelland of Donaghadee has secured several results with the top 32 Worlds, 23 in the 2020 Europeans and a credible 8th in Kieler Week.

Portugal will host the Finn Gold Cup early this May and McClelland, which will be a big event for McClelland. It will not only determine the 2021 Finn world champion but also the final two places at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

There are two places left to decide, one European place and one African place to complete the fleet taking part in the Games.

This week though, it's all about preparation for that do or die May event with sailors from around the globe now rigged up and ready to race in Portugal.

The furthest travelled for this event and taking part in his first major Finn event since 2019, is Jake Lilley, from Australia.

“It’s really nice to re-connect after an extended period away. It was great action when we were all together for the Gold Cup in Melbourne, so I’m really looking forward to more racing at the Euros and Gold Cup in Portugal this year.”

While he has not been racing in world quality fleets as usual, he has been able to train in large fleets in Australia

“Training in Australia has always presented its blessing in the Finn. We have beautiful conditions year round and the fleet is really thriving Down Under. My home club (RQYS) has 40 boats alone. It was amazing to be racing weekends with 30+ guys when the rest of the world was in lockdown. So it’s a bit of a disconnected feeling to what everyone else has had to go through.”

“I’m also super lucky with coach Rafa [Trujillo] and Finn legend, Anthony Nossiter, throwing their righting moment around for the long upwind slogs in domestic training. I think having the old school smarts and the help from two heroes is a beautiful thing and puts us in really good stead with speed and preparation. So it’s just up to me to put it all together on the racetrack now.”

Two of the British sailors have come almost direct from the America’s Cup in New Zealand. While Giles Scott, is preparing to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo in August, INEOS Team UK grinder, Ben Cornish, is also back in a Finn for a while, though he says it’s not a comeback.

“Giles asked if I could come and do some training with him, in his compact build-up the Olympics this summer. Of course I couldn’t say no.”

“It’s certainly not a comeback for me, but it’s a rare opportunity to compete in the Finn for pure enjoyment. Having been on the grinding wheel with the America’s Cup at INEOS Team UK for the past three years it’s refreshing to be thinking about ‘conventional’ racing and decision making, and of course with so many people I enjoyed racing over the past years.”

Cornish, who dropped out of his Olympic campaign and joined INEOS Team UK after the decision to drop the Finn from 2024 is expecting a very high standard of competition. “It’s clear to see that people have spent a lot of time training this winter and beyond through lockdowns. As we know people are looking to find form in Olympic year so I expect to see some strong results within the fleet.”

“I hope the venue delivers some good racing conditions and everyone can have an enjoyable week out on the race course.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

Northern Ireland Olympic sailor Ryan Seaton of Carrickfergus Sailing Club is set to miss the birth of his first child in his bid to reach the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

As Afloat previously reported, Seaton and team-mate Seafra Guilfoyle along with a Dublin team have one final chance to qualify Ireland for the Games at the Lanzarote International Regatta starting today.

Seaton's wife Jena, an Olympic medallist with Denmark in 2016, is due to give birth while he is qualifying in the 49er class in Lanzarote.

"I'm so fortunate that Jena is so understanding," the 33-year-old told BBC News.

"She is an Olympic medallist from Rio so she understands the commitment and the time required in the build-up to an event like this better than anyone," the father-to-be says.

Seaton and Guilfoyle have been in Lanzarote for three weeks as they prepare for their one shot at reaching the rescheduled Olympics this summer. Having finished 14th in London and tenth in Rio, Seaton now has Irish competition for the Tokyo place in the shape of up and coming Howth pair Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove. Both Irish teams are in a four-way tie for the single available place.

Seaton managed to visit Jena in Greenisland in County Antrim last week before jetting back out to the Canary Islands for qualification.

"I managed to get home for a few days to see Jena last week. It's nice to have the balance of life and sport. It makes me appreciate that I go can sailing and do what I love," he said.

Read the full interview on BBC here.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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