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Displaying items by tag: Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern

Sunny Palma laid on some of its best conditions for the third day of the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR today but it all started with a lengthy delay as a weak south-westerly eventually gave way to a moderate southerly with winds from 10-16 knots and great sailing conditions.

Dublin's Finn Lynch posted a marginally better overall score for the day over London 2012 rep James Espey as the pair fight it out to decide the Rio 2016 nomination.

With the three Irish Lasers racing in the Silver fleet, Lynch had a consistent sixth and a fifth. Espey had a ninth and a third to finish the day six points behind his rival for the sole Rio place. A reminder that the contest could yet be a three-way affair came from Baltimore's Fionn Lyden who won the first race of the day but followed this with a 32nd place and trails Lynch and Espey by almost 20 places.

Kinsale’s Darragh O’Sullivan had a fifth and a second place in the Laser class Bronze fleet where he is a single point off the podium with two days of racing left.

The morning’s calm conditions delayed the skiff classes racing until even later in the day but the opening race for the women’s 49erFX saw Providence Team IRL's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey suffer their worst result of the series so far with a back of the fleet 30th place. However, as the breeze freshened for the second race the pair recovered form to place 14th and they lie 19th overall. Two days of racing remain to make up the 20-point difference for a place in the medal race final on Saturday.

The men’s skiff event had an even longer wait ashore as the wind barely reached the minimum strength for racing conditions. Ireland’s Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern placed eighth in the only race of the day and lie fourth overall in the 49er class to look good for the medal race on Saturday.

After two days of light winds, tomorrow’s forecast is for fresh to strong gusty winds on the Bay of Palma for the penultimate day of fleet racing at the regatta.

Leading Results:
470 Men: 1.- Mathew Belcher/ Will Ryan (AUS): 5pts, 2.-Stu McNay/Dave Hughes (USA): 19, 3.-Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP): 20; 470 W: 1.- Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA): 7pts 2.-Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED): 16 3.- Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA) : 20'

49er M: 1.- Diego Botín/Iago López (ESP):15pts, 2.- Nico Delle/Nikolaus Resch (AUT): 18, 3.- Erik Heil /Thomas Plossel (ESP): 20; 49er FX W: 1.-Annemiek Bekkering/Annerre Duetz (NED): 25pts, 2.- Jena Mai Hansen/Katja Steen (DEN): 27, 3.-Charlotte Dobson/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR): 47.

FINN: 1.- Josh Junior (NZL): 15pts, 2.-Giles Scott (GBR): 19, 3.- Pieterjan Postma (NED):24pts:

LASER STANDARD: 1.- Andrew Maloney (NZL): 18pts, 2.- Tonci Stipanovic (CRO): 25, 3.- Kristian Ruth (NOR): 25pts. LASER RADIAL: 1.- Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN): 16pts 2.-Evi Van Acker (BEL):18, 3.- Tuula Tenkanen (FIN):20.

NACRA 17, 1.-Billy Besson/Marie Riou (FRA): 23 2.- Vittorio Bissaro/Silvia Sicouri (ITA): 55, 3.- Paul Kohlhoff/Carolina Werner (GER): 56.

RS: X M: 1.- Tom Squires (GBR): 7pts 2.-Vyron Kokkalanis ((GRE): 10, 3.- Pawel Tarnowski(POL): 13. RS:X W: 1.- Olga Maslivets (RUS): 8pts, 2.- Charline Picon (FRA):): 17, 3.- Marina Alabau (ESP): 17.

Invited Classes: 2.4M: 1.- Helena Lucas (GBR): 3pts, 2.- Bjornar Erikstad (NOR): 7, 3.- Lasse Klotzing (GER): 8. Dragon: 1.-Lady Tati (POR): 3 2.-Convergens (RUS): 7 3.- Young Tigger (ESP): 10

Published in Olympic

The crucial Trofeo Princesa Sofia Olympic classes regatta at Palma got underway in perfect conditions today and Irish skiff crews were to the fore for a perfect start in a 12–17 knot breeze providing great racing conditions and great competition. The regatta is also the second round of the mens Laser trial with three Irish sailors vying for the single berth. 

13 Irish sailors are taking part in the event including some young crews in their first major event. Over 800 boats and one thousand sailors representing 68 nations from around the world are racing.

After three races, Rio qualified Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Northern Ireland lead the 49er skiff class in a major boost to their preparations for next month's European Championships. Although Palma is missing some key top contenders today's results are a strong follow–on from their tenth place overall at the 2015 World Championships. Their eighth place in the opening race today was followed by second and first places.

 

#justsendit ⛵️?Solid start to the Princess Sophia Regatta for us boys, had some really good fun back racing in the big waves and breeze.

Posted by Team Seaton & McGovern on Monday, 28 March 2016

Also Rio qualifed following Friday's release of the African berth by ISAF, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey from Dun Laoghaire were also on form in today's early stages and lie in ninth overall after scoring 8.9.8 in the 27–boat fleet.

In the Irish Laser trial, London 2012 veteran James Espey from Belfast had a 28th and a tenth to lie 50th overall which is the cut-off for deciding the Gold fleet standard and continues to lead the Laser men trials. Dun Laoghaire's Finn Lynch had a 19th and 28th and lies in 69th place in the 152–boat event. Two 29th places for Baltimore's Fionn Lyden puts him 87th overall after day one.

There are no Irish radial sailors in Palma which is unusual given many of Annalise Murphy's predicted 'top eight' are in attendance.

The Princess Sofia regatta also marked the first major international regatta for up and coming sailors in the 49er skiff event. Mark Hassett and Oisin O'Driscoll from Schull and former 420 champions Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are both racing.

Published in Olympic

Torrential rainfall and a chill in the air, Miami isn't usually like this, but competition for World Cup honours and Rio 2016 Olympic spots are keeping the temperatures on Biscayne Bay hot. Ireland's crews are not in the running for medals this week but Belfast's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a race win in the silver fleet yesterday leaving them 38th overall in their 61–boat fleet. Irish rivals for the Rio berth Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins are placed 59th and 60th respectively overall in what is the second round of the Irish selection trial.

Competitiveness from the front to the back of each fleet has been evident and every sailor has something to fight for. Whether it's the coveted Rio spot, a Sailing World Cup honour, internal qualification for Rio 2016 or even striving to perfect their game, it's all on in Miami.

Sailors were made to wait for racing on Thursday as torrential downpours killed off the breeze and produced large quantities of surface water. When the breeze materialised it enabled the sailors to commence racing at 15:20 local time in building conditions that ranged from 12-17 knots from the south east.

49er IT

Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a race win in Miami yesterday and made the headlines in this morning's Irish Times Newspaper. 

49er and 49erFX

A single race in the 49er Gold, 49er Silver and 49erFX was completed.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) and New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech held on to top spot in the 49er and 49erFX respectively. Race wins went the way of John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) in 49er Gold, Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern (IRL) in 49er Silver and Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen (DEN) in the 49erFX.

On the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification front, there is plenty happening in all three fleets.

Chilean brothers Benjamin and Cristóbal Grez Ahrens haven't made things easy on themselves in their battle against Uruguay's Santiago Silveira and Philipp Umpierre for the South American 49er Rio spot. A disastrous start and up and down results gave the Uruguayans the advantage after two days.

The Uruguayans were positioned to make the gold fleet with the Chileans back in silver ahead of Wednesday's so they had it all to do. Match racing was the name of the game and the Chileans forced the Uruguayans hand with an OCS and BFD to squeeze them back into silver fleet.

Thursday was an opportunity for both teams to reset and from a single 49er Silver race, the Grez Ahrens brothers grabbed the initiative, leapfrogging the Uruguayans. A Chilean ninth compared to the Uruguayans 18th ensures they go into the final day of fleet racing with a six point advantage.

In the north, gold fleet racing will decide the spot. USA in the driving seat with Thomas Barrows, III and Joseph Morris seventh on 71 points. Canada follow with David Mori and Justin Barnes 29th on 104 points and British Virgin Islanders Alec Anderson and Christopher Brockbank are down in 31st.

American sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt as well as Emily Dellenbaugh and Elizabeth Barry have put their nation in a strong position to qualify in the 49erFX. Henken and Scutt are 18th on 142 points and their compatriots, 21st on 161. Their nearest rivals are U.S. Virgin Islanders Mayumi Roller and Agustina Barbuto who trail on 181 in 23rd. Aruba's Odile and Philipine Van Aanholt hold 226 points in 32nd.

Chile's Arantza Gumucio and Begoña Gumucio are the only South American entrants who have not yet qualified for Rio 2016 so will qualify this week.

Laser and Laser Radial

A very fluid weather pattern (in more ways than one) made for a challenging, albeit short, day on the water for the Laser and Laser Radial fleets. The threat of thunderstorms kept the fleet ashore through the early afternoon. Once the sailors launched, the compressed time left the sailors with little time to properly research the breeze. Adding to the confusion, the weather changed just as the Radials were halfway up the first leg.

"In the beginning it was quite light,” said Evi van Acker (BEL). "But then the rain came and along came the wind. So it was quite windy in the race, which was nice to have a little bit of difference compared to the first three days.”

It was also quite shifty and, with the visibility reduced, tough for the sailors to formulate a plan of attack. As is often the case in difficult conditions, the cream rose to the top, with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) nipping Sarah Gunni Toftedal (DEN) by just two seconds and adding to her impressive string of four first-place finishes in the qualifying races. But Bouwmeester was hard-pressed to describe how she won the race.

"I don't really know,” she said with a laugh. "The weather was quite tricky with the rain so I think I was just a bit lucky being on the right side of the wind shifts.”

Bouwmeester, who won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 Laser Radial World Championships, is probably being modest. But her day did have one significant, and totally unexpected, hurdle that she handled with a veteran's poise.

"A 470 trailer, they didn't put it up right after the 470 went into the water and it fell down and it fell straight through my sail,” she said. "So just before [launching] I had a hole in the sail. But thank God it didn't influence the racing too much

"I didn't like it. I was like, 'Bloody 470s.' But there's not much I can do about it. This guy gave me some sail tape and I tried to cover it up as good as I can.”

In third in the race, and sitting solidly in second overall was van Acker, who was a little more expansive when asked about the path to success in Race 6.

"I think play the shifts on the first beat and the first reach and the downwind,” she said. "But I could've done a bit better. So not super happy with today, but plenty to play for tomorrow.”

Van Acker is the defending Olympic bronze medalist, but there's a lot of Laser Radial talent in Belgium and she won't know until late spring whether she'll return to the Olympics.

"We have a selection committee that will decide at the end of May or the beginning of June,” she said. "But as I said, I'm not really busy with the selection, just trying to do my best in every race.”

Currently sitting third in the overall standings is defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) who finished 35th, by far her worst race of the regatta. After discarding that finish she is just two points out of second and eight points off the lead.

Paloma Schmidt was the only South American sailor, who had not yet qualified for Rio 2016, to make the Laser Radial gold fleet. As a result, she has qualified Peru in the Laser Radial.

North American sailors from the Cayman Islands, Cuba, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago missed out on the gold fleet as Bermuda's Cecillia Wollman and Mexico's Natalia Montemayor advanced.

Nine points separated them before Thursday's racing but they ended up even on 95 points apiece after the single race. Wollman finished 39th and Montemayor, 40th. Results would lead to suggest some strong tactics coming in to play with three races on Friday to determine who will go to Rio de Janeiro this August.

After sailing a nearly flawless qualifying series, Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) had his first significant bobble of the regatta when he was caught over the line before the gun and didn't return to start correctly, recording a 50-point OCS. As he's able to discard that score, he retains the overall lead, but the margin has narrowed. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is currently second overall after getting a fourth today.

While the Radials started in light breeze, the wind had picked up substantially by the time the Lasers started sailing. Still, the weather was difficult to read.

"I didn't have [a really solid plan for the first beat],” said Bernaz. "I just say, 'OK, let's sail and watch; what you see is what you get.' I was on the right, but when I saw the left gaining, I just go on the left side of the fleet. I was losing a lot and I re-gained what I lost. I was fourth at the top mark, third, then fourth again. It's good to sail in front.”

Bernaz has been on a tear of late, with top-five finishes in his four of his last five major regattas. The lone blip, a 54th at the 2015 Laser World Championships, has knocked his world ranking down to 22nd, but he's sailing like a medal contender at this event.

"It's the year of the Games, some [Olympic selection series] for different countries, so everyone is 100 percent, maybe 110,” he said. "It's a really hard fleet and it's really hard to be consistent. Now we start the finals, so it's the top 49, so it's really hard, really compact.”

Sailing to his fourth second in the last four races, five-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) moved into third in the overall standings.

"The first few races I had bad starts and it was difficult conditions, it was shifty and light, and I just made bad decisions at the beginning of the race,” he said. "I knew I had the speed to do better and the ability to do better. From the third day I started to sail more with the fleet, more consistent, better starts.

"Today was a full-on race, it started to blow very hard just a few minutes before the start and we knew we'd have to be out of trouble, have a clean start, and use the speed and hike hard. It was a tough race. The breeze kept increasing throughout the race. I just sailed clean, sailed a solid race. I'm really happy about that.”

Scheidt won three medals in the Laser class, gold in 1996 and 2004 and silver in 2000 before switching to the Star, where he won silver in 2008 and bronze in 2012. With the Star eliminated from the Olympic roster, he was forced to choose between missing the Rio Olympics or returning to the grueling 14-foot dinghy,

"The goal is to try to do the Olympic Games in my home country,” he said. "Unfortunately the Star is not anymore an Olympic class. I wish it was. It's not easy to come back to the Laser after a certain age. But I'm enjoying it. I'm still having fun out there. I'm still competing at a high level. Of course, it's not easy because physically it's a quite a demanding boat. Right now I'm in a good moment, free of injuries and really looking forward to the next six months.”

He hasn't been as dominant as he was at his peak, when he won eight world championships, but Scheidt is a serious medal threat, and anyone who thinks the pressure of competing in his home country will compromise his performance should check Scheidt's track record. Among other accomplishments, his final Laser world championship was won on Brazilian waters. He knows what to expect, and how to handle it.

"It's going to be a different Olympics with the crowd the expectations, competing in Rio, a place I've sailed all my life, for an Olympic medal,” he said. "It's going to be very special. That's why I'm still doing it. That's the reason why I'm still training hard, pushing hard. To be able to join the Olympics one last time would be a great thing for me.”
Mexico's Yanic Gentry made the gold fleet in the cut and with none of his rivals from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico making it, he has qualified his nation in the Laser.

All of the South American sailors aiming for Rio 2016 are in the silver fleet and no racing was possible on Thursday. As it stands, Venezuela's Jose Gutierrez is 65th on 139 points, Uruguay's Federico Yandian 66th on 140, Ecuador's Matias Dyck on 145 and Colombia's Andrey Quintero 84th on 180.

Published in Olympic

Tricky conditions have got 2016 off to an inauspicious start for Ireland's Rio Olympic sailing team with neither Laser or 49er making the gold fleet cut of the World Sailing Cup in Miami, the first major event of the Olympic year. 

The 49erfx crew of Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey was not able to start due to injury. The Irish Paralympic Sonar crew of John Twomey, Austin O'Caroll and Ian Costelloe are lying seventh from nine.

In the second round of the Irish Laser Radial trial being sailed as part of the Florida–based regatta, the 2020 prospect Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club lies 60th, just one place behind the National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy in the 81–boat fleet. Results after five races indicate both will race in the silver fleet for the balance of the regatta that concludes on Saturday. Murphy will be disappointed at scoring two penalties in the early stages but also with the fact that she was unable to make the top ten in any race, just seventh months out from the Games itself.

A premature start in race nine added to a black flag penalty scored in race two puts Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Belfast Lough in 39th overall from 61 in the mens 49er class. Nine races have been sailed.

Full results are here.

The regatta got off to a flukey start on Monday and Tuesday and although the breeze blew stronger yesterday, Irish boats had a mountain to climb in order to get back into any sort of gold fleet contention. Unfortunately for Team IRL, however, Rio rivals appear to be able to knock in top results in any weather. A case in point is the unstoppable performance of Murphy's London 2012 rival, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who has won all five of her remaining qualifying races to open up a four-point lead. Evi van Acker (BEL) another veteran and fellow Olympic medalist, has won a pair of races herself and was able to discard a black flag disqualification from today to sit second. Defending Olympic gold medalist Lilja Xu (CHN) in third, a point further back.

Had a tough day on the water. Two more days left so will refocus and do my best. On wards & Upwards!Aoife x

Posted by Aoife Hopkins Sailing on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

With qualification completed, the fleet will be split into a gold and silver grouping and winning the races will be that much tougher over the final two days.

The top American in the fleet is Paige Railey, who is currently 17th with 36 points. That's good enough for a 9-point cushion over Ericka Reineke (USA), who is Railey's chief rival for the 2016 Olympic berth in the Radial class. That battle will be an interesting one to watch during the next few days. This event is Part 1 of the two-stage selection series for that class.

The Laser class, one of only two to start the Day three on schedule, sailed a pair of afternoon races. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) won his final race of the day—as with the Radial fleet, the 98-strong Laser fleet has been sailing in two groups for qualification—and has built himself an impressive 16-point lead heading into the gold and silver fleet split. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) sits second with 27 points, but there is a pack of four sailors all within 5 points of the silver-medal position. At the back end of this group is 5-time Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA), who has rebounded from a tough start with three straight second place finishes.

Charlie Buckingam (USA) is the top American in 11th. While he has his sights focused on the top 10—only the top 10 in each class qualify for Saturday's medal race, which will be carried lived on ESPN3—Buckingham has to be comforted by the knowledge that the next American sailor is 20 points behind. As with many of the other classes, this regatta serves as the first part of the selection trails for the U.S. Laser berth in the Rio Olympics.

49er and 49erFX

The 49er qualifying series concluded with three further races on Wednesday ahead of the fleets separating into Gold and Silver for the duration of the World Cup.

Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) advanced to top spot in the 49er, recording an 8-4-3 to leave them on 45 points. The Spanish duo tend to excel in the qualifying series and more times than not, come out at the top of the leaderboard.

When push comes to shove and they race in a top quality Gold fleet they fall down the pack. Six Gold races are ahead of them now to see if they can buck the trend. Carl P Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark of Sweden follow in second and Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) are third.

Defending 49erFX champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) moved up to first after four good races. A pair of seconds, a seventh and a sixth hand them a ten-point advantage over Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN).

Published in Olympic

Irish sailors were tried and tested in a light Miami breeze yesterday with mid fleet results at best for Ireland's Olympic crews. In the mens 49er skiff Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Belfast Lough were 51 from 61. A 'niggling' foot Injury has forced the withdrawal of 49erfx campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey who stayed shoreside in Biscayne Bay. In the women's Radial  Annalise Murphy (36th) continues to stay clear ahead of Aoife Hopkins (47th) in the second round of the womens trial but both Irish single-handers will be happy to see the back of day one in their 60–boat fleet.

Yesterday, was the big start for Olympic and Paralympic sailing in 2016 with 711 sailors afloat.

Laser and Laser Radial

It was a 'head out the boat' kind of day with sailors looking to play the shifts and read the current to advance in large packs of racers. The morning opened with 4-6 knots from the north that slowly swung to the east, coming in at 7 knots and peaking at 10.

Only the Laser fleet completed the scheduled number of races in what was a challenging day for sailors and officials alike. Four days of fleet racing remain ensuring adequate time to catch up on races lost ahead of Saturday's live Medal Races that will be available to view on YouTube worldwide and on ESPN3 in the USA.

Racing resumes this morning at 10:00 local time. Having lost races on Monday, the Race Committee will use the day to catch up on the schedule.

Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg knows the importance of not risking too much during the first few races of the regatta. But he's not afraid of opportunity. So when the opening's presented themselves during the first two races in the Yellow group of the Laser division, he pounced. The reward: a pair of first-place finishes.

"It's obviously an ideal start,” said the lanky Dutchman. "For me it was important not to have very bad races because tricky wind conditions today—light wind [that] could come from any direction—so I didn't want to start with a bad result and that worked out.”

The first race was a wire-to-wire win, by nearly two minutes over the second place boat. The second required some work, and van Schaardenburg isn't afraid to say, a little help from above after struggling off the line. The comeback could be broken into two distinct components. Halfway up the first beat, a favourable shift helped him to get back in touch with the lead group. Then he was able to move from 10th to first on the run.

"Downwind [it was] both being in the pressure and having the opportunity to go quick not having anyone on the back blocking the wind from me,” said van Schaardenburg. "Freedom, pressure and obviously the boatspeed was good.”

Milivoj Dukic of Montenegro also had a strong day with a third and a second, as did van Schaardenburg's countryman, Nicholas Heiner, who stands third with nine points.

With their start pushed back due to the mid-day lull in the breeze, the first of two fleets of Laser Radials didn't get started until after 15:00 local time, and the second didn't cross the line until after 16:00. In both groups a familiar face lead the way around the track. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), the reigning world champion, won the earlier race, beating Emma Plasschaert (BEL) by 18 seconds. In the second group, it was London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Lijia Xu (CHN) crossing the line first, followed by Silvia Zennaro (ITA).

49er and 49erFX

Following two races in the Blue and Yellow 49er fleets, Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) and Portugal's Jorge Lima and Jose Costa are tied on four points after a bullet and a third apiece.

However, the top of the pack could be different. Having won the opening race in the Yellow fleet Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) crossed the finish line of the second thinking they had the perfect start with back to back victories.

Unfortunately, it was not to be as the pair were black flagged as Warrer explained, "We were a little surprised by the current. I think we got caught about a minute, half a minute before. We won the race even though we had a bad start and we sailed well, we're happy about that but it's a shame that we were over the line, that's life. It's important that we sailed well.”

Counting the 32nd the Danes sit in 25th but Warrer and Thomsen won't be disheartened. They know the venue well, taking bronze together in 2015 with Warrer winning gold in 2014 with Peter Lang.

"We like Miami and the shifty stuff as we're used to shifty conditions from back home,” said Warrer.

"It's good to come over here this time of year. We've come from cold, grey and raining in Denmark and Miami is a good place to sail.

"The level is high, it's always like this with a year until the Olympics. Everybody is improving, including ourselves and the level goes up. A lot of boats can win races. You can be punished for even small mistakes.”

Sailing World Cup Miami acts as a Danish qualifier for Rio 2016 but Warrer and Thomsen are left uncontested so will book their spot to the Olympic Games this week.

After a number of years of Danish skiff success, resulting in Warrer winning gold at Beijing 2008 and Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang picking up bronze at London 2012 the lack of strong Danish skiff crews in Miami can be seen as a bit of surprise.

"I guess I scared everybody away,” smiled Warrer. "It's a shame but most of the sailors were my age and stopped, wanting to try something else. We have good young crews coming up but they need one, two or three years more.

"It is a challenge for us as we need to find someone outside of Denmark to train and to push us. We've found that. We are training with the Germans and it's a really good cooperation and good teamwork. It's good for us as they're based in Kiel but it would be easier if we had some Danish crews at our level. Give it two years though and it will come.”

For now, the Danes are focusing on racing in Miami and have four further races on Tuesday that they will use to propel themselves up the leaderboard. The day's other race win went the way of France's Kévin Fischer and Yann Jauvin.

In the 34-boat 49erFX pack, Norwegian twins Ragna and Maia Agerup took the single race win late in the day. They were followed by Danish sisters Maiken Foght and Anne-Julie Schütt.

Four races follow for both fleets on Tuesday. The 49er Blue fleet will start at 10:00, Yellow at 10:20 and the 49erFX at 14:00.

Class leaders:
2.4 Meter (1 race sailed): Bruce Millar, CAN
470 Men (1): Asenathi Jim / Roger Hudson, RSA
470 Women (1): Fernanndo Oliveria / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA
49er Men (2): Jorge Lima / Jose Costa, POR
49er FX Women (2): Ragna Agerup / Maia Agerup, NOR
Finn (1): Jonas Hogh-Christensen, DEN
Laser Men (2): Rutger van Schaardenburg, NED
Laser Radial Women (1): Lijia Xu, CHN
Nacra 17 (2): Mandy Mulder / Coen de Koning, NED
RS:X Men (1): Chunzhuang Liu, CHN
RS:X Women (1): Lillan De Geus, NED
SKUD 18: no results posted
Sonar (1): Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA

Full results here.

Published in Olympic

#Rio2016 - Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern still face a huge funding shortfall in their Rio 2016 campaign, as BelfastLive reports.

Despite launching a raffle over the summer to help raise the money they need to shoulder the costs of training at home and abroad, as well as taking part in international competitions in the months leading up to next summer's Olympics, the Belfast Lough 49er duo are still short some £50,000 (€68,000).

"We get funding from Irish Sports Council and from Sport NI but as you know there were a lot of funding cuts in Sport NI this year," said Seaton, who added that the cuts "hit us quite hard because we are at the elite level and we rely on the funding because in sailing, the equipment costs are massive and with going to Rio and the travelling involved with training, the costs are crazy."

The duo, who are holding another fundraiser, a gala at Carrickfergus Sailing Club, this coming Saturday (24 October), even say they are "rapping on doors" for any sponsorship they can muster.

The news comes as Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins launches her own crowdfunding campaign to support her Rio 2016 bid in the Laser Radial, just months after fellow youth sailor Finn Lynch was moved to put cap in hand for his own Olympic aspirations.

Published in Olympic

#isafupdates –  After a buoyant start for Ireland to the 2015 Olympic sailing circuit in Palma just over a fortnight ago, there was a disappointing performance from Irish Olympic sailors on day one in Hyeres, France this afternoon. All three Irish dinghy campaigns finished at the bottom end of their respective 40–boat fleets at this important round of the ISAF World Cup. Laser Radial star Annalise Murphy from the National Yacht Club posted a 38 and 32 to be 39th overall. Belfast 49er skiff sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern – silver medallists at this regatta last year – took 21 and 26 to lie 35th. The Royal Irish 49erfx ladies crew of Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey scored 36, 23 and 23 in their three opening races to place 32nd overall. Full results are posted HERE. Racing continues tomorrow.

Conditions in Hyères were light throughout the morning but picked up to between six and ten knots in flat seas to ensure tight, tactical racing across five course areas and a high scoring day for many. Stronger breeze, common in Hyères, is expected to return for the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April.

Restricted entries of 40 boats per fleet (that ruled out Irish mens Laser class participation) ensured close competition from the off with Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, multiple World Champions, Volvo Ocean Race winners and America's Cup sailors amongst the athletes so even being invited to race this week in an achievement in itself.

49er and 49erFX

Two of the hottest properties in sailing right now, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), started the defence of their Hyères title in fine fashion with a consistent day on the race course, posting a 2-(9)-3 scoreline.

The Kiwis are tied at the top on five points with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) but the Australians count a discarded 33rd alongside a solid fourth and bullet.

Racing in the 49er was full of ups and downs as the fleet battled a light, shifty breeze. The Kiwis started well in the first bout of the day, coming in second behind John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) but they were left with a few regrets after their ninth, "We're disappointed we dropped a few places in that middle race but it's just one of those things, you've got to take the good with the bad.

"You get on the wrong side of the shifts occasionally and there have been some pretty big ones and in a 40 boat fleet you could get some big scores. We've had a really solid first day and we're just going to chip away and get some more solid ones on the board."

When sailors are interviewed in the boat park one of the most common phrases is 'everyone who is campaigning for Rio is here'. That is certainly the case in the 49er, and the remaining fleets, with the leading teams battling it out from the off. For Burling, the high level competition in Hyères is something he's enjoying, "It's the first time we've raced with 40 good guys on the startline in a fleet. In conditions like today, if you get one shift wrong you pay pretty heavily.

"We're happy to get some good starts and get it working today but that's one of those things that you've got to battle your way through this week. It's great to see all the good guys here with good gear and a lot of training time put into it so it's time to push forward."

Sweden's Victor Bergström and Victor Vasternas enjoyed a strong day on the water, recording three top ten results. They sit in eighth after the opening day but have a solid platform to build on over the next few days.

Men's and Women's 470

Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) enjoy opening days in Hyères. The pair led after day one in 2014 and now top the billing after the opening day at the 2015 edition.

Consistency was king for the Americans in what was a hard day of work on the water, "It was really challenging," commented Provancha. "The breeze was shifting a lot and we had four starts today so two races were abandoned. The Race Committee did a really good job waiting for consistent breeze and fortunately we had two good races."

A fourth and a third gives Haeger and Provancha and five point lead over Brazil's Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan. The Brazilians took the first race win and added an 11th. The day's other race victory was snapped up by Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN). The pair are sixth overall.

The new 40-boat format has suited the Americans who have thrived in facing the best competition from the off. Having led after day one in 2014 they dropped down to third so aren't resting on their laurels, "We're probably one of the most inexperienced teams at the top so we're just plugging away every day and training to get the experience we need so we can perform at the [Olympic] Games. We're taking it a day at a time," added Provancha.

"I think having the top 40 has been great and not having a qualifying series you're racing against the best from the get go and that's a really awesome thing that ISAF are doing. We're looking forward to more racing."

€72,000 is to be distributed across the 12 events on show in Hyères when the medals are decided on Sunday 26 April. On the announcement Provancha concluded, "I think it's a great idea. Obviously for Abu Dhabi there was prize money there and that was awesome. It adds something extra to the competition but we love the racing and regardless of the prize money we're happy to be here.

"People here love sailing and it's great to be around it in Hyères."

There were ups and downs aplenty in the Men's 470 but the top three stayed consistent, posting top scores to set an early marker.

Ferdinand Gerz and Oliver Szymanski (GER) lead on five points, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) follow on six whilst Gabrio Zandon and Andrea Trani (ITA) hold third. The Germans picked up the first race win of the day with Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) taking the second. The Swedes are eighth overall.

Laser and Laser Radial

Gintare Scheidt (LTU) is enjoying her return to competitive sailing and put in a steady showing in the Laser Radial. The Lithuanian has only recently returned to Olympic campaigning and having qualified for Hyères at Trofeo Princesa Sofia, she is going well in the French Riviera.

Scheidt, a Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist, is second overall, three points off Alicia Cebrian (ESP) and is enjoying her time back in the boat, "I wasn't in the top 30 so I had to qualify in Palma. I did well and here I am," she smiled. "It's very nice to sail with the top 40 girls. It's a very high level and it's very interesting.

"It's close to an Olympic format which is very good training and it's a higher level than even the Olympics. Everyone is happy to be sailing here.

"I've come here so many times and for me there are a lot of memories. Every year is different and it's a very special place."

Cebrian tops the leaderboard on six points after a 5-1 with Scheidt behind on nine with a sixth and a third. Belgium's Emma Plasschaert holds third on 12 points.

Anything can happen across the Olympic and Paralympic fleets and when they're competing against the best of the best, form can often be blown out of the window.

With two wins in 2015, ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Germany's Philipp Buhl had a tough time in the Laser. A 19th and 34th sees him placed 29th overall but he's enjoying the high level competition that is present from day one.

"It's different," chuckled Buhl. "It's like gold fleet racing and it's much tighter. It makes it a bit more difficult from the beginning.

"I'm going to like this model – it's much easier for the race committee with one fleet and more comfortable for the sailors. You don't waste days with qualifying where you can't win the regatta, you just make sure you don't lose it there. I like it, so far.

"In addition to that, we have a lot more space here, it's a lot more comfortable," joked Buhl about the space in the boat park.

The Laser is one of the most open Olympic events with any sailor in the fleet capable of causing an upset on their day. Although Buhl is 29th, he's optimistic about the coming days, "I'm not here to try and win again, obviously I will try to but I do not see myself as a favourite after Palma and Miami.

"I was happy with those results but I will try to get in the Medal Race here and try and get into the top five or even a medal and if I do that I'll be very happy."

It's a Croatian 1-2 at the top of the leaderboard with Filip Jurišić and Tonci Stipanovic occupying places one and two. Sam Meech (NZL) is in third. Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) took out the first race win of the day and Jurišić followed up with the second.

Men's and Women's RS:X

It was a day for the Chinese RS:X competitors in Hyères as Aichen Wang in the Men's and Peina Chen in the Women's grabbed an early lead.

Chen's last ISAF Sailing World Cup appearance came in Hyères exactly 12 months ago. Whilst she was out of the top 30, she qualified to compete in the French Riviera after a solid result at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. With a small frame the light breeze in Hyères suited her style and she posted a fifth and a bullet from two races to lead Hayley Chan (HKG) and Laura Linares (ITA) by four points.

In the Men's RS:X, Wang remained at the front of the bunch in both races. A fifth and a third gives him a one point advantage over Juan Manuel Moreno Vega (ESP). Race victories in the Men's RS:X were picked up by Shahar Zubari (ISR) who is fifth and the seventh placed Ivan Pastor (ESP).

Nacra 17

ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne gold medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) had a superb start in the Nacra 17 picking up a 6-1 scoreline. Waterhouse and Darmanin are a team on the rise with World Championship bronze and World Cup gold under their belt from their last two regattas.

They are a point ahead of Renee Groeneveld and Steven Krol (NED). Defending champions Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) took the first race victory of the day but received a scoring penalty in race two. They are 19th overall counting the full 40 points from their penalty but with the discard coming into play after the third race they will look to bounce back up the pack.

French favourites Billy Besson and Marie Riou occupy the final podium spot after the opening day.

Finn

New Zealand's Andrew Murdoch leads the Finn class today after consistent racing gained him two fifth place results. This is the first ISAF Sailing World Cup event that Murdoch has competed in this year and after day one has gained a four point clear lead of Michele Paoletti (ITA) in second place.

Regatta favourite Giles Scott (GBR) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA) also had a great day on the water after claiming first places in both of the two races of the day.

2.4mR

Bjørnar Erikstad got off to a flying start in the 2.4mR class with two clear wins ending the day in first place, five points clear of Helena Lucas (GBR) in second. Erikstad continues to be on consistent form in the 2.4mR, after finishing on the podium at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January.

Rounding off the top three in the 2.4mR class is Bjørnar Erikstad (NOR), Helena Lucas (GBR) in second and Heiko Kroeger (GER) in third.

Sonar

In the Sonar, Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) had a fantastic day on the water and took the early advantage ending the day in first place.

The Australian trio recorded a second and a first to lead on three points. This is the first ISAF Sailing World Cup event that the Australians have competed in this year and if today's results are anything to go by, are definitely ones to watch.

A race victory also went to Bruno Jourdern, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA). The French trio are second overall.

Racing resumes for the all classes on Thursday 23 April at 11:00 local time when sailors will continue to compete for a place on the podium and a chance to claim their share of the €72,000 prize money on Sunday 26 April.

Top three by class:

49er
1. Nathan Outteridge / Iain Jensen, AUS, 5 points
2. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL, 5
3. Nico Delle - Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 7

49erFX
1. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen, DEN, 4
2. Sebesi Lili / Julie Bossard, FRA, 4
3. Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 11

Men's 470
1. Ferdinand Gerz / Oliver Szymanski, GER, 5
2. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO, 6
3. Gabrio Zandona / Andrea Trani, ITA, 10

Women's 470
1. Anne Haeger / Briana Provancha, USA, 7
2. Fernanda Oliveira / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA, 12
3. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR, 13

Laser
1. Filip Jurisic, CRO, 7
2. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 11
3. Sam Meech, NZL, 13

Laser Radial
1. Alicia Cebrian, ESP, 6
2. Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt, LTU, 9
3. Emma Plasschaert, BEL, 13

RS:X Men
1. Aichen Wang, CHN, 8
2. Juan Manuel Moreno Vega, ESP, 9
3. Federico Esposito, ITA, 12

RS:X Women
1. Peina Chen, CHN, 6
2. Hei Man Hayley Victoria Chan, HKG, 10
3. Laura Linares, ITA, 10

Nacra 17
1. Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin, AUS, 7
2. Renee Groeneveld / Steven Krol, NED, 8
3. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA, 11

Finn
1. Andrew Murdoch, NZL, 10
2. Michele Paoletti, ITA, 14
3. Ondrej Teply, CZE, 14

2.4mR
1. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR, 2
2. Helena Lucas, GBR, 7
3. Heiko Kroeger, GER, 8

Sonar
1. Colin Harrison / Jonathan Harris / Russell Boaden, AUS, 3
2. Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA, 6
3. Aleksander Wang-Hansen / Marie Solberg / Per Eugen Kristiansen, NOR, 7

Published in Olympic

#isafworldcup – Ireland will be hoping to repeat last year's silver medal performance when the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères, France starts next week. The Olympic sailing campaigners will be in action with podium results the main target for crews that last year made the gold fleet cut in both the Radial and 49er classes. Unfortunately, this year there will be no Irish mens Laser sailor because under a new rule only the top 30 racers have qualified to compete from the ISAF's world rankings.

Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern took a memorable silver medal last year in the mens skiff class with Annalise Murphy also making inroads at the top of the Laser Radial fleet.

Irish interest is not limited to just the sailors either. Irish international judge, Gordon Davies of Bray, is on the international jury for the ISAF event.

The finest sailing talent on the planet will assemble in Hyères, France from 20-26 April for the next instalment of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Elite level fleets in all ten of the Olympic events will put their skills to the ultimate test with 40 of the world's best in each class. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères marks the first occasion where fleets are decided based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and a qualification regatta.

The world's top 30 sailors from the 2 February 2015 ISAF World Sailing Rankings release were invited to Hyères with the remaining ten receiving their spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères qualification regatta, Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

From now, until 21 April, 600 Olympic sailors in 400 boats and 39 Paralympic sailors in 25 boats will train, prepare and tune up ahead of the first racing day on 22 April. A four day racing series will build up to the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where titles will be won and ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots snapped up.

49er and 49erFX

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) come into ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as the pair to beat in the 49er. Seventeen consecutive wins since their silver medal exploits at London 2012 have solidified their position as the ones to beat. The manner in which their victories have come has been outstanding, in many cases winning with a day to spare and even missing out a day of competition to attend the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Ceremony.

With the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition truly on it would be hard to bet against the Kiwis but their rivals are pushing hard.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) remained in contention with the Kiwis at the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia whilst Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) come into the event full of confidence following their victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) will renew their winning partnership after Jensen sailed with Joel Turner in Miami and they will certainly be in the fray in the French Riviera.

With a packed start line of the world's best 49er talent from day one, the level of competition all the 49er sailors will face will be of the highest quality.

ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will spearhead the 49erFX fleet, aiming to defend the title they won 12 months prior.

The Brazilians won by eight points over Kiwis Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in 2014 and Grael described Hyères as, 'the best week ever'. With the likes of Maloney and Meech, who recently won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta winners Maiken and Anne-Juline Foght Schütt (DEN) and the dangerous Marie Olsen and Ida Marie Nielsen (DEN) and Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) on the startline it's set to be another great week of competition.

Laser and Laser Radial

It will be a who's who of Laser and Laser Radial sailing in Hyères with 40 of the finest one-person dinghy sailors within each fleet.

Such is the nature of both fleets that clear favourites would be hard to determine with a mixture of recent regatta winners in the Laser and the Laser Radial.

On a fine run of form, however, is Belgium's Evi Van Acker who has finished on the podium at the last five regattas she's competed in, winning the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE last November. A veteran of nine previous Olympic class regattas in Hyères the Belgian took her first title on French waters in 2014 and will be back to defend her title.

World #1 and 2014 World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will join the Belgian, renewing their long running rivalry once again. Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) will be firmly in the hunt alongside the London 2012 silver and bronze medallists having beaten them both to gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January.

In the Laser, World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) has had an up and down time in 2015 with an 18th at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and a fifth at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Burton will make a welcomed return to Hyères having won the last two ISAF Sailing World Cup editions on the French waters.

Germany's Philipp Buhl heads into Hyères in fine form with two wins from his last two regattas. Victory at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and Trofeo Princesa Sofia will give him confidence in a fleet that's packed full of some of the finest athletes in the world.

Names such as Matt Wearn (AUS), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Nick Thompson (GBR), Nicholas Heiner (NED), Andy Maloney (NZL), Sam Meech (NZL) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) ensure the fleet is of the highest calibre.

Finn

Giles Scott (GBR) is on a run of nine consecutive Finn regatta victories. His form is impeccable and he will come into Hyères as the man to beat.

Much like Burling and Tuke in the 49er, Scott has won the majority of his regattas by an emphatic margin. Consistently at the top and barely putting a foot wrong Scott has blown his opponents away but Hyères is a regatta gold that does not feature on his mantelpiece.

From four previous appearances, Scott's best result is a second behind compatriot Andrew Mills at the 2013 edition with a seventh coming in 2011, a fourth in 2009 and a 39th in the Laser in 2005. Nonetheless, with an unrivalled run of victories in the Finn, Scott will fancy his chances to add a further gold to his impressive repertoire.

Pieter Jan Postma (NED) won his first ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Hyères in 2014 and will be back to defend his title. Further strong competition will come from World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Ed Wright (GBR) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).

Nacra 17

Throughout the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) and Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) were the dominant trio, sharing the podium on a number of occasions.

Whilst the form guide shows that at least one of the breakaway trio will be on the Hyères podium, their stranglehold has been infiltrated recently with a number of teams making impressions on the fleet.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took a well-deserved bronze at the 2014 ISAF Worlds and followed this up with gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, which also confirmed their place on the 2015 Abu Dhabi Final start line. The pair will be aiming to make an impression in Hyères.

A strong British team will also be on the startline and they will be buoyed by recent successes. Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) finished second at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami whilst John Gimson and Hannah Diamond (GBR) picked up silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Gimson and Diamond are a relatively new Nacra 17 pairing and with their silver, qualified for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.

Men's and Women's RS:X

French sailors will be at the forefront of the Men's and Women's RS:X fleets In Hyères. Julien Bontemps and Charline Picon made it a double French gold at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain and they have continued that form in 2015.

At the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Picon claimed the women's gold whilst Bontemps narrowly missed out on gold in the men's via countback.

On their home waters in Hyères they will want to continue their good form but face strong opposition.

Kiran Badloe (NED) had the beating of Bontemps at Trofeo Princesa Sofia and will head over to Hyères full of confidence. Fellow Dutchman and London 2012 Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberge will be on the startline as will the strong Polish trio of Przemyslaw Miarczynski, Piotr Myszka and Pawel Tarnowski.

With a strong winter training period behind each competitor, the level of competition in the Men's RS:X will be one of the highest ever seen.

Joining Picon in the Women's RS:X fleet will be World #1 Flavia Tartaglini, ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP).

Men's and Women's 470

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will renew their longstanding rivalry in the Women's 470 in Hyères. Ever since their final day winner takes all battle at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, which saw the Kiwis take gold, the pair have battled it out at the front of the pack.

2014 World and European Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will miss out on Hyères. Nonetheless the fleet will feature an abundance of big game contenders such as 2013 Hyères gold medallists Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA), Hélène Defrance and Camille Lecointre (FRA), Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).

In the Men's 470, as with any regatta they attend, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) will be amongst the favourites. Since their partnership formed, they have featured on every ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta podium they have competed at, winning five gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

Most recently Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) pushed the Aussies back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami taking the spoils and they'll be back in the mix in Hyères. Further teams that will be in the hunt in Hyères are Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG), Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO), Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) and Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA).

Paralympic Events

Hyères will feature 18 sailors in the 2.4mR and seven teams in the Sonar.

At the 2014 edition of ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, Heiko Kroger (GER) and Damien Seguin (FRA) had an epic final race winner takes all battle in the 2.4mR. The German came from behind to defeat Seguin and take gold. The rivalry will be renewed in 2015. The 18-boat fleet features a number of leading contenders who will want to come between Kroger and Seguin. London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be in the mix as will her compatriot Megan Pascoe.

Bjorner Erikstad (NOR) won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January and will also fancy his chances in Hyères.

In the Sonar, John Robertson, Steve Thomas and Hannah Stodel (GBR) will return to defend their title. Joining them will be World Cup Miami gold medallists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen as well as 2014 Hyères silver medallists Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).

Team Providence Ireland will be racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères from Wednesday 22 April. Medal Races on Sunday 26 April will bring the regatta to a close.

Published in Olympic

#irl49er – A capsize avoiding a boat in the five minute starting sequence was an unfortunate conclusion to the 2014 European championships for Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in Helsinki yesterday but overall a 19th scored from 28 in the gold fleet and 16th girls and 13th in the European Trophy are results the Royal Irish pair can bank on for important Sports Council funding in 2015. (See results downloadable below in pdf format).

In the men's 49er division, Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished 13th from 28 in the gold fleet. 

The defending European 49er Champions held on to their crowns in both the men's and women's fleets at the Seiko 49er & 49erFX European Championship, which reached a thrilling conclusion yesterday in Helsinki.

Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen went into today's three Grand Final races just a point behind the New Zealanders Alex Maloney and Molly Meech. The Danes looked relaxed but determined and sailed a very solid three races, waiting for the others to make mistakes. With the Theatre Style racing format, principal race officer David Campbell-James set a short course for the top ten 49erFX crews of just 750m from top to bottom, and just 450m wide, each edge of the course limited by boundary lane ropes similar to those seen at a swimming gala.

With the fleet forced into multiple tacks and gybes on the two-lap course, and the wind blowing a shifty, gusty 14 to 18 knots, crisp boathandling and fast decision-making were critical. The Kiwi team reached the top mark of the first race in good shape, in 2nd place behind Jena Mai Hansen and Katia Iversen of Denmark. However Maloney and Meech were unable to bear away, and continued further upwind. "There was a big gust as we arrived at the top mark," explained Maloney, "and we didn't feel we could turn the boat away, so we held on a few moments." It was a critical few seconds that allowed other boats to overtake, and it set the tone for the reigning World Champions who just couldn't quite make things go their way today.

Meanwhile Nielsen and Olsen recovered from a shaky moment to finish 6th in the first race, and then put the hammer down to win the final two races, securing Championship victory. The Brazilian team Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze also finished strongly with two 3rd places, putting them on equal points with the Kiwis. The Brazilians' better finish in the final race gave them the silver medal on countback, relegating the World Champions to the bronze medal position. The top three – Denmark, Brazil, New Zealand – are an exact replica of the medal winners at the 2013 European Championships a year earlier in Aarhus, Denmark.

Asked which European title they had most enjoyed winning, Olsen commented: "It was great winning on home waters last year in Denmark, but the battle was much closer this year, so we're very happy to have defended our title."

Attention then turned to the 49er men, with the reigning World Champions from New Zealand going into the final three races with an 11-point margin over the 2012 Olympic Champions from Australia. Pete Burling and Blair Tuke were fast out of the blocks, taking the lead in the first race. Meanwhile, behind them carnage ensued for Nathan Outteridge and Iain 'Goobs' Jensen. "We had a port-starboard incident with John Pink up the first leg," said Outteridge. "Then down the run Goobs's trapeze wire snapped, we reckon from Pinky's boom nicking the rope earlier." With Jensen in the drink, Outteridge tried to drop the gennaker singlehanded. "My plan was to drop the kite, sail round the leeward gate and pick Goobs up on the way back up the next leg. But I capsized, and all I managed to do was give Goobs 200 metres more of swimming to do." By the time Jensen was back on board with the boat upright, the fleet was long gone. Last place for the Aussies.

The capsize put the Australians into a tight battle for the silver or bronze with the Germans, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel, and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign from Great Britain. Then it went bad for Outteridge again, this time at the windward mark of race 2 as he went round in traffic and with wind shadow from another boat, found himself waterskiing off the back of the boat as Jensen tried to hoist the gennaker. The Australian boat narrowly avoided a capsize but once again was at the back of the fleet. Incredibly the Aussies salvaged a 7th from the race, but a 3rd place for the Kiwis proved sufficient to give them overall victory with a race in hand.

With the gold medal already decided, spectators turned their attention to the three-way fight between Great Britain, Germany and Australia. Once again the Kiwis led the way, winning the race by a big margin. Outteridge sailed a solid race for 2nd place, but the Germans had been too consistent with 3,2,3 – taking the silver medal by just over 2 points from the British, who sneaked the bronze by just 0.6 points from the Australians. The Olympic Champions would leave Helsinki empty-handed. "Oh well, you can't have things go your way all time," said Jensen. "I guess we'll have to do some practice." And practice is what they will need if they're to reclaim the mantle of invincibility from the New Zealanders who have gone unbeaten since taking the Olympic silver medal two years ago at London 2012.

"We're stoked to win," said Tuke. "We loved the racing here, especially the theatre-style racing we did today. It was just awesome sailing." Next stop for the Kiwis and many of the other top teams in the 49er and 49erFX is Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic test regatta next month.

Published in Olympic

#kielewoche – Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey have finshed seventh overall at Kiel Week regatta in Germany their best result so far during their short 2016 Olympic sailing campaign in the womens 49erFX class.

As Afloat reported last night, the Royal Irish pair sailed within the top third of the fleet throughout the week to earn Brewster & Tidey a place in this morning's three medal races. This result was another first for the girls as medal races are reserved only for the top 10 boats in a regatta. They got off to a solid start in the 13 – 17 knot north-westerly finishing 4th in Medal Race 1. They followed this with a 9th and then pulled out a final 5th place to give them seventh overall in the 33–boat fleet.

Meanwhile in the 49er class Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern also notched up a race win on Saturday in the larger 71 boat men's fleet. Replicating the performance of their female counterparts, the ISAF World Cup Silver medallists from Hyeres remained consistently in the top 10 progressing to today's medal races. A 10, 10, 9 put them out of reach of the podium and they finished the event in tenth overall, another solid achievement.

The next event on the horizon for both teams is the 49er & 49erFX Europeans Championships which takes place next month in Helsinki. This will be the final regatta, and final practice run, before the peak event of the season; the combined World Championships and Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifier in Spain this September.

Published in Olympic
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