Today marked a significant achievement for Ireland’s aspiring Olympic 49erFX sailors Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey. The pair had been competing this week at Kiel Week in Germany – one of the largest European Olympic class sailing regattas. Having only teamed up in late 2013 and committing full-time to sailing, the duo have been consistently improving their performances and moving up the ranks of the international fleet. And this week they set three new personal records.
On Saturday the ladies notched up their first ever race win. No mean feat when sailing against 32 other highly experienced teams. Continuing to sail within the top third of the fleet throughout the week earned Brewster & Tidey a place in today’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 which means Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey finish Kiel Week in 7th overall – their best result to date during their Olympic campaign.
Meanwhile in the 49er class Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern from Providence Team IRL also notched up a race win on Saturday in the larger 71 boat men’s fleet. Almost mimicking the performance of their female counterparts, the boys remained consistently in the top 10 progressing them to today’s medal races. However a 10, 10, 9 put them out of reach of the podium and they finish the event in 10th overall.
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.
Performance Director James O’Callaghan remarked "I'm really pleased with the girl’s performance this week. Winning the race and qualifying for the Medal Race Final really shows the potential they have. For both teams it was a great warm up for the Europeans next week".
Having spent the past few days training on the Baltic Sea next to their sailing heroes, the youth performance classes began racing today at Kiel Week. Representing Ireland are three teams across two classes. In the 420 two-person dinghy are Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove and cousins Lizzy & Cara McDowell who are being instructed by Irish Olympian Ross Killian, coach to the ISA 420 Academy. In the 29er class duo Sean Donnelly and Patrick Crosbie will take on the fleet of aspiring 49er sailors; the adult version of the 29er.