6 August 2018
Light winds frustration as 49er skiff qualification round ends at Sailing World Championships
After a week of ideal conditions, light and changeable winds made for difficult race management decisions at the Hempel Sailing World Championships at Aarhus, Denmark today (Monday 6th August 2018) where Ireland had four crews competing in the 49er skiff event. Although three races had been scheduled, only one race was sailed to complete the minimum of six races required for the qualification round.
Following a late-evening decision, hoped-for additional racing using the reserve-day on Tuesday for the 49er fleet will not now take place meaning that Ryan Seaton of Ballyholme Yacht Club with Séafra Guilfoyle from the Royal Cork Yacht Club will not progress to the Gold fleet racing in spite of a strong performance in Monday's fickle winds.
After winning the start of the first race, the duo was second at the first mark and after a shifty final leg, ended the race in sixth place. In the second race of the day, the pair was holding fourth place when the light breeze faded and the race was abandoned.
In the Yellow flight that succeeded in sailing two races, Mark Hassett from Baltimore Sailing Club with Oisin O'Driscoll from Schull Harbour Sailing Club had an eighth place in the second race, their best of the series so far. However, that race has now been discounted because the two other 49er flights were unable to sail a matching seventh race.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees battle commences in the Gold fleet events for the Men’s Laser and Women’s Laser Radial classes following a rest day on Monday. Rio 2016 veteran Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club is the best placed of all the 14 Irish athletes across all classes in Aarhus and is the strongest prospect for qualifying the country for Tokyo 2020.
Lynch has sailed a strong regatta since starting last Friday but with four races remaining over the next two days, his task will be to deliver consistency and repeat his earlier top ten results in what is certain to be a hugely competitive Gold fleet.
In the Women’s Laser Radial event, Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins will be aiming to maximise her first Sailing World Championship Gold fleet experience over the next two days after she successfully qualified on Sunday.
Silver fleet racing across several classes on Tuesday includes Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club in the Laser Radial, Liam Glynn from Ballyholme Yacht Club in the Laser, Fionn Lyden from Baltimore Sailing Club and Oisin Mcclelland from Donaghadee Sailing Club who are both in the Finn event.
In the 49er world championship series that continues on Wednesday, Seaton and Guilfoyle will contest the Silver fleet along with Robert Dickson from Howth Yacht Club sailing with Sean Waddilove from Skerries Sailing Club. Hassett and O'Driscoll will compete in the Bronze fleet along with fellow Irish Sailing Development team-members Sean and Tadgh Donnelly from National Yacht Club.