Irish sailors complete Sailing World Championships with mixed fortunes
After eight days of competition, the 14 Irish sailors at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Denmark have ended their individual events. In spite of several strong performances including individual race wins, Ireland will have to wait for the next opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After several days of unsettled weather and light winds, near perfect sailing conditions greeted the sailors on the Bay of Aarhus today with competitions concluded in the Laser and Laser Radial Gold fleets as well as the 49er Silver and Bronze fleets where most of the Irish sailors have been competing.
Ireland’s best hope for qualifying for Tokyo at the event was Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club competing in the Men’s Laser event and he ended his ten-race series with a creditable performance when he placed ninth out of 58 boats in the single race that concluded the delayed schedule.
Despite winning Race 7 in the Gold fleet, he missed qualification by about 20 points as he carried two mid-forties results after he was disqualified from Race 8 for an early start.
Wednesday also saw another Gold fleet race victory for Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins that hinted at similar to come as her senior career develops. She discarded the last race of ten-race series today (Thursday) to finish in 50th place overall.
In the Silver and Bronze fleets in three other events for Irish boats, there was a long day afloat as the Men’s 49er skiff event caught up on its weather delayed schedule but was concluded in a four-race day. London and Rio veteran Ryan Seaton of Ballyholme Yacht Club, now paired with Séafra Guilfoyle of the Royal Cork Yacht Club ended their event in 36th place overall following sixth and second places today.
Robert Dickson of Howth Yacht Club with Sean Waddilove from Skerries Sailing Club racing in the Silver fleet placed 53rd overall and best of the Development Academy crews. Sean and Tadgh Donnelly from the National Yacht Club picked places in the overall standings thanks to first and second places on the final day and ended 71st overall. Mark Hassett from Baltimore Sailing Club and Oisin O'Driscoll from Schull Harbour Sailing Club placed 75th out of the 86 entries in the class.
Amongst the single-handers, Liam Glynn from Ballyholme Yacht Club finished in 93rd place overall out of 165 Lasers while Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club was 85th out of 119 Laser Radials. In the Finn class that ended fleet racing yesterday, Baltimore Sailing Club's Fionn Lyden was finished second in the Silver fleet and 47th overall while Donaghadee Sailing Club's Oisín Mcclelland was close behind in 49th out of 90 boats.
"There's no denying our disappointment that Ireland didn't qualify in any of the classes for Tokyo 2020 at this first attempt though this belies just how promising some of the individual performances actually were over the past week," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director. "The average age of the squad is 21 and while we will carefully review our approach to Tokyo, we still expect that these sailors will continue to improve over the coming months."
Follow the full series event news reports are here.
Full results for all fleets here https://aarhus2018.sailing.org/results.