DAY 6 Laser Radial World Championship
Ireland qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing regatta ... go here
DAY 5 Laser Radial World Championship
Irish sailors on cusp of Olympic Qualification
With just two races remaining at the Laser Radial World Championships in Sakaiminato, Japan to be sailed on Wednesday, both Irish sailors are within reach of qualification for Tokyo 2020. Ten nation places are being decided this week.
Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) moved up a place after the penultimate day’s racing to 41st place while team-mate Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tiperary) slipped down the standings from 40th to 49th.
However, Hopkins’ overall position equates to fifth nation while Keller’s result would be tenth nation: mathematically, it is still possible that both sailors could slip outside the criteria on the final day.
The Howth sailor was disqualified for premature starting in the opening race of the day though sailed the course amongst the leading boats. She then scored a 25th in the race that followed while using the single discard to drop the earlier disqualification.
Meanwhile, her team-mate from Lough Derg sailed well in the opening stages of both races but suffered on the downwind legs as conditions were the freshest of the series so far.
“Aoife did exactly what she needed to do after the disqualification - get stuck in a get and good result,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach. “Her confidence and momentum are growing with the experience of racing at this level.”
Two final races are scheduled for Wednesday (early-morning Irish time) that will decide the world championship that is currently led by Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom.
Subject to qualification for Tokyo 2020 at this opportunity, a selection trial series will follow next year. A further qualification opportunity also exists for European nations in Genoa in April.
Genoa will also be the qualification opportunity for the men’s single-handed Laser event while Ireland’s skiff sailors will seek qualification for the Olympics at the 49er and 49erFX men and womens’ world championships in New Zealand in November.
DAY 4 Laser Radial World Championship
Penultimate day looms large for Irish Sailing’s goal of Olympic qualification
With just four races remaining at the Laser Radial World Championship in Japan, it is a case of "steady as she goes” for Ireland’s Aisling Keller and Aoife Hopkins.
Both Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) and Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) are placed 40th and 42nd in the Gold fleet final round of the championship that started on Friday .
Hopkins had the stronger day on Monday with two top 30 results while Keller had two 42nd places, one of which she drops using the discard system. Another discard comes into force if the series achieves ten races.
Keller had been in 15th place in the second race but received a 'yellow flag' penalty for excessive propulsion technique and dropped back after taking the mandatory turn.
Conditions on Miho Bay, Sakaiminato have proven tricky for competitors and organisers alike with light, shifty winds delaying racing and causing the qualification series to miss one race.
"They're sailing to a solid method and I'm pleased with their consistency in tricky conditions," said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing's Head Coach. "The plan is the same for the final two days - take one race at a time and follow the process."
DAY 3 Laser Radial World Championship
Two Irish make Gold fleet at Olympic qualification event in Japan
Both Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) and Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) qualified for the Gold fleet final round at the Laser Radial World Championship at Sakaiminato, Japan earlier today (Sunday 21st July 2019).
The event is a qualification regatta for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the women's single-handed event sailed in the Laser Radial dinghy.
After two days of light winds that put the championship behind schedule, the fleet had a protracted third day afloat for eight hours as the organisers staged three races to catch-up on most of the event schedule.
Both Keller and Hopkins had two good results apiece with an eighth and an eleventh respectively that leaves them 29th and 37th overall at the end of the qualification series for the 111-boat event.
A six-race Gold fleet series begins on Monday with two races scheduled daily before concluding the world championship on Wednesday.
A total of ten nation places are available from the world championship for Tokyo with 14 countries in the Gold fleet all seeking one of the quota. Both Keller and Hopkins are currently inside the qualification standings.
"It was a challenging day to be consistent with winds ranging from fresh to moderate to light but flukey at all times," commented Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing's Head Coach. "The plan continues to be to sail one race at a time as a very tough Gold fleet final round lies ahead."
DAY 2 Laser Radial World Championship
Slow but steady progress for Irish sailors at Olympic qualification event in Japan
Both Irish women competing at the Laser Radial World Championships in Sakaiminato, Japan achieved top 20 results earlier today (Saturday 20th July 2019) as the pair aim to secure a place for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) had a 14th place while Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) was 17th in the single race day for their 55-boat Blue flight.
The moderate breeze that the two qualification flights started in proved quite unstable and soon eased to near calm conditions. Plans for a second race were dropped.
A second day of slack winds on Miho Bay has put the qualification round behind schedule and while three races may be attempted on Sunday, the finals series must begin on Monday regardless.
Two races on Sunday would see the series discard come into force and allow Hopkins to drop her 34th place from the opening day to maximise her potential to achieve Gold fleet for the finals.
“We have good momentum now so I’m pretty happy that Aisling and Aoife have settled in,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach. “No process changes are needed and there are still loads of races to go so the plan is to just stick at it.”
Ten nation places for the women’s single-handed dinghy in Tokyo will be decided at this world championship in addition to the 20 already allocated from 2018 events. Either or both Irish sailors must first qualify for Gold fleet on Sunday and score well by Wednesday’s final race to achieve Irish qualification.
DAY 1 Laser Radial World Championship
Shifty conditions for start of Olympic Sailing qualifier in Japan
Near-calm conditions made for a tricky opening day of the Laser Radial World Championship at Sakaiminato, Japan earlier today (Friday 19th July 2019) where Ireland has two sailors aiming to qualify for the women’s single-handed event at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Only one of two races was held and a big shift in wind direction eventually saw the course shortened after three legs.
The first three days of the event are qualification rounds with the 111 entries split into Blue and Green flights. Both Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) and Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) are currently sailing in the Blue group.
Keller sailed well in the shortened race, reaching as high as tenth place with the leaders and consistently held a top 20 position to eventually place 16th for the first day.
The 40-degree wind-shift caught Hopkins on the wrong side of the course and she ended in 34th place with no opportunity to recover places when the race ended.
“Both our sailors are sailing well considering the conditions,” commented Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach. “Aisling’s result is definitely a ‘counter’ but Aoife was unlucky that the race was shortened.”
Although the opening-day of racing faced light conditions, forecasts for Saturday suggest an improvement with around ten knots of breeze expected.
Ten nation places for Tokyo are available at the end of this event following the 20 places already allocated out of a total of 44 berths in the women’s event at the next Olympics.
Follow results HERE - https://2019worlds.laserjapan.org/radial/results/women/
Flags photograph: Thanks to Sakaiminato 2019 Laser Radial World Championship © JUNICHI HIRAI / BULKHEAD magazine JAPAN