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Follow the 49er Olympic Sailing qualifier in New Zealand

Follow the 49er Olympic Sailing qualifier in New Zealand


8 Dec

Olympic qualification proves elusive for our 49er teams in New Zealand

Qualification hopes for our two Irish crews aiming for a place at the Tokyo Olympics now rest on the Sailing World Cup series in Genoa in April following the conclusion of the 49er World Championship in New Zealand today (Sunday 8th December 2019).

Four European countries were selected this week at the event that was won by multiple Olympic and world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand.

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) ended the Gold fleet series in 22nd place overall in their best ever performance at senior level.  Highlights of the week for the Dublin pair were winning the opening race in the qualification round and a day of top ten results in the Gold fleet.

"We're delighted because we put in a lot of hard work at the Irish Sailing Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire before coming out here," said Waddilove.  "This is a huge confidence boost, there's no reason we can't be back in the Gold fleet again."

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) didn't make the Gold fleet after losing out on a three-way tie-break on Thursday and sailed the remainder of the 17-race series in the Silver group.

"We're awfully disappointed with how our regatta turned out but very happy to see the young guys make Gold fleet," said Seaton.  "But we know what we have to work to improve and it's not boat-speed - more racing experience will allow us to develop roles and better communication between us; we need to stick to our processes on board."

Spain, Austria, The Netherlands and Poland took the four country qualification places available in New Zealand.  One remaining European country place will be decided in Genoa in April with Ireland, Belgium and Italy all likely to be leading contenders for the final place.  The Irish representative will be decided by whichever crew qualifies the country.

"This has been a rollercoaster week of great performances and disappointment but heartening too as we clearly have great potential in our squad," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "Genoa will still be a dogfight to qualify as it is a notoriously light airs and shifty venue.  This could still suit an underdog but Ireland remains in contention for a place in Tokyo."

You can read the full results here: https://49er.org/event/2019-world-championship/#49erresults

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7 Dec

Gold fleet top ten race results for Irish crew at world championship and Olympic qualifier in New Zealand

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) unlocked their potential at the 49er World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand with three top ten race results in the event Gold fleet today (Saturday 7th September 2019).

The pair counted a seventh and a tenth are were heading for a race win in the third race when they were pipped into second place by multiple world and Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who now lead the regatta.

Dickson and Waddilove move from 25th overall to 19th after the day with just two races remaining to consolidate their standing.

"This has been a hugely rewarding day and phenomenal result considering Rob and Sean are racing at Senior level Gold fleet for the first time this week," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "Olympic qualification should not over shadow their performance but today is a good indicator for the future, possibly even the near future."

Racing in the Silver fleet, double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) overcame their disappointment from Thursday counting two top ten places and a 16th for the day.

Racing concludes on Sunday with two races expected in Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets while the top ten boats will sail a medal race to decide the podium.

See overall results here.

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6 Dec

First taste of Gold fleet for Irish crew at world championship and Olympic qualifier in New Zealand

As the 49er World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand moved into its finals phase today, World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had their first taste of senior level Gold fleet competition.

The pair counted two 20th places for Friday's racing to place 24th overall with two full days of racing to go.

"After a great qualifying series, the lads have been fully immersed with the world's best sailors and are learning loads," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "It was an enjoyable first day in the senior Gold fleet and hopefully they can build on this over the weekend."

After narrowly missing out on a Gold fleet place, double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC), continue the series in the Silver fleet where they count two top 20 results from day four of the competition.

Racing continues on Saturday and Sunday with the final series in Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets.  Five races remain leading to a medal race final for the top ten boats.  Eleven nations are already qualified for Tokyo with four further berths to be decided this week.

See overall results here.

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5 Dec

One Irish crew through to Gold fleet at world championship and Olympic qualifier in New Zealand

Following a nine race qualification round at the 49er World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand today, World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) have qualified for the event Gold fleet.

In a reversal of fortune for double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC), the pair missed a Gold fleet place in a three-way tie-break for 25th place and will sail the remainder of the series in the Silver fleet.

Dickson and Waddilove remain in the hunt for one of four Tokyo 2020 Olympic nation places available this week, only their third appearance at a senior level world championship.

"Regardless of where Rob and Sean finish, they've achieved a personal best and have had a great regatta," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "We're still in the fight and the good news is that there's strength and depth in the squad."

Seaton and Guilfoyle started the third day of racing with a sixth place in their flight, repeating their consistency from Wednesday.  A dip in form followed with an 18th in the penultimate race.  Starting with the leaders for race nine, an incident at the first turning-mark meant taking a penalty and they lost ten places to finish 18th once more.

"There's just no room for error and they had an error," said O'Callaghan.  "Ryan and Séafra are very disappointed but they accept that it's a fine margin at this level and that they missed the cut for Gold fleet."

Racing continues on Friday with the final series in Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets leading to a medal race final for the top ten boats.  Eleven nations are already qualified for Tokyo with four more countries to be decided this week.

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4 Dec 2019

Full day of racing at world championship and Olympic qualifier for Irish sailors in New Zealand

Consistent form including three top ten results was delivered by double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC at the 49er World Championships in New Zealand this morning (Irish time) where four nation places for Tokyo 2020 are at stake.

After storms disrupted the opening day's schedule on Tuesday, an extra race was sailed on the course area close to Rangitoto Island.

Seaton and Guilfoyle moved up the rankings to 18th overall with three races remaining on Thursday to decide the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleet splits for the 89 crews representing 30 countries.

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) followed up on their opening race win with a third place and lie 27th overall, currently just outside the cut-off for Gold fleet but with a third day of racing to decide the split.

"Ryan and Séafra are achieving the consistency we have seen in recent months including a top ten finish at the Olympic venue just two months ago so they are getting close to their goal," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "For Rob and Sean, chipping in top three results confirms their potential and augurs well at this early stage of their senior level career."

Racing continues on Thursday with three more qualifying races to decide Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets.  A further nine races are then scheduled including Sunday leading to a medal race final for the top ten boats.  Eleven nations are already qualified for Tokyo with four further berths to be decided this week.

See overall results here.

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3 Dec 2019

Race win starts world championship and Olympic qualifier for Irish sailors in New Zealand

Racing got underway at the 49er World Championships in New Zealand this morning (Irish time) where two Irish crews are aiming to qualify Ireland for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson from Howth YC and Sean Waddilove from Skerries Sailing Club opened the 20-race series with a race win on Auckland harbour where high winds have delayed the racing schedule.

The pair went on to place 12th in the second race of the day.

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme Yacht Club with crew Séafra Guilfoyle from the Royal Cork YC had an eleventh place in their first race in a separate flight of 30 boats.

They followed this with a seventh place in race two before racing was abandoned.

Organisers had to wait for a weather front to clear the racing area causing a six-hour wait for the 89 crews representing 30 countries and day two of racing will begin one hour earlier on Wednesday to catch-up on the lost programme.

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2 Dec 2019

Olympic Sailing qualifier to begin in New Zealand

Irish sailors start a six-day world championship series in New Zealand when racing at the 49er world championship gets underway tonight (Irish time).

Two crews are competing in an 89-strong field representing 30 countries with four places at next year’s Tokyo Olympics to be decided.

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme Yacht Club with crew Séafra Guilfoyle from the Royal Cork YC are probably Ireland’s best prospect on the back of steadily improving performances this year including a top ten finish at the Olympic venue in September.

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson from Howth YC and Sean Waddilove from Skerries Sailing Club are both at the start of their senior career and will be aiming for an overall result inside the top half of the fleet this week.

Breezy conditions on Auckland Harbour on Monday are expected to continue for the opening races with three 30-minute tests daily until Sunday's finals and medal race.

Picture thanks to @sailingenergy - Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson practice sail in New Zealand