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Daily Report on the 49er Olympic Qualifiers in Lanzarote

Daily Report on the 49er Olympic Qualifiers in Lanzarote


Day 6 ~ 26 March

Irish Sailing Team qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics

In a thrilling final day at the 49er Olympic Qualifier in Lanzarote, Robert Dickson with Sean Waddilove have qualified Ireland for the Tokyo Olympics. They finished the regatta in style with a first in the medal race and the bronze medal overall.

Ireland's other team of double Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle placed 15th this morning and were unable to qualify the medal race along with three Italian contenders.

James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Directed commented: "The whole team have all worked really hard preparing for the Tokyo Olympics and qualifying today is a really important step, and a milestone for Rob and Sean. It’s a bittersweet feeling for Ryan and Seafra, as they had hoped to win the nomination, but without these two boats working as a team Ireland would have had no chance securing the last available Olympic place. The result is proof positive of our sailing programme supported by Sport Ireland - today demonstrates what is possible when you invest and plan long-term. In addition, the Irish Sailing Foundation funded the Performance HQ which played a vital role in preparing the team for today. Qualification has given the whole team a lift and it's some good news for our fantastic support base at home in Ireland".

Pics by David Branigan @Oceansport

 

Day 5 ~ 25 March 2021

Dickson and Waddilove earn place in medal race final at Olympic qualifier in Lanzarote

Ireland moved a step closer to securing a place at the Tokyo Olympics today (Thursday 25th March 2021) as the 49er Spring Championship in Lanzarote reaches its closing stages.

Olympic hopefuls Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) again held on to their third overall place in the Gold fleet though sailed three more conservative races.

The Dublin crew were aiming to avoid a repeat of their previous two race disqualifications for early starting with 13-11-8 scored for the day, their first time in this regatta that they had placed outside the top ten.

Crucially, their results assure them of a place in Friday afternoon’s medal race final that follows the final fleet race in the morning.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s other crew are also hoping to reach the medal race final as Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had a 18-16-4 for the day.  The pair dropped to eleventh overall and Friday’s single fleet race will be an all or nothing attempt to place at the front of the fleet.

Belgium and Italy remain strong contenders for the single remaining place at Tokyo 2021 with all needing concerted efforts to overtake Dickson and Waddilove who have led these stakes since the start of the week.

“Rob and Sean made the correct call to take a conservative approach to the day’s racing, striking a good balance between scoring well and not risking their points advantage,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “The goal at this event remains Olympic qualification and that will inform strategy; whether or not they achieve a podium result this week is irrelevant."

The single fleet race for the 49er class will be sailed in the morning before the boats return to Playa Blanca.  The top ten crews will then return to sea in the afternoon for the short medal race that counts for double points.

 

Day 4 ~ 24 March 2021

Irish boats hold steady in Gold fleet at Olympic qualifier in Lanzarote

In a dramatic opening day of Gold fleet racing (Wednesday 24th March 2021) at the 49er Spring Championship in Lanzarote, Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) held on to their third overall place in their quest to qualify Ireland for Tokyo 2020.

The Dublin crew opened with a third place followed by an impressive race win.  In a repeat of Tuesday’s form, the pair were heading for a third top three result but were again disqualified for being fractionally over the line at the start.

Ireland’s other crew also ended their Gold fleet opener by holding their tenth place overall as Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had a 13-11-14 for the day.

In the critical Tokyo 2020 qualification race where a single nation place remains to be decided at this event, Ireland’s two boats in the top ten remain under threat from Italian boats in 12th, 15th and 16th places while Belgium hold 14th place.

Thursdays’ Gold fleet series again features three races each day before a single fleet race on Friday to decide the top ten boats for the medal race final.

“Gold fleet racing is full of swings and roundabouts and nothing can be taken as assured until the final race ends,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “As predicted at the start of the week, this series is going to go down to the wire on Friday.”

 

DAY 3 ~ 23 March 2021

Both Irish crews through to Gold fleet at Olympic qualifier in Lanzarote

Two race wins on today (Tuesday 23rd March 2021) for Ireland’s Olympic 49er skiff hopefuls Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) have moved the pair into third overall ahead of racing in the Gold fleet series at the Spring Championship off Lanzarote.

The Dublin crew were heading for a top three result in their second race of the day but were disqualified for being fractionally over the line at the start.

However, it was the opening race of the day that offered the biggest thrill for the Irish team as Dickson and Waddilove were chased around the course by team-mates Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) who scored two second places plus a tenth in their best day of the series.  The Bangor/Cork pairing moved from 17th to tenth overall and also qualified for the Gold fleet.

Racing was delayed briefly this morning waiting for wind to arrive which it did in defiance of forecasts of a light day as conditions built to ideal racing weather with a gentle Atlantic swell.

In the critical Tokyo 2020 qualification race where a single nation place remains to be decided at this event, the original field of six countries has now narrowed to three as Ireland face Belgium and Italy in the contest for the final slot.

Wednesday and Thursdays’ Gold fleet series features three races each day before a single fleet race on Friday to decide the top ten boats for the medal race final.

“Both Irish crews showed their capabilities on the water and in the results today with well deserved places in the Gold fleet ,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “Two top three results for Ryan and Seafrá have got them into the top ten where they can build further towards Friday’s finale - this event will come down to the wire!”

 

DAY 2 ~ 22 March 2021

Strong Irish start to Olympic qualifier in Lanzarote

Sporting their yellow overnight leaders’ tops, Ireland’s Olympic 49er skiff hopefuls Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)  had another day of top ten results at the Spring Championship off Lanzarote today (Monday 22nd March 2021).

Racing on a more sheltered course area closer to Lanzarote’s mountains, lighter winds made for a tactically challenging day with the Dublin pair placing 8-6-8 for the three race day and are placed fifth overall in the 44-strong event.

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had an 12-12-5 for the day in the same 21-boat flight and are placed 17th overall.  The pair were unlucky not to get fifth place in the second race of the day when their gennaker sail jammed at a mark rounding.

Tuesday’s programme calls for three further qualification races to decide the Gold and Silver fleet splits for the finals series before the medal race on Friday (26th March).

“It was great to see Rob and Seán launching this morning wearing their yellow jerseys signifying the overall lead,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “It was a hard day to be consistent as Ryan and Séafra can attest as they were in the top five in all three races.  Their results don’t fully reflect their performance but they’ll still be confident at this early stage of the regatta.”

A single nation place remains for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo with at least four other nations in contention this week.  Rio 2016 Silver medalist Annalise Murphy is currently the only confirmed sailor for Tokyo while the Laser Men’s final qualification event takes place in Portugal next month.

 

DAY 1 ~ 21 March 2021

Strong Irish start to Olympic qualifier in Lanzarote

After 13 months without full-strength competition, Ireland’s Olympic 49er skiff hopefuls made a strong start to the Spring Championship off Lanzarote earlier today (Sunday 21st March 2021).

Former World Under 23 Gold medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) topped the Day 1 leader-board as the qualification round started with three races in which the Dublin pairing delivered a 3-3-1 result.

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had an 11-8-8 for the day in the same 21-boat flight.

Conditions off Playa Blanca in the straits between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura were very unpredictable in the fresh trade-wind conditions with added ocean swell.

A single nation place remains for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo with at least four other nations in contention this week.  Rio 2016 Silver medalist Annalise Murphy is currently the only confirmed sailor for Tokyo while the Laser Men’s final qualification event takes place in Portugal next month.

“It was very tricky with the wind coming off the mountains so a ‘head out of the boat’ day but all-in-all, a great start to the regatta,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “There’s a long way to go in this regatta but we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

Three days of qualification races will decide the split for Gold and Silver fleets on Wednesday that will go on to decide the medal race final on Friday (26th March).

Description image of Daily Report on the 49er Olympic Qualifiers in Lanzarote
  • Photography: David Branigan Ocean Sport