Silver fleet podium tops out European Championship for Irish sailors in Denmark
Ireland's skiff sailors finished off the 49er European Championship on Sunday (10th July 2022) making the best of their silver fleet series and positive learnings in Aarhus, Denmark.
Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club ) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) closed the gap on the silver fleet leaders but ultimately had to accept second place at the end of their 16 race championship.
The pair had been leading their final race when the light breeze filled in from behind bringing the chasing pack up to them and they placed ninth.
Meanwhile, Séafra Guilfoyle with Jonny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club had the best performance of the day in the Silver fleet when they scored back to back third places and held on to their eighth place in that division and 33rd overall.
Both crews will now switch their attention to the 49er world championship scheduled for Halifax, Nova Scotia at the end of August.
"While it is disappointing that we didn't see Gold fleet at this regatta, the experience will stand to them at the Worlds in six weeks," said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "The task over the next week will be to recover and then start the intense build up to the Worlds in Halifax and deliver a strong finish to the year."
With the Paris Olympics just two years away, next Summer will see the first qualification opportunities at the combined Sailing World Championships scheduled for the 10th - 20th August 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands.
A "top-end" windy penultimate day at the 49er Europeans in Aarhus sees Rob and Sean second overall in the Silver fleet after the breeze foreshortened the planned three races.
The Howth and Skerries pair had a swim while in the leading group on the final leg of the first race and dropped to 21st place at the finish before taking third in the last race of the day.
Seafra and Johnny also had a few capsizes as they got plenty of big breeze practice and only dropped one place overall for the day.
Up to three races are planned to finish off the championship on Sunday with all to play for to make the most of the regatta in Silver fleet for both Irish boats.
Rob and Sean made the most of the first day of racing in silver fleet at the 49er European Championships yesterday with a bullet and two second places.
With big breeze off the land, the fleet sailed in flat water close to the shore and the day's result means that the Howth and Skerries duo now enjoy a ten-point lead at the front of their division.
And it was an Irish 1-2 in the first race of the day when Seafra and Johnny took second place which moves them up the overall standings with two days left to sail.
Disappointment for Irish sailors at European Championships in Denmark
The two Irish crews competing at the 49er European Championships in Denmark were unable to qualify for the Gold fleet final series on Thursday (7th July 2022).
Although scoring fifth, 14th and third places on the final day of the qualification series, Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) were unable to bridge the gap to the top 25 boats in the 92-strong fleet.
The pair placed 31st overall and will start the finals series in the Silver fleet on Friday as they continue with the championship series.
“It's a disappointing result for the lads as their season form up to now had been solid," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director. “For sure, it’s a setback but they will need to re-group quickly and get the most from remaining races."
Meanwhile, completing their first year as a new pairing, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan of the Royal Cork YC will also be racing in Silver fleet as they ended the qualification round in 34th overall.
The Cork pair showed promising form in several races including victory in the opening race on Tuesday and will use the next eight races to continue their evolving partnership.
"Today was another day of the 'nearlys and what-ifs' and they (Rob and Sean) got close... but that's the end of their campaign for Gold fleet," said Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's 49er coach. "Seafra and Johnny are getting better and making improvements and, in fairness they're not quite at the quality of the fleet to be putting in consistent results."
Both Irish crews will turn their efforts towards improving ahead of the 49er World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the start of September.
See full results HERE.
Photograph Credit: Peter Brogger
See previous reporting on this event and the ILCA6 European Youth Championships HERE.