Determined Irish sailors look to World Championship debrief
Following last week's disappointing outcome to the 49er World Championship in Nova Scotia where both crews missed Gold fleet qualification, the team is looking to debrief the event and remedy their performance gaps.
Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) finished seventh in the Silver fleet (32nd overall) while team-mates Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) were 18th in (42nd overall) and included a race win on the final day.
Rest and recovery protocols, performance analysis and personal time will comprise the coming weeks before the final event of the season.
Both boats will compete in the test event at The Hague at the end of the month in preparation for next Summer's combined World Sailing Championships, the most intensive regatta in their programme apart from the Olympic Games.
However, rather than treat the forthcoming series as a 'peak' regatta, the emphasis will be on familiarisation especially given the significant tides in the area.
"Part of the debrief will be about knowing what the game-plan is and sticking to it (once) on the water, " commented Matt McGovern, 49er coach with Irish Sailing. "I don't think we were quite ruthless enough on a couple of the days."
There were also boat speed issues with Dickson and Waddilove that McGovern described as "quite unusual" and there'll be a comprehensive analysis of the data that each competitor produces during the regatta to find the likely cause.
McGovern paid tribute to their training partners and overall winners, Bart Lambriex with Floris Van de Werken of the Netherlands who retained their world title.
"Every day that they've been on the water, we've been there too and have been a part of that," he said. "I have to say that my guys have been as good and at times better. But when it comes to the racing, executing a plan and staying consistent, the Dutch guys have done an absolutely fantastic job of it."
Consistency is a point echoed by Guilfoyle in his look-back over the week.
"We're quite happy with how we improved throughout the week but in future we need to make sure that happens at the start of the event."
After the familiarisation event in the Hague, both teams will undergo intensive winter training camps before the first major competition of the 2023 season at the Princess Sofia World Cup of Sailing regatta in Mallorca in March.
DAY 3 Update, Friday September 2nd 2022
Irish sailors miss out on Gold fleet qualification at 49er World championships
In a disappointing twist to the qualification round of the 49er World Championships today (Nova Scotia, Canada Friday 2nd September 2022) both of Ireland's crews failed to make the Gold fleet at the event halfway stage.
Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) ended the eight race series in 29th place overall.
A second place, their best of the series in the final qualification race bounced them up the ranks to within ten points of making Gold fleet.
Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) also had their best result with a 12th place in the same race. While they kept their consistency of top 20 finishes, they otherwise counted mostly high teen results which were insufficient to make the breakthrough and they placed 37th overall.
"It's been such and up and down day for so many boats, people just don't know what is consistent (in these wind conditions)" commented Matt McGovern, 49er coach with Irish Sailing. "You have to accept that you're not going to get it right all the time and not let it hamper your confidence."
Both Irish crews will continue the championship competing in the Silver fleet with their final race scheduled for Monday evening (Irish time).
"For sure, it’s not the outcome we were looking for. It’s hugely disappointing for both crews given the work they put it in," said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "As per protocol we will review this peak event which will point towards the work to be done over the winter."
Racing continues in both Gold and Silver fleets with three races daily over the weekend before the final on Monday.
The top ten boats from Gold fleet will sail a short medal race final to decide the podium with Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken currently poised to defend their 2021 world title.
Day 2 Update, Thursday 1 September 2022
Perfect conditions for second day of 49er World Championships in Canada
Following Wednesday's stormy start to the series, perfect conditions graced St. Margaret's Bay in Nova Scotia as three more races in the 49er World Championship qualification round were sailed with mixed fortunes for the two Irish crews.
Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had their best result so far in the event with an eighth place in the second race of the day while also scoring a 13th and 16th places in their Blue flight of 30 boats.
Team-mates Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) have sailed a consistent series so far counting a 14th and 15th for Wednesday plus their 16th from the breezy opening day.
However, both Irish crews face a stiff challenge on Friday for the final day of the qualification round that decides the top 25 places in Gold fleet. Dickson and Waddilove are in 34th place while Guilfoyle and Durcan are four places behind in 38th.
Yet, the competition remains wide open and the overall standings are slightly deceptive. The cut-off of 25th place is just a handful of points away with at least three races remaining to decide Gold fleet.
Also notable is the impact of Wednesday's weather hit single opening race that has several past champions and Olympic medallists facing an uphill battles to the top ranks ahead of the final round that begins on Saturday.
"There's no disguising the task both our crews will face in Friday's racing but there is a clear route into Gold fleet and even the overall championship," commented James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "Rob and Sean have delivered such turnarounds in previous regattas while Seafra and Johnny are also capable of delivering their pre-event goals."
Thursday's conditions featured clear skies and a fresh onshore breeze, a stark contrast to Wednesday when the short sea-state almost exactly matched the length of the 49er skiff causing the majority of both Yellow and Blue fleets to pitchpole capsize at various times in the single, brief race.
The year's World Championship is a vital staging-point ahead of next Summer's combined World Sailing Championships for all the Olympic classes that will be the first qualification opportunity for Paris 2024.
Day 1 Update, Wednesday 31 August 2022
Wild conditions curtail opening race schedule at 49er World Championships in Canada.
Wet and wild conditions forced organisers of the 49er World Championships in Nova Scotia to curtail the opening day of racing when a weather front passed over the racing area on St. Margaret's Bay.
Ireland's two boats had made good starts to the first race in the qualification round of the Blue fleet.
Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) rounded the first mark in second place.
Team-mates Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) were close behind in fifth place just as the wind increased in strength.
Dickson and Waddilove hoisted their spinnaker but buried the front of their boat into the wave ahead and spectacularly pitch-poled forward and capsized.
It was a portent of worse to come for the fleet as successive capsizes followed with few boats escaping a swim.
Guilfoyle and Durcan held their nerve for the two rounds of the course until their final leg to the finishing-line when they too lost control and dived into the short but steep waves just metres from the finish.
The pair did well to recover their boat and sail backwards across the finishing-line just as the race committee signalled an end to racing for the day.
The Cork crew placed 16th while the Dublin duo were one place behind.
"I've been getting beaten-up all last winter so managed to escape injury today," commented Durcan. "It was pretty full-on and fun but definitely at the upper limit of what 49ers can sail in."
Conditions were expected to ease overnight and extra races are planned for Thursday to catch-up the series.
Irish crews chasing Gold fleet results at 49er World Championships in Canada
After several weeks of balmy conditions, this week's 49er World Championship series in Nova Scotia (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 27th August to 5th September 2022) is set for fast opening day conditions as two Irish crews go into action in a strong international field.
Tokyo 2020 veterans Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) will be chasing their full potential looking towards next Summer's first qualification opportunity for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) from Crosshaven will mark their first full year of campaigning together in the class and have already recorded some impressive individual race results.
Racing gets underway on Wednesday 31st August with the first three contests of a scheduled nine-race qualification round to determine the split for Gold fleet over three days.
A further three days of racing for the final series begins on Saturday with the top ten boats going forward for a single medal race on Monday to decide the podium and world title for 2022.
Almost 24 nations will be represented in this Olympic discipline though shipping problems have been widespread including for the two crews from Dublin and Cork who received their boats later than planned.
"Rob and Sean will be hoping to fight back to their regular form after the Europeans," commented Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's 49er coach. "They haven't really favoured the light stuff but they've been doing really well on this in training. If they can get a good start to the regatta in the first few days and create a buffer I'd say it'll go very well."
The lights airs dominated European championships in Aarhus, Denmark two months saw both Irish boats place outside the Gold fleet in contrast to earlier form of regular top ten results including podium places for the Dublin boat.
"For Seafra and Johnny, they've had a few consistency issues with boatspeed which they've been working on and improved a lot over the past few months. A Gold fleet final place would be a great result for them," said McGovern.
"We're expecting a wet and windy start to the event which is different to the pre-event training. After that, it'll be back to light winds but with some (days) direction from the south which has proven very steady but other with the tree-lined shores either side, it will be very shifty."
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 3pm (Irish time) daily though will be subject to local wind conditions on St. Margaret's Bay.
Event information and results are available HERE