Irish Sailing Team heads to France for second Olympic Classes regatta of the year
The Irish Sailing Team are back in the thick of competition with the Semaine Olympique Française or French Olympic Week regatta starting in Hyères on the Cote D’Azur on 23 April.
Representing Ireland in the 49er class are Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove, and new team Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan. In the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) is Aoife Hopkins, and Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon in the ILCA 7 (Laser). The Irish Sailing Team is supported by coaches Rory Fitzpatrick, Matt McGovern, and Vasilij Zbogar.
In the last week the team have made the most of training close to the Marseille Olympic venue and now move along the coast to Hyères for the final training sessions.
“Preparations have gone very well for the guys as they had the opportunity to fine tune things identified from the last regatta debrief. Aoife is just returning after COVID so will hope to hit the ground running” said James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director.
This is the first time in two years that racing has been seen in Hyères because of the COVID pandemic, and will mark the first time that France hosts all of the 10 Olympic classes that will be contested at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: iQFOiL (men and women), Kite (men and women), ILCA 7 (men), Laser Radial (women), 49er FX (men and women), Nacra 17 (mixed), and 470 (mixed).
There are 650 registered competitors from more than 50 countries. Racing begins for all classes on Monday 25 April and concludes with medal races on Saturday 30 April.
The Lasers have a maximum of 10 races in total, or two per day over five days, ending in a medal race. Each race lasts approximately one hour. The 49ers have a maximum of 15 races, three on each day over five days, each lasting about 45 minutes, and ending with a medal race on Saturday. The top ten boats in each class will go forward to the medal race.
The Mediterranean waters of Hyères on the Cote D’Azur are renowned for strong easterly or west-north-west (mistral) winds which makes racing highly tactical as well as technical. Hyères also has a varied range of thermal breezes.