​​​​​​​Final update: Injury concerns end French Olympic Week

​​​​​​​Final update: Injury concerns end French Olympic Week

Final update: Injury concerns end French Olympic Week (Friday 28 April 2023)

After a week of highs and lows at the French Olympic Week in Hyères, the Irish Sailing squad are returning home with firm resolve ahead of the main season ahead.

The breezy start to the week with full Mistral wind conditions would normally have seen strong results based on past events. However, two of the three boats were carrying illness and injury concerns that affected performance and ultimately led to early withdrawal from the regatta.

"Although not a peak regatta by any means, we have come to expect strong results from our key sailors in large international events such as Hyères ," commented James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.  "In the final analysis, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; for sure there are work-ons but there are positives too."

ILCA 7 single-hander Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) secured a place in Gold fleet despite carrying a persistent wrist injury for the past month which had an impact during the demanding conditions of the first two days.

Once conditions eased on Wednesday, he returned to better form and was set-up for a race win but for a black flag disqualification which used up his discard.  He competed in Gold fleet but didn't finish the series on Friday when he suffered further inflammation of his injury and he withdrew from further competition.

It was a similar situation for 49er crew of Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) with the Howth sailor suffering from the after effects of a viral illness.  With proven past performance in breezier weather, once conditions eased the pair delivered a third place and a tenth but ultimately opted to withdraw from the regatta's Silver fleet.

Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) continued to make progress in the 49er class and while they didn't reach the cut for Gold fleet, the pair delivered strong results in the Silver fleet making for an enjoyable end to the week where they placed 35th overall.

"Illness and injury are major factors in any sport and have significant bearings on performance," said O'Callaghan.  "Our immediate priorities will now be recovery and rehab then straight into venue preparations for the season highlight with the World Sailing Championships in August."


Day 4 Update: Silver lining for Cork pair at French Olympic Sailing Week (Thursday 27 April 2023)

After the disappointment of missing out on Gold fleet at French Olympic Sailing Week, Seáfra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) had a good outing in the 49er Silver fleet today 

The Crosshaven pair ended Day 4 of the regatta with happy faces after scoring a second and a seventh in the weather foreshortened day in the 49er skiff event.

Their second race result was all the more creditable as they were squeezed off the starting-line at 30 seconds to go before quickly behind the starters to get clear of a pile-up of boats struggling in the light conditions.

By the first mark rounding, they were in 20th place but working their way up the fleet.  Seventh was a solid outcome for them which boosted their placing to fifth in Silver fleet with more race scheduled for Friday.

Ireland's second 49er crew of Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) withdrew from the event to concentrate on the Howth sailor's recovery from a viral infection that affected their performance early on in the event.

Meanwhile, in the ILCA7 Men's single-handed event Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) also had a solid day in Gold fleet to improve his overnight position from 44th to 36th overall.

The Carlow sailor had a weighty 28th in the opening race of the day but was in more familiar territory in the afternoon with an eleventh place.  Two more races are scheduled for Friday to conclude fleet racing but Lynch will be unable to win a place in Saturday's medal race final.

Pic by David Branigan, Oceansport

To follow the competition and results: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/


Day 3 Update: Lynch secures Gold fleet place as best outcome for French Olympic Sailing Week (Wednesday 26 April 2023)

An easing of conditions saw Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) regain some of his better form on the third day of French Olympic Sailing Week (Hyerés, Cote d'Azur) and the conclusion of the qualifying series.

The Carlow sailor was rewarded with a place in the Gold fleet for the next two days though his score is unlikely to see him reach Saturday's medal race final.

A disqualification for early-starting in Wednesday's delayed opening race had seemed set to scupper his Gold fleet chances as he match-raced the leading boats to win the race.  He discovered afterwards that he had incurred the maximum points penalty which he then used the single discard to drop.

In contrast to the opening two days when Mistral winds gusted to Near Gale force, the light winds of Day 3 proved easier for Lynch to manage with his wrist injury that he has been carrying for the past month.

"He's made Gold fleet and there are still four races so everything is open but the Black Flag makes it very difficult as there's only one discard," commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser Coach.  "We going to treat this regatta as a training event and focussing on the areas that we need to improve on."

Meanwhile, the lighter conditions also delayed racing for the 49er skiff event but saw much improved form from the two Irish crews, albeit too late to secure Gold fleet.

Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) took third place in their opening race of the day.  A tenth place followed in their second race though only after they lost a few places on the second last leg of the course.

"The first race was very tough, very hard to know where the wind was going to come from and settle in but the boys did really well, did a fantastic job even though there were a lot of position changes throughout the race," commented Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's 49er coach.  "Rob has dealt with this like a champion all week despite being unwell - he's made the most of it."

Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) topped of their qualification round with a fourth place but only after a weighty 21st in the opening race of the day.  A collision at the start of the race left them playing catch-up from the outset.

Fleet racing for Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions is scheduled for the next two days with light easterly breezes predicted.

To follow the competition and results: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/

Pic by David Branigan/Oceansport


Day 2 update: Mistral winds blow to Irish hopes at French Olympic Sailing Week (Tuesday 25 April 2023)

A second day of strong conditions at the French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyères proved exceptionally challenging for the three Irish crews competing.

Near Gale force 7 conditions saw the 49er skiff series get underway after Monday's schedule was cancelled due to similar conditions.

Still recovering from a viral infection, Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) scored a 16th in the opening race before improving with a tenth just as conditions worsened.

Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) were on track for a top six result in the second when they capsized close to the finish.  The quickly righted themselves and went on to place 15th.

However, in the third race of the day, with gusts at their strongest only six boats in the Red flight successfully finished inside the time limit as all boats suffered capsizes at some stage in the high-speed race.

Dickson injured his wrist while righting their boat, adding to his recovery concerns.

"In some respects, it was an almost expected tough day as Rob has been unwell for a while," commented Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's 49er coach.  "We have one eye on this regatta but one eye long-term on a big month ahead with a regatta at the worlds venue so we don't want him to be doing too much recovery there."

"We always went out to do one race at a time and see how his body responded but (these) were definitely not the conditions we wanted to do that in."

Meanwhile, on the ILCA 7 men's single-handed course, Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) had two top 20 results in his 52-boat flight seeking Gold fleet qualification.  His 18th and 19th places for the day are below his form but he also dealing with a persistent wrist injury for the past month.

Conditions at Hyères are predicted to ease from Wednesday onwards bringing respite and opportunity to improve on current standings in the qualification rounds.

Pic by David Branigan/Oceansport


Day 1 update: Steady start for Lynch as Mistral wind opens French Olympic Sailing Week (Monday 24 April 2023)

High winds were the dominant force on the opening day of French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyerés, Cote d'Azur, where Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) was the only Irish sailor in action, competing in the ILCA 7 event.

The offshore wind gusting to near gale force at times proved very shifty on the race course close to Cap de L'Esteral and there are predictions of similar and possibly stronger conditions for Tuesday.

Racing for the 49er skiff fleet was cancelled entirely without venturing afloat.

Lynch struggled getting his upwind speed right for the conditions and picking the correct end of the starting-line was essential.

“I didn’t feel super-good to be honest, I was struggling a lot, the conditions were very, very hard but hopefully better performance by me in the next few days,” Lynch said afterwards.  “I need to prioritise starting as I found myself in bad lanes on the upwind (stage).”

Nevertheless, the Carlow sailor is aware of the solutions to try in the next races and is confident of making gains.

“We didn’t have the pace today and struggled upwind speed,” said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s Laser coach speaking of Lynch’s results.  “The first upwind leg saw him around 25th but he recovered in the downwind (leg) which is his strong point for the day.

Considering he didn’t have the pace and still finished around 12th that’s okay and it’s still inside qualifying so okay for the day.”

Conditions permitting, two further races will be sailed on Tuesday to complete the qualification round for Gold fleet in the ILCA 7 men's single-handed event.

Racing for the 49er skiff event that includes Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) and Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) will depend on conditions easing considerably from the opening day to avoid gear breakage.

To follow the competition and results: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/



Finn Lynch cleared to compete at French Olympic Week

Ahead of the forthcoming French Olympic Week (24-29th April 2023, Hyerés) the world number two ranked ILCA 7 sailor Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has been passed fit to compete in the World Cup of sailing event.

The Carlow native has been hampered by a recurring wrist injury but has been undergoing treatment since his last event at Palma, Mallorca last month.

With just over three months remaining until the World Sailing Championships at The Hague (Netherlands) where the first nation places will be decided for Paris 2024, Lynch will be aiming to regain his consistent form.

He has previously achieved Silver at World Championship level which is the highest ever Irish result at this level.

However, at the two major regattas of the season so far, by his own admission Lynch has not hit his potential. Although a 10th place at the European championships is certainly credible it does not meet his stated medal ambitions.

Also in action will be the two senior squad 49er skiff teams which are at different ends of their campaign preparations.  Howth's Robert Dickson has also had medical concerns with a viral infection laying him low over the past week.

However, along with his crew-mate Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) the pair worked hard in Palma just two weeks ago and are now cleared for next week's event in Hyerés where they will be keen to repeat their best days of the last regatta.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) made significant gains over the winter training season and will be looking to deliver consistency and a strong Gold fleet finish to the regatta.

"Both Finn and Robs' medical issues have definitely curtailed activity during the preparation period," said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.  "However, the main thing is that they’ve been cleared to race."

Of the other regular Senior Squad sailors, Eve McMahon will miss the series in Hyerés due to exam commitments at home but will return to competition later in the summer. Her brother Ewan has opted not to compete in this regatta.

We'll be posting daily on the regatta here, and you can find more info here: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/

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