Ireland’s Olympic hopeful sailors will return to training at their new performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire later this month to put into practice the lessons they’ve learned during a week of challenging conditions at the Volvo European Championships.
After very strong conditions earlier in the week, the regatta ended with a bit of a whimper today (Sunday), when a lack of wind in Weymouth Bay meant that there were no silver or bronze fleet races.
With 18 races already completed over six days, the race officer made the decision not to force any races in very light conditions for the silver and bronze fleets, although there were final races in the gold fleet competitions.
Irish Sailing 49er coach Ross Killian said: “It’s been a long regatta with seven consecutive race days. The wide variety of conditions has challenged our sailors, we’ve had very windy races and very light races. Steady breeze and shifting breeze, big waves and flat water. An all-round test really.
“Across the 18 races sailed the Irish results were up and down, areas that need work have been highlighted during the course of the competition, so now we will tailor or training to focus on those areas.
“We are bringing the equipment home tomorrow and will be working from the new Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire for the next block of training. It’s a great thing that we can work together as a three-boat team at home while recharging the batteries. It’s been a busy start to the season with Palma, Genoa and the Euros one after another with little turnaround time in between.”
The lack of action today meant that in the men’s 49er class, Ryan Seaton, from Co Antrim, and Cork’s Seafra Guilfoyle finished highest of the Irish in 43rd place overall, after placing 2nd and 28th in Saturday’s two races. They were just one spot ahead of Dublin duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after their 29th and 9th place finishes on Saturday.
Also in the 49ers, Dalkey brothers Seán Donnelly and Tadgh Donnelly finished 33rd and 26th in Saturday’s silver fleet races to claim 57th place overall, while the new Cork pairing of Mark Hasset and Johnny Durcan claimed 4th and 11th place in the bronze fleet races to finished the regatta in 88th place overall.
There was also no silver fleet races in the women’s 49erFX, which meant that Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle finished the competition in 51st place overall after their 22nd and 9th placings in Saturday’s races.
In the 49er gold fleet, 49erNew Zealand pairing Peter Burling and Blair Tuke claimed victory, holding off the challenge of Britain’s Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.
The 49erFX competition was won by Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, ahead of reigning World Champions from the Netherlands, Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz.
The next regattas for the Irish Sailing team will attend will be Kiel in Germany in late June and the 49er Junior World Championships, in early July.