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Irish 49er sailors catapult into overall lead in Palma on day 3 of the Princess Sofia Trophy

by Treasa Cox 5 Apr 23:40 BST 3-8 April 2023

A stellar day on the Bay of Palma today (Wednesday 5th April, Palma, Mallorca) saw Dublin sailors Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove take the overall lead in their 49er skiff event as they comfortably qualified for the Gold fleet final round at the Princess Sofia Trophy.

The pair ended the second day of qualification racing with two race wins and a fourth place. The next three teams are all tied for second place in this world class fleet of 103 boats.

"Rob and Seán had an absolutely stellar performance, sailed it fast, kept themselves out of trouble and did all the basics well and got a big pay-out for it," commented Matt McGovern, the Irish Sailing 49er coach who is also a double Olympian. "They were the best 49er boat in all the fleets today so you can't really ask for much more than that."

Team-mates Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan Royal Cork Yacht Club) also had a good day in the same qualification fleet posting a steadily improving 15th, eighth and a fifth in the close racing. However, finishing in 39th overall means the pair narrowly miss qualification for the Gold fleet series.

Amongst the single-handers, Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) tops the Irish boats heading into Gold fleet for the ILCA7 class in 25th overall, boosted by an eighth in the second race today and a 15th earlier that he discarded.

Rio 2016 Olympian Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) had a consistent day posting seventh and eighth places which pulled him up to 34th overall and inside the Gold fleet. Jamie McMahon (Howth YC) placed 140th overall and will compete in the Bronze fleet finals.

"It was the first day with decent racing conditions, 13-17 knots sea breeze and we didn't spend too much time on the water which was very positive," said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser coach. "Finn and Ewan did a decent day - tomorrow is the start of the finals so everything is still open."

Meanwhile, Eve McMahon (Howth YC) steadily moved up the rankings for the day in the ILCA 6 to place 27th going into the final round thanks to a 21st, 14th and ninth for the day.

"Eve had a reasonable day today and moved up the leader board," said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing's Head Coach. "She's made a lot of improvements and is getting used to using them around the track, so it's been a good learning experience for her."

Racing continues on the ten different racing areas around the Bay of Palma for the next three days with all sailors competing to win top ten places that compete for the podium of each event in a single, high-scoring medal race final on Saturday.

To follow the competition and results:

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