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Blow to Irish hopes at Princess Sofia Trophy on day 4

by Treasa Cox 7 Apr 10:51 BST 3-8 April 2023
Irish sailors at the 2023 Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma © Sailing Energy / Trofeo Princesa Sofía

Hopes of a strong result for Irish sailors competing at the Princess Sofia World Cup of Sailing regatta were set back today (Thursday 6th April 2023, Palma, Mallorca, Spain) when light winds and handling errors proved costly.

Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had started the day wearing the overall leaders' yellow bibs for the 49er skiff class after their stellar day on Wednesday.

But in stark contrast to their earlier form that included two race wins, the Tokyo Olympians appeared to stumble in the lighter winds, notably in their starts. In three out of the four races for the day, the pair placed at the back of their 25 boat Gold fleet.

Only the top ten boats at the end of Friday's racing progress to Saturday's medal race final to determine the podium and the Dublin pair are now 19th overall.

"We just didn't execute (at the starts) even after some really good work but with just some kind of sloppiness didn't execute and ended in a world of trouble," commented Irish Sailing's 49er coach Matt McGovern. "On a day like that, if you're starting after a major error and you're ten or 20 seconds behind, when the next wind-shift comes you're the last boat to tack on it so it's very much a hard game from there."

Meanwhile, across the bay under the gaze of El Ceu, Palma's historic cathedral, the single-handed classes were also coming to terms with the lighter winds.

Carlow's Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) improved steadily as the three-race day progressed including several impressive comebacks from the rear of the 60 boat ILCA 7 fleet. His results were 22nd, 14th and an eleventh but ultimately lacked the top ten individual race results that he is known for as the world ranked No. 3 sailor in his event.

Lynch finished the day in 20th overall having displaced Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) who slipped back a place to 26th overall after counting two mid-fleet results and discarding a 50th place.

Amongst the ILCA 6 women in their Gold fleet, Eve McMahon (Howth YC) was disappointed with her performance. "It was a very mediocre day for me unfortunately, my starts today really let me down which isn't like me," she said after coming ashore in C'an Pastilla. "I think the Black Flag (disqualification) on the first day has thrown me a little bit - I haven't had one of them in quite a while."

Fleet racing in Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions concludes on Friday with the top ten boats in each of the ten events that comprise the Olympic regatta format going forward for a high-scoring short medal race final on Saturday.

To follow the competition and results:

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