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Mistral winds blow to Irish hopes on day 2 at French Olympic Sailing Week

by Treasa Cox 25 Apr 19:26 BST 22-29 April 2023
Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan capsize while competing in extreme wind conditionsFinn Lynch on day 2 of the 54th Semaine Olympique Française - Toulon Provence Méditerranée © David Branigan / Oceansport

A second day of strong conditions at the French Olympic Sailing Week (Hyères, Cote d'Azur Tuesday 25th April 2023) proved exceptionally challenging for the three Irish crews competing.

Near Gale force 7 conditions saw the 49er skiff series get under way 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.

Find full results here.

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