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Lynch secures Gold fleet place at French Olympic Sailing Week

by Treasa Cox 26 Apr 21:01 BST 22-29 April 2023
Finn Lynch on day 3 of the 54th Semaine Olympique Française - Toulon Provence Méditerranée © David Branigan / Oceansport

An easing of conditions saw Ireland's Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) regain some of his better form on the third day of French Olympic Sailing Week (Hyerés, Cote d'Azur Wednesday 26th April 2023) 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.

Find full results here.

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