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Injury concerns end French Olympic Week for Irish sailors

by Treasa Cox 28 Apr 18:23 BST 22-29 April 2023

After a week of highs and lows at the French Olympic Week (Hyères, Cote d'Azur ) the Irish Sailing squad are returning home with firm resolve ahead of the main season ahead.

The breezy start to the week with full Mistral wind conditions would normally have seen strong results based on past events. However, two of the three boats were carrying illness and injury concerns that affected performance and ultimately led to early withdrawal from the regatta.

"Although not a peak regatta by any means, we have come to expect strong results from our key sailors in large international events such as Hyères ," commented James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "In the final analysis, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; for sure there are work-ons but there are positives too."

ILCA 7 single-hander Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) secured a place in Gold fleet despite carrying a persistent wrist injury for the past month which had an impact during the demanding conditions of the first two days.

Once conditions eased on Wednesday, he returned to better form and was set-up for a race win but for a black flag disqualification which used up his discard. He competed in Gold fleet but didn't finish the series on Friday when he suffered further inflammation of his injury and he withdrew from further competition.

It was a similar situation for 49er crew of Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) with the Howth sailor suffering from the after effects of a viral illness. With proven past performance in breezier weather, once conditions eased the pair delivered a third place and a tenth but ultimately opted to withdraw from the regatta's Silver fleet.

Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) continued to make progress in the 49er class and while they didn't reach the cut for Gold fleet, the pair delivered strong results in the Silver fleet making for an enjoyable end to the week where they placed 35th overall.

"Illness and injury are major factors in any sport and have significant bearings on performance," said O'Callaghan. "Our immediate priorities will now be recovery and rehab then straight into venue preparations for the season highlight with the World Sailing Championships in August."

Find full results here.

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