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Irish crew move up to sixth in Gold fleet racing at 49er European Championships

by Irish Sailing 12 Nov 2023 08:45 GMT
Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson (IRL) competing in the Gold fleet final round at the 49er European Championships © David Branigan / Oceansport

Ireland's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove shot up the leaderboard at the 49er European Championships (Vilamoura, Portugal Saturday 11th November 2023) as the Paris 2024 hopefuls improved from 13th to sixth place overnight.

The jump in the standings was thanks to careful starting technique that led them to score tenth and second places for the day.

Crucially, in the hunt for the single nation European qualification place for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the Dublin crew now lead the potential qualifiers by a ten-point margin.

Their lead is still vulnerable to shock and there are six races possibly remaining in the schedule before Monday afternoon's medal race.

However, after a four hour delay to racing due to no wind today plus similar forecasts for Sunday and Monday, any racing will be a bonus that every team will need to improve or consolidate their standings.

Dickson (Howth YC) and Waddilove (Skerries SC) came within one nation place of securing a berth in the Men's skiff event for the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta in Marseilles next August when they competed at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague in August.

But their starting technique proved to be an Achilles Heel despite several notable race results and they have spent the time since improving this and their light wind boatspeed.

"Gold fleet racing gets a bit tighter and a bit tougher so to come away with two top ten results is pretty ideal," commented Seán Waddilove. "We had two fantastic starts today with a big lane below us which meant we had plenty of options."

Ireland's second crew in the competition, now in the Silver fleet had no racing due to the weather. Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) are hoping that Sunday's conditions will allow the Silver and Bronze fleets an opportunity to continue their competition.

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