Irish 49er Sailing teams seek Olympic Qualification in Lanzarote
The Irish 49er Sailing Teams begin competing this Sunday 21 March in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) at the International Lanzarote Regatta. This is the last chance for the teams to secure a place for Ireland in the 49er class at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. There are four nations in contention for one place in the 49er class: Ireland, Estonia, Italy and Belgium.
Ireland will be represented by two teams, Olympian Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club); and Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club).
The team is supported by coaches Matt McGovern OLY, and Sean Evans.
A mix of youth and experience
The 49er team has a mix of youth and experience. Two-time Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton will be hoping to regain some of the form that saw him make the medal race final in the 2016 Olympic Games. He now sails with Seafra Guilfoyle. Hot on their heels are the U23 Bronze medallists Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove. While still learning the ropes on the senior circuit, they had an impressive World Championships at the end of 2019, making Gold Fleet. Overall the average age of the Irish 49er team is 24 (against an average age of 28 for a 49er Olympic medallist – a late developing class).
Conditions in Lanzarote
Originally planned for the Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca (Spain), the change in venue for the Qualifier was announced in February. The event is hosted by the Canary Islands Sailing Federation and Marina Rubicon and will see three different race areas. Lanzarote in the Canary Islands often sees sunny, blustery conditions with strong winds and rolling seas.
The Olympic Qualifying event for the Lasers has been confirmed. It will take place at the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura International Championship on 17-24 April in Vilamoura, Portugal. This is the last chance for the Irish Laser Men to qualify with two nation places up for grabs against Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Representing Ireland will be Finn Lynch OLY (National Yacht Club), Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club).
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