Welcome to our second edition of the Irish Sailing Performance Quarterly. With a number of big events already completed this year, we sum up the status of our teams and look ahead at what’s next in store.
Last chance for the 49ers
The 49er World Championships in Auckland last December was bittersweet - our senior team did not quite fire on all cylinders but our young guys came out of the blocks strong. In a fleet where the silver and bronze medallists from the 2018 Worlds did not make Gold Fleet, the fact that Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove did, is outstanding. They were one of only three u23 teams to make Gold Fleet and ultimately finished 22nd.
Obviously, the goal was to qualify for the Olympics which was missed. The four places available were all won by European countries which thankfully takes them out of the European Qualifier in Genoa in April 12-19. There is one place available and this is our last chance.
Both teams have already competed in the 2020 World Championships in Australia. The practice and experience was important although the event did not actually count for anything. Ryan and Seafra finished 30th, while Rob and Sean finished 44th.
Raising the bar in the Laser Radial
The Radials were based in Portugal for the month of December and got a really good training block under their belts. They then travelled to Australia after Christmas and were there for an extended period in the lead-up to the 2020 ILCA Laser World Championships which started in late February. This event is was their first trial to decide who gets the Laser Radial place at the Olympic Games, and will be followed by Palma in late March and Hyeres in late April.
Annalise Murphy finished 2nd in Sail Melbourne and followed it up with a 12th at the World Championships. The comeback is definitely on track. Having her back in the group as expected has raised the bar. Aoife Hopkins finished 40th at the Worlds while Aisling Keller was 63rd. 16 year old Eve McMahon was also in Australia for the two months and competed alongside the group.
The Lasers look ahead
Finn Lynch was in Australia for the month of December in a quality training group. He was joined by Ewan McMahon and Liam Glynn in January for a training block in Malta before the ILCA Laser World Championships which started in mid-February. Their Worlds in Australia did not count for anything but valuable experience. Finn finished 31st, Liam 73rd and Ewan 74th. Like the 49ers, they now have one more chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at Genoa, April 12-19.
Our Sport Ireland funding in 2020 will remain static with an additional €50k allocated towards the Tokyo Games costs. It shows the strong support and long-term strategic thinking by Sport Ireland, and their belief in our talent pipeline.
We are delighted that our Irish Sailing Performance HQ has secured a naming rights sponsor to the value of €80k for 2020. It will be formally announced in the coming weeks. The Performance HQ was also named as a finalist at the prestigious Green Awards last month. We are still actively looking for a title sponsor for the team.