Auckland agony for Irish sailors as championship ends without qualification for Tokyo 2020

Auckland agony for Irish sailors as championship ends without qualification for Tokyo 2020

After 17 races in Auckland, the 49er world championship ended yesterday without qualification for Tokyo 2020 by an Irish crew.

Attention now turns to preparations for the final qualification opportunity for a single European nation to qualify when the Sailing World Cup is staged at Genoa in April.

That event caters for the skiff events as well as all the Olympic classes, and will be an opportunity to see whether Ireland qualifies in the Men’s single-handed event as well. Although only expected to deliver a top 40 result in New Zealand, Ireland’s Robert Dickson with Sean Waddilove placed 22nd overall and won a place in the Gold fleet, their first appearance at senior level.

There was disappointment for double Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton with Séafra Guilfoyle who were relegated to the Silver fleet after losing a three-way tie-break last Thursday.

The pair were pleased with their boatspeed but need additional competition time to perfect their on-board processes, such as roles and communications for the dozens of controls and manouevres involved with the high-speed skiffs.

Both Irish boats will contest the 2020 worlds in February and will have winter training-camp in Portugal prior to that. New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke added a fifth world title to their record and, as the dominant crew in the class, face the prospect of a sixth title within months when the 2020 championship is staged in Geelong, Australia in early-February.

Spain, Austria, The Netherlands, and Poland all qualified to send representatives to Japan, while Dickson and Waddilove were the next best placed European team.

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