Irish Olympic hopefuls face six-hour storm delay before action begins at world championships

Irish Olympic hopefuls face six-hour storm delay before action begins at world championships
Double Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (above) from Ballyholme, with Crosshaven sailor Séafra Guilfoyle, had an 11th followed by a seventh in their flight.

A storm sweeping across Auckland Harbour forced a six-hour delay to the start of racing in the 49er world championship today.

The championships are the second major qualification opportunity for Irish sailors to win a berth for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Men’s skiff event.

Two Irish boats are contesting the world series that will decide four more nation places for Japan.

Howth’s Robert Dickson, with crew Sean Waddilove from Skerries, won their opening race of the qualification round and followed this with a 12th place.

Double Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme, with Crosshaven sailor Séafra Guilfoyle, had an 11th followed by a seventh in their flight.

The 89-strong fleet is split into three flights for the initial qualification round that determines the gold, silver and bronze fleets. Up to ten races will constitute this part of the championship.

Either or both Irish boats must reach the gold fleet to be in contention for Olympic qualification and, based on the other nations seeking qualification, will probably need to reach the medal race final for the top ten overall in the event.

Seaton and Guilfoyle have overcome two bouts of illness and injury this year to steadily improve from top 20 in Palma in April to top ten at the Sailing World Cup series in Enoshima, the Olympic regatta venue, just two months ago.

Four races are expected in Auckland tomorrow and the gold fleet split should be determined by Thursday.

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