The Irish duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove moved a step closer to securing a place at the Tokyo Olympics today as the 49er Spring Championship in Lanzarote entered its closing stages.
Olympic hopefuls Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) again held on to their third overall place in the Gold fleet though sailed three more conservative races.
The Dublin crew were aiming to avoid a repeat of their previous two race disqualifications for early starting with 13-11-8 scored for the day, their first time in this regatta that they had placed outside the top ten.
Crucially, their results assure them of a place in Friday afternoon's medal race final that follows the final fleet race in the morning.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s other crew are also hoping to reach the medal race final as Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had a 18-16-4 for the day. The pair dropped to eleventh overall and Friday’s single fleet race will be an all or nothing attempt to place at the front of the fleet.
Belgium and Italy remain strong contenders for the single remaining place at Tokyo 2021 with all needing concerted efforts to overtake Dickson and Waddilove who have led these stakes since the start of the week.
"Rob and Sean made the correct call to take a conservative approach to the day’s racing, striking a good balance between scoring well and not risking their points advantage," commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director. "The goal at this event remains Olympic qualification and that will inform strategy; whether or not they achieve a podium result this week is irrelevant."
The single fleet race for the 49er class will be sailed in the morning before the boats return to Playa Blanca. The top ten crews will then return to sea in the afternoon for the short medal race that counts for double points.