Irish boats stay in contention ahead of medal races in Mallorca

Finn Lynch and the pairing of Rob Dickson and Seán Waddilove continue strong week

Two Irish boats have a final day of fleet racing on Friday as the first Princess Sofia trophy regatta for Olympic classes draws towards its conclusion with places in the medal race final in sight.

Rio 2016 veteran Finn Lynch continued his steady form to date and improved to sixth place in the single-handed ILCA7 fleet.

Rob Dickson and Seán Waddilove moved to 12th overall after a mixed day in their 49er skiff event, but have a significant final-day task ahead to secure a berth on Saturday's medal race final.

Conditions on the Bay of Palma returned to seasonal norms with fresh winds and clear skies serving up choppy sea conditions.


Lynch had an eighth place in the opening race that could well have been higher but for the still building breeze that proved shifty as he opted for the right-hand side of the course, though left proved slightly better.

A 14th place in the second race was only his second time in eight races outside the top 10 boats. The podium is less than 10 points off his overnight score.

“Finn has been aiming for good average results and there’s still the possibility of moving up the rankings a bit more; he’s sailing smart without making mistakes,” said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s Laser coach, a triple Olympic medallist from Slovenia.

Lynch took the silver medal at last November’s world championships in Barcelona and Palma, as the first major event of the year, is serving as an important bridge to this year’s Worlds in Mexico just two months away.

Ireland’s second Gold fleet sailor in the ILCA7 (formerly the Laser) class is Howth’s Ewan McMahon whose form slipped slightly for the day and consequently dropped from 20th to 30th, though with a very narrow points spread.

Four races were sailed in the 49er skiff Gold fleet where Dickson and Waddilove had a mixed set of results: a 22nd and a 15th were followed by their more regular form of two sixth places, leaving them two points outside the top 10 with just three races remaining.

Overnight leading into Thursday’s racing, the Irish crew found themselves disqualified with two other boats for infringing an Italian boat in Wednesday’s racing.

Dickson and Waddilove had been starting on port tack when they needed to give way to the Italian boat but were blocked by the two other boats.

Unusually, although the protest committee found that the Irish crew had acted correctly and had not been given room by the other boats to keep clear, they were still grouped with the other boats for disqualification.

David Branigan

David Branigan

David Branigan is a contributor on sailing to The Irish Times