Ireland and Belgium take early lead in search Olympic berth

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (IRL) had their best day of racing ever on the senior 49er circuit to lead overall after day one of the Lanzarote International Regatta. This duo are the 2018 Junior World Champions but are still seeking an Olympic berth for Tokyo 2020(1). The top European team not already qualified will gain a spot in Tokyo, and the Irish pair have built a 19 point lead over Italy and Belgium, and larger leads over Estonia, Russia, Greece and others.

The battle for the final berth in the 49erFX is closer than the 49er right now, Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts (BEL) one point ahead of Noora Ruskola and Mikaela Wulff (FIN) and three points ahead of Enia Nincevic and Mihaela Zjena (CRO). Close behind are Russia, Sweden, and Poland. The Italians are in tough, with all five of their entries signficantly off the pace in today’s racing.

In both competitions many of the heavy hitters on the world stage are racing for the first time since September of 2020. Lili Sebesi and Albane Dubois (FRA) sit on top of the 49erFX leaderboard, but are chased by five World or European Champion teams, each within six points. Champions from Norway, Netherlands, Brazil, Denmark and Spain with the Kiwi’s just a small step back in ninth. So almost everyone at the top of the 49erFX world is racing.

Chasing the young Irish team on the 49er side are Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR), Erwan Fischer and Julien Thibault (FRA), the Fantela Brother (CRO) and Botin and Mara (ESP). In sixth overall are Ian Barrows and Hans Henken from the USA. America has not yet qualified for Tokyo but are the next team ‘on deck’ if any nation does not take up their spot in the Olympic lineup.

The conditions in Lanzarote have been amazing day after day. With strong winds, warm weather, and wavy conditions, teams have been relishing the build up to racing and day 1 delivered amazing racing. Racing continues through the 26th and concludes with a live broadcast medal race. The Nacra 17 fleet is also racing with Olympic berths available for both Europe and Africa.

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