Cork 49er debutants win qualifying race at Oman 49er Worlds

It was the game immediately for two Irish rivals at the 49er single scull class Olympic World Championships in Mussanah, Oman on Tuesday. A new Royal Cork suit won the race in its first round while rivals Dublin for single place Paris 2024 won the last race of the day.

Cork dinghy ace Johnny Durcan along with Tokyo activist Séafra Guilfoyle won their opening championship race in their flight. A ninth and an 18th followed, leaving the debutants in 18th, a position in the middle of the fleet at this early stage.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a steadily improving day, strengthening their form as the light breeze strengthened.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)

The pair from North Dublin had a 14th and then a tenth place before winning the third race to finish 14th overall.

Britons Jack Hawkins and Chris Tomas, looking to step out of the shadows of training partners Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the Tokyo 2020 gold medalists are tied with French pair Kevin Fischer Guillou and Noe ‘ Delpech. Both are enjoying their first tastes of sitting on top of a major championship.

With only the two 49er fleets due to compete in qualifying through Thursday, the fleets are aiming for three races per day. While the warm, sneaky breezes kept the leaders’ scores, albeit mixed, the sun will be the only constant factor this week.

Turn heads

The Chemin de Paris will have new faces. Otto Henry with Miles Davey (AUS) and Hernan Umpierre with Fernando Diz (URU) respectively occupy third and fourth places in the 49er classification. They represent the next generation of talented skiffs who have grown up sailing fast and honing their skills through a combination of video and extreme sports. Of the four, Diz is the oldest born in 1999, the others were born in the new millennium and it does not appear that they are interested in starting from the back of the fleet and moving up.

The Uruguayan pair won the Asian Championship in preparation for this year’s World Championships. They moved to Cadiz, Spain for their university studies, but it is clear that their passion lies in sailing. Likewise, excluded from Australia, the young couple had been in Europe all summer running and training, before finally being allowed to return home.

The qualifying round continues for another two days to determine the breakdown of the Gold and Silver fleets for the final match which will conclude the event on Sunday (November 21, 2021).

The site has seen light winds for the past two weeks, but a sea breeze on Wednesday was expected.

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