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Losses and gains for Irish crews at 49er Sailing World Championships in Oman

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Team Ireland 49er coach Matt McGovern with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove between races in the 49er men's event at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last July. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Team Ireland 49er coach Matt McGovern with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove between races in the 49er men's event at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last July. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Team Ireland 49er coach Matt McGovern with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove between races in the 49er men's event at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last July. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The opening three races of the Gold fleet series proved exceptionally challenging for the Irish crews at the Olympic 49er skiff class world championships in Mussanah, Oman today.

Although the late start to the series saw slightly more breeze than previous days, racing continued until just after sunset, adding an extra factor for the 25-strong fleet.

Tokyo 2020 sailors Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) dropped from fourth overall going into the series and out of the top ten after an uncharacteristically poor day for the pair.

A 17th in the opening race initially dropped the pair to ninth place. However, they won the start of the second race and placed third which allowed them to recover to eighth place.

However, the final race saw them end in 22nd place to leave them eleventh overall with two days remaining in the series.

"That was certainly a tough day for the lads though few crews escaped without a bad result," commented James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.

"But the scores remain quite tight and recovery by Sunday's medal race is still open."

Meanwhile, the new Royal Cork pairing of Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan were the better of the two Irish boats for the day, counting a fourth place behind Dickson and Waddilove and their first day of Gold fleet racing has already seen an improvement to their standing in the event.

Their score moves them up to 19th overall on their first foray together at a senior world championship regatta.

Three races are scheduled for Saturday followed by two races on Sunday to decide the top ten boats overall for the medal race.

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