Irish Sailing has named the seven Irish sailors that will compete in the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships, The Hague, taking place in the port of Scheveningen from 10th – 20th August 2023.
The team of seven athletes will represent Ireland across three classes ICLA 6, ICLA 7 and 49er with Olympic spots for Ireland up for grabs, the first of three opportunities to qualify an Irish boat for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris next year.
Flying the flag for Ireland in The Hague are 2022 World Youth Champion Eve McMahon from Dublin in the ICLA 6, her brother Ewan McMahon and Carlow’s Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) compete in the Men’s ICLA 7. Dublin’s Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) and Cork duo Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (both Royal Cork Yacht Club) are all competing in the 49er Men’s skiff event.
The World Championships at the Hague will see 1,400 of the world’s best sailors do battle across 10 Olympic and 4 Parasailing events.
107 Olympic places are up for grabs alongside the title of World Champion. Only one boat from each country can compete in each event at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A top 16 finish in each of the ICLA events will secure a spot for Ireland at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris whilst, in the 49er event a top 10 finish is required. If Ireland do secure Olympic qualification, the Irish sailors in that event will then battle it out for nomination by the Irish Sailing Association to the Olympic Federation, based on the results of sailors at a pre-determined list of events as laid down in the selection process set down by Irish Sailing’s Olympic Steering Group.
Should Ireland fail to qualify a boat at the World Championships in the Hague, two more opportunities await. The first at a Continental Championships to be held in 2024 and then a final qualification regatta in the months before the Paris 2024 Games.
Ireland’s sailors head into August’s World Championships following a series of positive results.
In last week’s Olympic Test Event in Marseille, Finn Lynch finished 6th in the ICLA 7 whilst Eve McMahon in her first season competing as a Senior finished 11th in ICLA 6, a result that included a race win in Round 8. Dublin’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove placed 13th, just outside the top ten for the medal race final.
The impact of the opening of the Irish Sailing High Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire in 2019 is now having a significant impact on the consistency and quality of Irish sailors competing with the goal of Olympic success.
Enabled through the support of Sport Ireland, the Irish Sailing Foundation and grants made available through the Department of Sports, Capital Grant Programme, this is the environment that Irish Sailing sought to replicate at the Marseille Test event with a view also, to having this “home away from home” environment in place at next year’s Olympic venue, Point Rouge, for the duration of the Games.
Irish Sailing Team Coach Rory Fitzpatrick commented: “Next month’s Sailing World Championships represent an exciting and pivotal moment for our talented group of Irish sailors and the entire Irish Sailing team. Countless hours of dedication, training, and commitment have been spent preparing to reach this stage and we are thrilled to showcase our skills on the global stage with the added incentive of next year’s Olympic qualification. Our young team here in Dun Laoghaire are not only exceptionally talented athletes but represent a tight-knit group, supporting and motivating each other all the way.”
Irish Sailing Performance Director James O’Callaghan added: “It has been fantastic to see the growth of Irish Sailing over the past number of years with thanks to the dedication of the brilliant teams in Irish Sailing and Sport Ireland to ensure the development of the sport is seen at all stages from the establishment of our Performance HQ to increasing participation and accessibility nationwide. We are very proud of our team and look forward to seeing them compete at the World Championships next month!”