** Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) in action at the 49er Spring Championship Olympic Qualifier in Lanzarote. Picture: David Branigan/Oceansport
Howth YC’s Robert Dickson and Skerries’ Sean Waddilove are in pole position to land Ireland the one Olympic qualification on offer from their 49er qualifier in Lanzarote.
Going into the final day’s racing on Friday, they are third overall but, crucially, are first of the nations in the running for the ticket to Tokyo after four days of races.
Ireland are contesting the final European quota place in the class with Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Estonia, Slovenia, Turkey and Russia.
Their nearest challenger for that place is the Belgian pairing of Yannick Lefebvre and Tom Pelsmaekers. They won the penultimate race of the day and stand ninth with 119 points, well adrift of the Irish pairing on 90.
With a healthy advantage from the first three days, the Dublin crew were aiming to avoid a repeat of their previous two race disqualifications for earlier in the week starting with 13-11-8 scored for the day, their first time in this regatta that they had placed outside the top ten.
Crucially, their results assure them of a place in Friday afternoon’s medal race final that follows the final fleet race in the morning.
“Rob and Sean made the correct call to take a conservative approach to the day’s racing, striking a good balance between scoring well and not risking their points advantage,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.
“The goal at this event remains Olympic qualification and that will inform strategy; whether or not they achieve a podium result this week is irrelevant.”