Ireland Drop Back At 2015 Para World Sailing Championships

Ireland have fallen back two places to 9th overall at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships in Australia. They were 6th and 8th in races seven and eight of this eleven race regatta. Ireland are 4th of the nine contenders for one of six remaining places on the start line at the Paralympics in Rio next year. Following the squalls and high winds of yesterday afternoon and with a forecast for further high winds this afternoon the race committee decided to bring forward the time of racing today today from 13.00 to 11.00 so as to avoid the front. With three more races to go, John Twomey, Skipper of the Irish Sonar Paralymic team, said: “What a shifty Day with wind speed between 2 and 18 knots and 35 degree wind shifts. A 6th and 8th place finish in the 2 races reflected our conservative approach to this regatta. We consolidated our qualification position for Rio 2016. That is the big prize we came here for.” Today also saw a widening of the gap within the Sonar fleet where the difference in finishing times between the first and last boat averaged at least eight minutes which is significant at this high level of competitive racing. The final two days of racing have all the signs of some further great competition on the water. Among the 18 boats in the Sonar fleet, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Greece and Norway have already booked their place at Rio 2016. However Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and the US Virgin Islands will be chasing the remaining six spots on offer, with three teams set to miss out on berths for the Games. The Irish Paralympic Sailing Team comprising John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O’Carroll is campaigning to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. This final qualifying event is being hosted by one of the oldest sailing clubs in Australia, the Royal Yacht Club Victoria, Williamstown, Melbourne from November 28th to the 3rd of December 2015. The event comprises of eleven races, two for each of the first five days with the final race on Dec 3rd. The team compete in the 23 foot Sonar Class, which for Paralympic events is a two sails keelboat. The Irish team are currently ranked 5th in the world. Entries from 31 countries and 81 boats comprising 142 sailors are competing for just 35 places to participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil next year. The fleet of sailors across three different types of boats include 45 sailing the 2.4mR (single person boat), 18 sailing the SKUD 18 (two person boat) and 18 sailing the Sonar (three person boat). In total, 35 athletes, across three fleets of boats will book their spot at Rio 2016 in Melbourne. Seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in the Sonar will be up for grabs.