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  • Northside East

Sailing stars campaign to realise their Tokyo dream

Sunday, 14th April, 2019 1:00pm
Sailing stars campaign to realise their Tokyo dream

Seán Waddilove and Robert Dickson pictured while competing at an event in Marseilles last year. PHOTO: © PIERICK JEANNOUT

Sailing stars campaign to realise their Tokyo dream

Seán Waddilove and Robert Dickson pictured while competing at an event in Marseilles last year. PHOTO: © PIERICK JEANNOUT

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SUTTON Dinghy Club and Howth Yacht Club ran a very successful fundraiser at the Marine Hotel recently for the ‘2018 Irish Sailors of the Year’ – Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove. 

More than 100 people attended to support ‘Team Dickson Waddilove’ and their pursuit of excellence as they campaign for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Attendees included guest-of-honour Cllr Anthony Lavin – Mayor of Fingal, Senator Catherine Noone (FG), Commodores Stephen Boyle (Sutton Dinghy Club) and Ian Byrne (Howth Yacht Club) as well as local sailors and a wonderful show of support from the Fingal community.

Robert and Seán are 49er World Sailing Champions 2018 and Irish Sailors of the Year 2018. They also won the Northside People’s 'Outstanding Achievement Award in Sport in 2018’.

Robert (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán (Skerries Sailing Club) said their 49er dinghy is fast, technical and shaped like a ‘bat!’ 

It flies across the water at high speed while the two highly trained and fit athletes hang from wires and lie parallel to the water surface just inches below them. Mad, crazy or what? Add big waves and strong winds and it’s just as well they have sailed together for more than eight years and sailed more than 50 regattas, because you’d want to trust your crewmate and understand him well! They are quite a team.

Having begun sailing when they were both very young, they haven’t stopped since and have progressed through Irish Sailing’s Olympic Pathway, beginning with the small single-handed Optimist dinghy and now in what is considered to be the ‘Formula One’ of dinghies – the 49er, as they campaign for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Irish Sailing’s silver medalist at the Rio Olympics, Annalise Murphy, attended the event and gave a talk about her own Olympic campaign and her experience competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. 

Annalise’s presence attracted a big crowd and she was quick to outline the huge cost and financial challenge of such a campaign. 

She also thanked Robert and Seán for their help in supporting her as she learns to sail the 49erFX – an Olympic dinghy described as a different beast and not for the faint hearted!

Robert and Seán outlined their intensive training schedule. The day commences early with either a cycle or a trip to the gym. They spend approximately four hours a day on the water combined with an additional two hours’ preparation and debriefing and then boat work that includes the repair and further fine-tuning of their racing machine. It makes for a long day in anyone’s book.

Most of their winter training is in Portugal and Spain, allowing them to sail in the warmer weather.

‘Team Dickson Waddilove’ returned for the event from their training camp in Palma, joining Annalise and others from the Performance Squad for the opening of the new Irish Sailing Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire. 

The headquarters will be a base for these athletes while they are training in Dublin. Irish Sailing is hoping that it will support their efforts, ensuring they leave home stronger for their performances on the world stage.

•You can follow their progress and also contribute to their Olympic Campaign on their Facebook page: ‘Team Dickson Waddilove 49er Ireland’.

Seán Waddilove, Annalise Murphy, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Anthony Lavin and Robert Dickson pictured at the fundraising event.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here