Tokyo 2020: Dickson and Waddilove take rough with the smooth to stay in top-10 hunt

Irish duo can’t repeat Tuesday’s heroics but are in good form at Olympic sailing regatta

 Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Team Ireland in action during the Men’s Skiff - 49er class. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Team Ireland in action during the Men’s Skiff - 49er class. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty

 

In spite of dropping from day one leaders to 11th place at the Olympic Sailing regatta at Enoshima on Wednesday, Ireland’s Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove were in good form after their first full day of racing.

The breeze was up and blowing south giving choppy sea conditions with a groundswell; altogether different from their memorable opening race win on Tuesday.

Whatever about their dream start to the series, only in fantasyland would they repeat that feat in the face of the formidable and established talent on the leaderboard.

Yet, they only lie one point off top 10 with eight races remaining including two to be sailed on Thursday’s rest day to make up for the lost programme on day one.

A place in Monday’s medal race final would be a great outcome for a debut Olympics and before reaching shore after the three-race day, they had figured out what needed to change.

Just as importantly, they were full of positivity after the enjoyable racing.

“Normally, these are conditions that we like and go pretty well in,” said Waddilove afterwards. But work is needed on tweaking their skiff for the windier conditions.

“We were slow to go to the next set-up so we were constantly overpowered,” he said. “We need to be a step ahead with ourselves before the wind picks up.”

So with a forecast of continued fresh southerlies, they can reach the halfway stages and still have six races on Friday and Saturday to build their form.

Meanwhile, the women’s skiff event has already reached its halfway point and is being led by Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey who made her Olympic debut for Ireland at Rio 2016.

Their second day of racing delivered three top-five results though looming threats from the Dutch, Spanish and Danish crews mean the series has some distance to go.

Ireland’s Annalise Murphy has just four races remaining to move from 20th overall to 10th or better to earn a place in Sunday’s medal race for the women’s single-handed event.

On past form, the breezier weather should suit her and allow a repeat of her top-10 results from Tuesday.

Typhoon warnings for the opening stage of the regatta never fully materialised but a fresh threat is emerging of strong winds and torrential rain for later in the weekend and into next week for the final days of the 10-event regatta.

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