The Lanzarote International Regatta, starting this Sunday, has a special importance for Irealand’s Ryan Seaton and and team-mate Seafra Guilfoyle who have one final chance to qualify Ireland for the Tokyo Games.
But, just in case that is not enough pressure, Seaton’s wife Jena, an Olympic medallist with Denmark in 2016, is due to give birth while he is attempting to qualify in the 49er class in Lanzarote.
Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is running a quickly arranged regatta, starting 21 March for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes, which also will be the European and African continental qualification regatta for the Tokyo 2020(1) Olympic Games.
Seaton told BBC News . . . “I’m so fortunate that Jena is so understanding. She is an Olympic medallist from Rio so she understands the commitment and the time required in the build-up to an event like this better than anyone.”
Seaton managed to visit Jena in Greenisland in County Antrim last week before jetting back out to the Canary Islands for the qualification regatta.
Following the recent raft of cancellations and postponements of Olympic class events – Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca, the Heyeres Regatta in France and now the postponement of Kiel Week to September – Olympic sailors are desperate to get top class competiion in the lead-up to the delayed Tokyo Games in July.
Over 110 teams in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes are based in Lanzarote for the event, which will run from Sunday 21 to Friday 26 March, and will include members of the Olympic Team GB sailing squad.
Team GB Olympic competitors expected to race are: Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey in the 49erFX and Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell in the 49er.
Plus Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas, Chris Taylor and Rhos Hawes, and James Grummett and Dan Budden in the 49er. And Megan Brickwood and Stephanie Orton in the 49erFX.
No British entry is listed for the mixed Nacra 17 event.
Lanzarote has become the European training centre for Olympic sailing competitors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the recent Coach training regatta series for the Radial and Laser classes, Britain’s Michael Beckett won the Laser event ahead of Robert Scheidt BRA and Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA, with Elliot Hanson GBR in fourth place (28 entries).
In the Radial event, the winner was Anne Marie Rindom of Denmark ahead of Magdalena Kwasna POL and Vasileia Karachaliou GRE. Britain’s Alison Young was 22nd in the 35 strong fleet.
Interestingly, for the rest of us who have to stick to the UK travel restrictions, while a date of May 17 has been given for a review of foreign travel, April 12 is when Boris Johnson is due to be updated on the possibilities for foreign travel by the Global Travel Taskforce.