Dickinson leads Brits with impressive ILCA 7 Euros 4th

Finley Dickinson was the pick of the British sailors in Athens as he narrowly missed out on a medal in the ILCA 7 class at the ILCA Senior European Championships.

Dickinson, from Hayling Island, Hants, ended the week fourth overall thanks to finishes of third and fourth on a busy final day of racing. The ILCA Under-21 world champion started the regatta brightly by finishing fourth in the opening race, before winning the third.

He followed that up by finishing second in the fourth race to stay in medal contention. Due to poor conditions, there was no medal race on the last day but with three races squeezed in, Dickinson took advantage and climbed from 10th the fourth overall. Dickinson was just three points short of Ireland’s Finn Lynch in third, with Valtteri Uusitalo of Finland taking gold ahead of Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai.

“I am pretty happy,” said Dickinson. “We went out on the last day with the intention to do three races. I had a mixed first one and came 16th but then a good second one.

“I would have been happy to head in but they just got another one off and I had to get my head down. I got a good start and found myself at the front again. I am very happy with this week.”

Arthur Farley was also in ILCA 7 action, as he marked his first appearance in a year with a 34th-place finish. Farley defied the odds to compete in Athens, with the Isle of Wight native battling against a rare form of cancer for the past 12 months.

He only returned to sailing in November and the 20-year-old made good on his appearance at the Senior Europeans, with a pair of fourth-place finishes giving him plenty of confidence for what is to come.

He said: “After a year out, I came to the event without a goal. To have a result which is quite respectable is great. I just tried to keep that mindset and see how I ended up. It was good to be racing again.

“I have only been out 10 or 15 times before the regatta. I haven’t really done that much and it was quite brutal, I was just trying to get to the end of the last race. I’m quite happy with how I performed, it was super tight considering the wind we had and the fleet was super competitive.

“Being out for a year, I am extremely rusty but it is a senior euros personal best for me which is quite decent.”

Fellow British Sailing Squad athlete James Percival-Cooke ended up 22nd in the silver fleet, while transition squad member Kai Wolgram was 31st.

Matilda Nicholls was the highest-finishing Brit in the ILCA 6 women’s gold fleet, as she came home 26th, while Daisy Collingridge topped the silver fleet. Nicholls, who earned a 16th-place finish at the world championships in January, responded well from opening finishes of 32nd and 25th to finish fifth in the third and sixth races.

She said: “It has been a tricky event for me, two bad races cost me a top-10 finish which is a shame but I was happy just coming into this competition approaching it as a learning experience.

“We have a lot of big competitions given it is an Olympic year and this was one to focus more on the process and small goals that I wanted to work on, and I feel like I’ve progressed a lot this week so I am happy in that respect.

“I haven’t really had a competition in a while where we have had such light winds for racing, so it is a great thing to get more experience in. Realistically there is normally at least one day over a regatta that is tricky so having a whole regatta is just more learning in the bag.”

Collingridge won her final race of the regatta with the help of a bullet, while her teammates Samantha Edwards finished 44th, Charlotte Videlo 46th, Iris Singleton 51st and Lucy Davis 55th in the silver fleet.

Full results from the regatta can be found at https://2024-senior.eurilca-europeans.org/results/.

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