Irish sailor Saskia Tidey and partner Freya Black admit a ‘massive weight’ has been lifted off their shoulders after clinching Team GB an Olympic quota spot at the Allianz Sailing World Championships.
Dun Laoghaire-born Tidey, 30, and partner Freya Black came home in an impressive fifth place in The Hague, more than enough to book Britain’s ticket to Paris next summer in the 49FXer classification.
Though Black and Tidey are not guaranteed to take that Olympic sport quite yet, an encouraging display on the Dutch coast has given them huge confidence and reassurance ahead of the coming year.
“It obviously went really well for us, we qualified the nation and finished fifth,” said Black.
“It was pretty challenging sailing competitions with a lot of waves, troughs and tides, which made it quite an interesting week - but we dealt with it really well which was good to see, and we’re really happy with the result.
“It’s a massive weight off our shoulders, this was the first chance to qualify and it would only get harder from here if we didn’t.
“It just means that this winter, we can actually focus on the Olympics rather than having to qualify the nation.”
Tidey added: “It’s a personal best for us, this World Championships. It’s really exciting to have picked up a lot of momentum, and I hope we’ve done enough now to keep pushing forward to the Olympics now. We’re really looking forward to this winter.
Friday brings the Women's Skiff medal race 🙌
Bobeck & Netzler will finish with the gold medal but there's still a battle for the other places on the podium.@allianzsailing | #GetReadyForTheBest | #AllianzSWC2023TheHague pic.twitter.com/YMqSjVzL7l
— World Sailing 🌎⛵️ (@worldsailing) August 17, 2023
“The British Sailing team, as always, has created such a great environment. It’s been really cool to experience this around the rest of the team and take quite a lot from others.
“It’s been a really positive experience.”
A successful display in The Hague means that the duo can start looking towards next season, with less pressure on them across the winter.
But there is still plenty they want to work on ahead of then.
“This is the perfect time to take a bit of a breather and review our year as a whole,” commented Tidey.
“I’m pretty sure that boat handling this year has let us down. Boat handling when it comes to the 49er is all about time, that’s been a battle for us this year - having the time to do that.
“We’re really looking forward to working hard this winter and becoming slicker around the course.”
Follow the British Sailing Team after the Sailing World Championships in The Hague, Netherlands, on Instagram at @britishsailing