Thursday, 25 April 2013

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres : Finals Underway; Snakes and Ladders for NZL

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in action on day three © Thom Touw Photography

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Day three at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres brought champagne sailing with nice waves, sun and good easterly breezes returning some excellent results from most of the New Zealand contingent.

Four kiwi teams remain in the top five of their fleet, with a further four placed within the top ten as they head into day four of the six day regatta (and day two of finals).

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech had their best day of the regatta yet opening the finals series with a race win, and backing that up with a 3rd and a 4th. The young skiff sailors move up the ranks again and now sit 2nd overall four points adrift of the leaders Dobson and Rook of Great Britain.

“Epic day on the water with three intense races in crazy waves,” reports Alex Maloney. “We had a good day, moving up the leader board, but there is definitely room for improvement. Pretty excited for similar conditions tomorrow.”

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox took a slide from 2nd place to 7th in the Men’s 470. Their coach Hamish Willcox describes how things unfolded;

“The boys made a couple of basic mistakes and paid dearly,” says Hamish Willcox. “Race one they were in 6th place around top mark and gained a place each leg of the course to be 3rd before the final run to the finish. Then, disaster as they capsized and lost nine boats and finished 11th.”

After a great start in race two Willcox and Snow-Hansen then chose the wrong side of the track, losing ground, and places to their rivals, to collect a 19th; “Still there is tomorrow to redeem themselves,” says their coach.

The kiwis are on 13 points, equal to the French crew in 6th position, and with three more days of racing they are well within reach of the leaders.

The French show that the breeze was up in the 470s on day 3. Image copyright JM Liot/FF Voile

New Zealand has three representatives sitting top ten in the hotly contested Laser fleet including Sam Meech in 4th (13 points), Thomas Saunders in 5th (18 points) and Andy Maloney moving up to 10th (25 points).

While the top two places in the 113-strong fleet are unchanged after today, beyond that there was some serious shuffling in the standings with nearly all the top placed Laser sailors having at least one average result on the water coupled with the transition in scoring from qualifiers to finals.

While Meech lost one position (to Brazil’s Robert Scheidt), both Saunders and Maloney improved at least two places up the leader board. Maloney now enters the top ten as the regatta hits the midway mark and the points on offer really make a difference.

Super consistent so far Josh Junior continues to hold 4th place in the Finn class after placing 8th and 5th in today’s racing. On nine points he is just four adrift of the overall leader Pieter Jan Postma of the Netherlands.

The points behind Junior are tight and just three back, and in 7th place, is team-mate Andrew Murdoch.

Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski have just had their best day of the regatta also, colleting their first race win, plus another top five finish in the 49er skiff event. The NZL Sailing Team duo rocket up the board; after lying 16th at the outset of day three Hansen and Porebski are now in 10th place as the pressure starts to mount.

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders have opened the finals stage in fine form racing the Nacra 17 mixed multihull. The pair, who were lying 26th heading into today, clocked up a 5, 9, 6 scorecard and jump up to 13th overall.

Like the 49erFX the Nacra 17 is new to the Olympic programme marking the return of the multihull and offering a mixed female, male combination.

Both Jones and Saunders have represented New Zealand at ISAF Youth World Championships, and Saunders was one half of New Zealand’s Men’s 470 pair who finished 5th at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Jason Saunders, along with Sam Meech and Andy Maloney competing in the Laser fleet, will sail an AC45 as part of the NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand at September’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

Racing continues in Hyeres tomorrow with an increase in wind forecast. Each fleet has two more days of finals racing before the Saturday’s medal races and prize-giving.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, 2013
New Zealand’s standings after day three

4th Josh Junior (4, 8, 5)
7th Andrew Murdoch (NZL Sailing Team) (5, 7, 8)

10th Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski - 49er (NZL Sailing Team) (19, 17, 5, 1)

2nd Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech - 49er FX (3, 1, 3, 4)

4th Sam Meech (NZL Sailing Team) (3, 18, 10)
5th Thomas Saunders (7, 11, 46)
10th Andy Maloney (NZL Sailing Team) (13, 12, 19
54th Andrew McKenzie (2013 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team) (48, 52, 50)
99th Michael Cate (47, 35, 35)
111th Jack Collinson (50, 59, 54)

MEN’S 470
7th Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL Sailing Team) (2, 11, 19)
29th Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson (18, 32, 30)

13th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (26, 5, 9, 6)
21st Tomer Simhony and Nicole van der Velden (19, 28, 25, 15)

Yachting New Zealand website
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres regatta website
NZL Sailing Team on Facebook