Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sofia Mapfre Trophy, Palma : Three Medals for New Zealand

by Jodie Bakewell-White

New Zealand has won three medals at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma – the first of the major European World Cup Regattas for Olympic classes: Gold to Andy Maloney in the Laser, Silver to Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech in the 49erFX and Bronze to Sam Meech also in the Laser.

The medals have come despite New Zealand’s 2012 Olympic medallists not competing at this regatta, giving a strong indication that the NZL Sailing Team is in good shape very early on in this new Olympic cycle.

Lying 3rd equal going into today Andy Maloney knocked it out of the park on the last day of competition coming away with two race wins in the two medal races sailed. The bullets, worth zero, added nothing to his overall pointscore and he concluded the six day regatta eight points clear of former leader Tom Burton of Australia who was looking hard to beat.

Burton placed 3rd in the first of the medal races but was hit with an OCS in the next race relegating him to 2nd place overall and the silver medal.

Meanwhile NZL Sailing Team’s Sam Meech sailed strongly to place 5th and 3rd and claim the bronze medal. This is an excellent result for Meech who is a two-time medallist for New Zealand at ISAF Youth World Championships with gold in 2009 and bronze in 2008.

Andy Maloney has this to say; “It was a really good day. With the new system and having two medal races there were a lot of points up for grabs. It was good to get different conditions out there with some offshore breeze and really shifty. It went pretty well to get two wins – I couldn’t have asked for much more.”

“It feels pretty good to come from 3rd equal to win the event today, really good day,” he continues.
“We’ll have a bit of a week off, a break from sailing and then we’ll head over to Hyeres for the next World Cup event.”

Both Andy Maloney and Sam Meech will sail in September’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup as part of the NZL Sailing Team with Emirates Team New Zealand, both announced in February among the crew selections to sail on an AC45 with Peter Burling at the helm.

The 49erFX women’s skiff event was always going to capture the spotlight at this regatta. A new class for the Rio Olympic Games this is the first time the current campaigners from around the world have truly come together and lined up on the same race track.

Billed as one of the crews to watch, the young kiwi pairing of Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech have kept their composure among the hype and concentrated on the business of sailing – earning themselves the silver medal along the way.

Sailing four stadium style races today with only eight boats on the course the kiwis were 4th, 2nd, 2nd and wrapped things up with a win. Across the six days of racing Maloney and Meech won five races and only finished outside the top eight on one occasion.

Denmark’s Nielson and Olsen have sailed an almost faultless regatta and with three wins for them today they have taken the gold medal convincingly.

New Zealand featured two representatives in the Finn medal races today – Andrew Murdoch has placed 7th at what is his international debut in the Finn class after announcing his switch from the Laser earlier this year. Today Murdoch was 8th and 4th on the water.

Josh Junior also a former Finn sailor has finished 8th overall just behind Murdoch in the overall standings.
Today Junior was 6th and 9th in the two medal races sailed.

Jez Fanstone, High Performance Manager is pleased with the overall team’s performance in Palma; “Andy (Maloney) sailed really well, and Sam did well to hang in there and take the bronze too.”

“Great from Alex and Molly at this regatta which is their first in a full strength fleet, and a huge opportunity for learning. Tom Saunders is really stepping things up and Josh and Andrew have had a great first showing the Finn.”

“New combination Paul and Dan only just missed their medal race in the 470 by one point, and the Nacra crew of Gemma and Jason are doing good things too. Everyone is in good spirits.”

The next major event for the NZL Sailing Team is ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres on from 20-27 April.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma
New Zealand’s standings after day five

1st Andy Maloney (NZL Sailing Team)
3rd Sam Meech (NZL Sailing Team)
15th Thomas Saunders
2nd Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech
7th Andrew Murdoch (NZL Sailing Team)
8th Josh Junior
470 Men
11th Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL Sailing Team)
31st Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson
38th Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL Sailing Team) – winners silver fleet
Nacra 17
20th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders
25th Nicole van der Velden and Tomer Simhony

Full Results
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Yachting New Zealand website
ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta website
ISAF website