Yachting: Maloney, Meech storm into lead

New Zealand's 49erFX pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech has stormed into the lead with one day to run at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, France.

Kiwi sailors will also feature in tonight's medal races in the Finn, 49er, Laser and men's 470 events, with Finn sailor Josh Junior the next best placed of the team and in with a shot at a podium finish.

Conditions were challenging overnight (NZT) but Maloney and Meech dominated the day, with two race wins and a second place to show why they are currently ranked world No 2.

Their results saw them overtake Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook for the lead, with the Kiwis having opened an 18-point margin on the Great British pair heading into tonight's final day of the regatta.

"Final day tomorrow, with three stadium style races,'' Maloney said. ''[It] should be interesting with double points, boundaries and ten minutes races ... Anything could happen.''

Junior will go into the Finn medal races in fourth place overall, just one point behind Pieter Jan Postma (Netherlands). British sailors Giles Scott and Andrew Mills held the top two spots at the end of the penultimate day.

While Junior was ninth then 25th on the water, he discarded the 25th and will go into the medal races hunting his first podium finish at a major international event since switching to the heavy-weight dinghy a year ago.

Andrew Murdoch placed 21st and 16th to slip from the top 10 and miss the cut for tomorrow's medal races. Despite the lapse in form, Murdoch's results throughout the regatta are encouraging given he is still in a learning phase after recently switching classes.

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox made the cut for the 470 medal race and will head into tomorrow lying ninth in the standings. Consistent but not stellar, they were 10th and 15th in their two races.

"Just made it into medal race after a hard day in testing conditions,'' Snow-Hansen said. ''[It's] very close on points between 10th and fifth place and different conditions [are] forecasted for tomorrow.''

Andy Maloney will start the Laser medal race lying seventh after inching one rung up the ladder. He was 13th then 15th and holds 78 points, meaning he is well within reach of those placed just ahead of him but some way back from the leading trio.

Things didn't go the way Sam Meech had hoped, with day five proving his least successful and seeing him slip from the top 10 to record an overall finishing result of 12th place.

In the 49er, Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski were even further up the standings after day five of racing. Taking their second race win of the regatta in the final race, the young pair is now in sixth position, earning themselves a start in medal races.

Although the leaders have a significant points margin, the nature of the last day, which for the skiffs includes three short sharp races worth double points on a tightly defined course, guarantees high pressure racing where big losses and big gains are possible.

New Zealand's Nacra17 crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders were agonisingly close to getting a medal race start but finished in 12th overall, just one point behind the crew placed 10th.

- APNZ

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