Dana Johannsen

Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald’s chief sports reporter

Yachting: Two golds, two silvers reward sailors' World Cup efforts in France

Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh comfortably earned their gold medal. Photo / Franck Socha
Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh comfortably earned their gold medal. Photo / Franck Socha

The New Zealand sailing team have wrapped up the ISAF Sailing World Cup season with a impressive four-medal haul at the final regatta in Hyeres, France.

Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie picked up gold in the women's 470 fleet, while the ever-consistent world champion 49er pairing of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke also brought home gold after dominating throughout the week. The wins represented back-to-back gold for both crews, who topped their fleets at the previous World Cup event in Palma this month.

Young Laser sailor Andy Maloney was also in the medals in France, winning silver after a close medal race with Australian Tom Burton. Maloney's sister, Alexandra, matched him with a silver in the 49erFX class with partner Molly Meech.

The results put New Zealand among the top performers at the regatta, with an identical medal haul to Australia and Poland.

Powrie said she and Aleh, the current world champions and ISAF female sailors of the year, were pleased to finish the season with another win.

"We put together a relatively good series, which was nice," said Powrie. "We're happy to be heading home next."

The pair made things hard on themselves in the medal race, going back and restarting after jumping the gun. But they managed to claw their way back through the fleet to finish fourth in the double points race and come away with the overall win by a comfortable eight-point margin over Great Britain's Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre.

Dominant throughout the week, Burling and Tuke rounded out the regatta in a more emphatic fashion with three solid races on the final day, including a gun in the opener.

"I'm pretty stoked to take the win. We had a pretty big lead but it was mathematically possible to lose it so we made sure we did the job in the first race and had a bit of fun in the last two," said Burling.

The silver medal went to Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Mathew McGovern while Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen of Australia came through on the final day to push Kiwis Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski out of the medals and into fourth. The younger Kiwi pair sailed strongly all week and will be disappointed to miss out on a medal by the narrowest of margins.

Josh Junior also came up agonisingly short of the podium, finishing fourth in the Finn. But the young sailor can be satisfied with his performance over the week - a remarkable improvement from his last outing in Palma, where he placed 16th.

In all, eight Kiwi crews finished inside the top 10 in Hyeres - a promising sign as the team look ahead to the world championships in Spain in September.

- NZ Herald

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