Yachting: Great start by Kiwis in Argentina

Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders of New Zealand compete in the Men's 470. Photo / Getty Images
Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders of New Zealand compete in the Men's 470. Photo / Getty Images

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have made a dream start to the 2016 470 World Championships with two race wins to lead the fleet after the opening day of the pinnacle Olympic class regatta which got underway today in Argentina.

In the women's fleet Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie placed sixth and 13th in their two races to hold ninth overall at the end of day one.

The 11am start to racing in San Isidro, Argentina was postponed until the light breeze built enough for the men's and women's 470 fleets to open the Championship which runs for six days until February 27.

"Race 1 for the 470 Women got underway soon after midday, but was abandoned after around 20 minutes due to a significant change of wind direction," describes the official report.

Racing got underway at around 2:30pm local time in a building easterly breeze and lasted into the late afternoon with two races sailed by both fleets.

The men and women are sailing a single series, so all the heavy hitters are up against each other from the outset and every single point counts. In a light and shifty breeze, and a hard to read silty water, technique makes all the difference.

The NZL Sailing Team men's combination of Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox, being coached at this event by Hamish Willcox, can be delighted with their opening day performance with two race wins to hold the overall lead going into day two. With plenty of racing yet to come, they will be keen to maintain their early momentum.

Behind the Kiwis Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic of Croatia are in second place, five points adrift of Snow-Hansen and Willcox, while Italy's Gabrio Zandona and Andrea Trani are in third.

Half a dozen women's crews suffered a UFD disqualification for being over the start-line in the last minute, including some major players, but fortunately Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie weren't among them, and they came away from their first race with a sixth place. Adding a 13th in race two sees the New Zealand women, who are coached by Nathan Handley, lying ninth overall.

USA's Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha have the overall lead in the women's fleet after two races.

Meanwhile, in Israel the 2016 RS:X World Championships is underway with Natalia Kosinska representing New Zealand in the women's fleet, lying 16th overall at this early stage.

- NZ Herald

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