Yachting: Meech stands out on day 2 of Sail Auckland

Sam Meech in action duringthe 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Photo / Getty Images
Sam Meech in action duringthe 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland provided another gorgeous sunny day for day two of 2016 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland with an arriving sea breeze building through the day allowing all scheduled fleets to get underway and complete plenty of racing on day two.

Sam Meech continues to top the men's Olympic single-handed Laser class featuring 20 boats including a strong contingent of international visitors. He leads, by a single point, from Colin Cheng of Singapore.

"I had a great day, we had two light wind races and then the wind picked up, the sea breeze filled in and we had two slightly stronger races, so it was a good day for me," said Meech after racing.

"I found it a little tricky in the first two when it was a bit lighter, but when the breeze got up I felt really good and was going quite fast so I'm really happy."

Meech, a member of the NZL Sailing Team, talks about his approach for the next couple of days, "We're only half way through, so a lot can change, obviously.

I'll just keep trying to get good starts and racing how I have been."

"It's fantastic to sail on our home waters here in New Zealand - I am loving it," he adds.

Jack Simpson and Logan Dunning Beck retain their lead in the 49er class having now sailed eight races over the opening two days of the regatta. They took two wins from four races sailed off Murrays Bay today and are three points out in front from Isaac McHardie and Trent Rippey.

The Laser Radial fleet, which features men, women and youth sailors competing on the same race-track, also sailed four races today, with Susannah Pyatt retaining her overall lead. Scott Leith, 2015 Laser Radial Masters World Champ and Commodore of host Club Murray's Bay has climbed into 2nd place overall just two points back from Pyatt.

George Gautrey, from Wellington's Muritai Yacht Club, is the best placed youth entrant in the Laser Radial and holds third overall.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are showing their class and experience in the 49erFX standings finishing ahead of Aon Fast Track Squad sailors Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland in all four races today and extending their lead.

While in the Nacra 17 the NZL Sailing Team's Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are enjoying the close racing with Aon Fast Track Squad crew Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson. Going into day two they were even on points after taking two wins each on day one.

Gemma Jones explains; "For us it's pretty much a match race because there is only two boats. It's really exciting actually, to get a different style of racing here and the young team is keeping us on our toes."

"It's really even and it's really good racing for us."

Today the Jones and Saunders combination had the edge and have taken the lead.

Up at Fairway Bay on the Whangaparoa Peninsula the Sonars continued their tussle with Rick Dodson, Andrew May and Chris Sharp taking another clean-sweep of wins from John Weston and crew. Winning all three of today's races they take a comfortable lead into day three.

The Hansa Liberty fleet got underway today, also based at Fairway Bay with Sara Dunckley from Evans Bay Yacht & Motorboat Club in Wellington opening with a dream start to her regatta, winning all three races today. Robert Coulter and Tim Dempsey are tied on points just behind her.

There is no change to the top three places in the 29er division even though they added four races to the score-board today. Jackson Keon and Tom Fyffe lead from Sebastian Lardies and Scott McKenzie, but with only two points separating the rivals, representing Murrays Bay Sailing Club and Kohimarama Yacht Club respectively, it's all on again for them tomorrow.

Crystal Sun and Zelda Ladefoged took a race win today and are the best placed 29er girls crew at the half way mark.

In the 420 fleet Josh Berry and Henry Haslett had the edge today and have taken the lead from Jonathon Weston and Taylor Balogh. Xanthe Copeland and Karensa Jennings are the best placed girls crew and lie third overall.

Tomorrow the Flying 15 and OK Dinghy classes will join the action, while all other fleets resume racing for more competition over the weekend. 2016 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland wraps up on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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