Sailing: Strong day from Kiwi sailors in Spain

Molly Meech and Alexandra Maloney on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / Getty Images
Molly Meech and Alexandra Maloney on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / Getty Images

The New Zealand contingent had a strong penultimate day at the 2016 49er and 49erFX European Championships in Barcelona, Spain today with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on track to take another victory, and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech sailing themselves back into podium contention.

Conditions in Barcelona were tricky and puffy, requiring full concentration from the sailors. Both the 49er and 49erFx fleets sailed three races.

With a day to go Burling and Tuke look hard to beat for the 2016 49er European crown. Securing this one would extend their incredible unbeaten run of regatta victories even further and make it four back to back 49er European Championship titles - to match their four consecutive 49er World Championship wins.

Today they managed to push further ahead of the pack on points and are now 41 clear of 2012 Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). They placed third in the first race of the day, then 17th in the second race, but nearly everyone on the race track collected one average result in today's tricky winds, and they bounced back with a second.

Tomorrow's schedule includes three gold fleet races starting at 10am in Spain, with a medal race later in the day. With the extra racing planned on the final day (more often only the medal race is sailed on the last day) Burling and Tuke don't have this one in the bag just yet.

New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were the most consistent crew on the 49erFX course today and they've bounced back into medal contention after starting the day in ninth overall.

With a fourth, a second and a fourth in today's three races the NZL Sailing Team pair have leap-frogged up to fourth overall with some of their rivals struggling in today's conditions.

Maloney and Meech are on 69 points, eight adrift of Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) in third with 61 points, while in second place, Victoria Travascio and Maria Sol Brannz (ARG) have 60 points. The scene is set for an exciting battle between these crews on the water tomorrow.

Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) lead the 49erFX going into the final day, 10 points ahead of the Argentinians.

New Zealand's Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland took a race win today, a milestone moment for the young Aon Fast Track Squad crew competing against the best Olympic women's skiff sailors in the world.

With the win, and a fourth among their results today they also climbed the standings and will go into the final day in 11th place with a shot at making the top ten medal race.

Logan Dunning-Beck and Jack Simpson bagged a great result today, in race 14, with a second place. They are in 15th overall.

"We thought we were going to grab a win, but the Italians pinched us right on the line. It was fun to get a good one in," said Dunning Beck.

Meanwhile in Mexico, the 2016 Women's Laser Radial World Championships got underway yesterday with three kiwis competing among the 70-strong fleet.

The best placed after day one is Sara Winther lying 22nd after a 10th and a 15th on the opening day.

- NZ Herald

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