Sailing: Kiwi crews in top spots

Josh junior during the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Photo / Getty Images
Josh junior during the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Photo / Getty Images

At the close of day two 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres the NZL Sailing Team are in the top two in three events, with a total of nine Kiwi crews placed within the top 10.

While day one produced top end conditions, with capsizes, rig and boat damage across the fleets, today things turned around and the sailors faced the challenge of a no wind delay, followed by a shifty building breeze.

Nevertheless plenty of racing was completed and the Kiwi team feature heavily among the front runners.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke retain their lead in the men's skiff. A win, a 6th and a 3rd in today's three races has them out in front by three points with the young Aussie Phillips brothers still the closest of the chasing pack in second.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie appear 2nd in the standings after day two, but on net points are 1st equal with long-time rivals Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke of the British Sailing Team.

The NZL Sailing Team women, who already have the nod for Rio 2016, opened the day with a 17th, then bounced back with a sixth place. Able to drop the race three result from their points tally Team Jolly are well placed in the standings but have less room for error going into the remaining two days of fleet racing ahead of Sunday's medal race.

Jo Aleh reports, "[It was a] hard day today. We had some glamour starts but just didn't get our first beats right. On a race track which didn't seem to have many passing lanes it was a little painful at times."

Always resilient Aleh adds, "Will try again tomorrow!"

Josh Junior has been overtaken for the lead in the Finn class by Australia's Jake Lilley who won both races sailed today to take the top spot.

At the end of day two Junior, who is locked in a tough fought Olympic selection battle with team-mate Andrew Murdoch, is in second, six points adrift of Lilley. Murdoch is lying 10th after a 19th and a ninth in today's Finn races.

Racing against 38 other double-handed crews Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox have retained fourth in the men's 470 fleet adding a couple of top ten race results today with a 10th and then a third.

Snow Hansen and Willcox were named in March as the men's 470 crew to sail to Rio 2016 for New Zealand, and earlier this year they returned a career topping world championship silver medal in February.

In the Laser class, like the Finn, it's yet to be decided who will represent New Zealand at Rio 2016 with very little to split top contenders Sam Meech and Andy Maloney.

Maloney and Meech chatted to World Sailing about it. Maloney noted, "It's pretty even between me and Sam. We are both sailing really well at the moment and the main focus is get on top of the fleet here [in Hyères] and hopefully that will be enough to impress the selectors."

Echoing Maloney's view on the Sailing World Cup Hyères, Meech said; "This is an important one for us coming at a time where they [Yachting New Zealand] will be choosing. We both have a really good chance and whoever sails well could go, but we are at a similar level so it will be very tricky for the selectors."

Maloney explains that despite the selection matter he and Meech are still team-mates that can learn from each other, "We still do de-briefs together and bounce ideas off each other. One person will do better in one condition, the other person in another condition, and we can learn off each other from those situations, but naturally, you do keep some little things to yourself."

Currently Meech is lying 9th and Maloney is 11th with just three points separating the two kiwis on the leader-board at the end of day two 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres.

Notably Erica Dawson (21 years) and Ellie Copeland (20 years), the young Aon Fast Track Squad 49erFX pair opened their regatta with a race win. The women's skiff fleet got underway today, with racing blown out in yesterday's windy conditions, and they completed four races on day two to catch up.

Dawson and Copeland are lying seventh in the 24 boat fleet featuring most of those known to be representing their country at Rio 2016.

NZL Sailing Team's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are in 10th in the quality fleet after placing ninth, 22nd, fourth and 13th in today's four races.

The Nacra fleet recovered from yesterday's carnage to hot the water today and complete four races throughout the afternoon. Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are now lying 6th overall with a couple of great races to start, and a couple of mid-pack finishes. Their score-card today looks like this: 4, 3, 18, 19.

The second New Zealand Nacra pair of Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson (Aon Fast Track Squad) are currently lying 24th overall.

In the Laser Radial New Zealand's only representative Sara Winther is lying 20th in the fleet of 29 boats, while in the Women's RS:X Natalia Kosinska is 28th overall among 40 women competing.

2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres runs over five days with plenty more fleet racing to come over the coming two days ahead of Sunday's medal races.

- NZ Herald

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