Sam Meech 3rd going into Laser medal race

By Yachting NZ

Sam Meech will go into the Olympic Laser Medal Race well placed for a bronze after winning the final fleet race in the mens single-handed fleet at Rio 2016.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke retain the overall lead going into the scheduled reserve day for skiff sailors. And New Zealands womens skiff pair of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech won a race today, and returned solid keepers in three others, to climb into 3rd overall, tied on points with 2nd place.

Nacra team Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders also had a solid day and retain 4th overall and well in the mix for a podium finish with one more day of qualifying to go.

Laser - Sam Meech

25 year-old Sam Meech will go into the Laser medal race lying 3rd overall and well positioned to take a podium finish with a nine point gap on Frances Jean Baptiste Bernaz in 4th.

Today proved critical for those competing in the largest fleet of the Olympic sailing regatta and the young kiwi, who is at his first Olympic Games, came out on the right side of it claiming his first Olympic race win in race ten.

"Its fantastic to be going into the medal race with a bib - that was my goal from the start of the week so Im really stoked with that," said Meech referring to the fact he is placed in the top three and will wear the red bib for the medal race on Monday in Brazil.

Looking at the score-card ambitious Meech commented, "Im kinda regretting those ten points I lost on the third day but thats sailing you know - you have good races you have bad races."

Other top contenders, including local hero Robert Scheidt (BRA), and Britains Nick Thompson suffered at least one average score today, and have slipped back in the standings.

Croatias Tonci Stipanovic has the overall lead ten points clear of Australias Tom Burton and will potentially focus on ensuring the Aussie doesnt steal gold from him in the deciding race. Meech would have to close a ten point gap on Burton to win silver which is achievable, but challenging.

The stage is set for an exciting top ten double-points medal race scheduled for 2pm local time on Monday 15 August.

49er - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke sailed four races today and came off the water pleased. The overnight leaders placed 5th, 2nd, 8th and 6th in racing today and are now halfway through their qualifying series with a reserve day tomorrow to rest.

Blair Tuke said, "We didnt feel like we sailed that well, but to come away from it with four low scores were really happy. It was a tough day, but were happy.

"With four races today it was a big chunk of the fleet racing so, like weve been saying it was really solid just to keep ticking away. Certainly not as pretty as we maybe did yesterday, but were really happy with it."

Burling reported that sailing conditions on the Aeroporto course were less shifty than yesterday on Guanabara Bay.

"It was a lot more consistent, so you only had one shot to get it right and if you were behind half way up the first beat and were pretty deep you had to deliver some pretty good racing to get back to the top five," said Burling.

"We were really happy, from where we were in a few of the races, to get some low scores on the board and to keep it pretty clean."

Burling and Tuke end the day three points ahead of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER). The top two placed crews have opened a solid gap on the rest of the fleet with Jonas Warrer and Christian Lubeck (DEN) 15 points adrift of the Germans.

After tomorrows rest day the 49er fleet return for two more days of qualifying, before another rest day which precedes their medal race on Thursday 18 August in Rio.

49erFX - Alex Maloney and Molly Meech

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech also finsihed the day with a race win and add that with another three top five finishes to their points tally. The New Zealand women skiff pair have now pulled themselves up into 3rd overall, tied on points with the Brazilian crew of Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze in 2nd.

"We had a pretty consistent day and managed to win the last race so that was a really cool way to finish it off," said Meech.

Helm Alex Maloney said, "We had glamour conditions today. Molly and my teamwork is going really well so were really happy with how we are going."

"There are probably eight girls who could potentially medal and a lot of the others are really pushing hard so its really good racing."

Their schedule mirrors that of the mens 49er fleet, and they enjoy a rest day tomorrow before getting back into it.

Nacra - Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders sailed three races today in the Nacra event where things remain very close at the top of the fleet with just one more day of qualifying to run.

The kiwis retain 4th overall after nine races with 51 points on the score-card, theyre just two points off 2nd place. Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli of Italy and British Sailing Teams Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves share 49 points in 2nd and 3rd place with the Australian cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmain leading on 46 points.

In todays racing Jones and Saunders placed 4th, 8th and 12th. Behind the kiwis the points are close and tomorrow will be crucial for all those vying for the first ever Nacra Olympic podium.

They return for three more tomorrow then have a rest day with their medal race planned for 2pm Tuesday 16 August.

Finn - Josh Junior

Josh Junior is in 13th overall after eight race sin the Finn class and is hoping to sail well in tomorrows two final qualifiers and break into the top ten positions for a start in the medal race.

It was a mixed bag for Junior today who finished 18th in the first of the day, then rebounded with a 2nd.

He described his day as, "Up and down - one really good, one really bad."

"One more day of racing tomorrow, hopefully I can get into the top ten and make the medal race - big day tomorrow."

Elsewhere

Both New Zealand 470 crews - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in the womens, and Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willox in the mens - were on a scheduled rest day today. They will both be back in action again tomorrow with three races planned in each to catch up for the loss of one race yesterday.

NZL Sailing Team current standings

1st Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) (1, 1, 5, 2, 8, 6)

3rd Sam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 13, 6, 12, 1)

3rd Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX) (6, 5, 4, 4, 5, 1))

4th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) (9, 15, 7, 5, 4, 2, 4, 8, 12)

6th Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Womens 470) (21DSQ, 1, 4, 1, 12)

13th Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Mens 470) (2, 10, 20, 15, 23)

13th Josh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD, 14, 14, 5, 3, 18, 2)

Full results are available on the Rio 2016 website: https://www.rio2016.com/en/schedule-and-results

On tomorrows schedule;

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders - Nacra 17 - Races 10, 11 & 12

Josh Junior - Finn - Races 9 & 10

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie - W470 - Races 6, 7 & 8

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox - M470 - 6, 7 & 8

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech - 49erFX - Reserve day

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke - 49er - Reserve day

Sam Meech - Laser - Reserve day

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand

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