Josh Junior and Andy Maloney were looking forward to tucking into a steak after a tiring third day at the Finn Europeans in Cadiz, Spain, overnight (NZ time).

The fleet spent seven hours on the water and sailed three races in the 15-24 knot conditions to make up for time lost earlier in the regatta. Junior moved up to fifth overall, 11 points off third, after a fourth, 25th and ninth in today's races. Maloney started the day in the top 10 and is now 18th overall in the fleet of 91 boats with fellow Kiwi Brendan McCarty 39th.

Junior is competing in his first major centreboard regatta since the 2016 Rio Olympics and Maloney is in his first since switching from the Laser to the heavyweight dinghy and the pair were feeling the effects.

"I hope the rest of the fleet are tired because me and Andy are," Junior said. "Today was long and windy with seven hours on the water. We're looking forward to having a steak and trying to get our energy back.

"The fleet is huge. It's hard to get off the start line in good shape because it's about 500m long and you don't know what's going on with the wind at the other end of the line. When you're back in 50th or 60th you certainly know about it."

Junior has banked four top-10 results in his six races, including two fourths, to be within sight of the leaders. Nicholas Heiner of the Netherlands, who spent the summer in New Zealand training with Junior and Maloney, extended his lead and is now nine points ahead of Great Britain's Edward Wright. World champion Max Salminen of Sweden climbed five places to third.

Junior and Maloney, who are working closely together as they work towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, are reasonably happy with how they are sailing in their return to big dinghy fleets.

"I'm having some good races and going well at times but, as expected, I'm making some mistakes which are proving costly," Junior said. "In some areas I'm not going as well as I hoped or expected and need to find more speed upwind and get off the start line better.

"We had no expectations going into the regatta [after such a long break]. We came here to see where we are at and what we need to do to make the next step. Overall, we're pretty happy."

Good breezes of about 15 knots are forecast for the next couple of days before the top-10 medal race and Junior had one wish.

"I hope everyone else gets more tired than we do because we're feeling it."

Results and standings after the third day of the Finn European championships in Cadiz, Spain, overnight (NZ time):

1st: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 1 7 2 1 (17) 5 - 16 points

2nd: Edward Wright (GBR) 9 1 5 7 (20) 3 - 25 pts

3rd: Max Salminen (SWE) (31) 18 1 5 11 2 - 37 pts

5th: Josh Junior (NZL) 6 (43) 4 4 25 9 - 48 pts

18th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 12 15 24 (29) 12 20 - 83 pts

39th: Brendan McCarty (NZ) 30 24 29 (49) 45 46 - 174 pts

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