Yachting: Kiwi duo take the lead amid tough conditions

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech piloting their 49erFx in Auckland
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech piloting their 49erFx in Auckland

New Zealand's 49erFX sailors Alex Maloney and Molly Meech stormed into the lead with one day to run at ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France - heading a contingent of medal hopes due to race overnight.

Kiwi sailors are also strongly placed in the medal races in the Finn, 49er, Laser and men's 470 events, with Finn sailor Josh Junior the next-best placed of the team and in with a shot at a podium finish.

Conditions were challenging yesterday but Maloney and Meech dominated the day, with two race wins and a second place to show why they are currently ranked world No 2. Their results saw them overtake Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook for the lead, with the Kiwis having opened an 18-point margin on the Great British pair heading into the final day of the regatta.

"Final day tomorrow, with three stadium-style races," Maloney said. "[It] should be interesting with double points, boundaries and 10-minute races ... Anything could happen."

Junior will go into the Finn medal races in fourth place overall, just one point behind Pieter Jan Postma (Netherlands). British sailors Giles Scott and Andrew Mills held the top two spots at the end of the penultimate day. While Junior was ninth, then 25th on the water, he was able to discard the 25th and will go into the medal races hunting his first podium finish at a major international event since switching to the heavyweight dinghy a year ago.

Andrew Murdoch placed 21st and 16th to slip from the top 10 and miss the cut for the medal races. Despite the lapse in form, Murdoch's results throughout the regatta are encouraging, given he is still in a learning phase after recently switching classes.

- APNZ

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