The Laser is one of the most competitive of the Olympic classes internationally but three Kiwis have shown good early-season form to be in the top 10 after two days at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma.

A massive 183 Lasers lined up for the first major multi-class European regatta of the season, which meant avoiding big scores was critical over the first few days and the top three New Zealanders escaped relatively unscathed.

Sam Meech (Tauranga) banked a series of good scores (2, 5, 8) in the three races to sit in second, one point behind 2016 youth world champion Finn Alexander of Australia and three points ahead of world champion Pavlos Kontides (Cyprus).

Andrew McKenzie continued his good form and is fourth with fellow Kiwi Tom Saunders (Tauranga) jumping up to ninth with three top 10 results including a win in his second race.


The top 60 boats now move into gold fleet, which also includes 2015 youth sailing world championships silver medallist George Gautrey (34th), but they will all be hoping for some more consistent breeze than the first two days, which was a bit of a lottery.

"Conditions started off pretty promisingly with some good breeze and it was nice to hike for a little bit but it slowly deteriorated and the wind got light and fickle, which made it quite stressful," Saunders said.

"You could look really good at times and pretty average at times so it was weighing up risk versus reward. I'm pretty happy with the day, especially to come away without any big scores.

"Hopefully, there will be a bit more breeze so we will see what we get. We move on to gold fleet now so racing starts again and hopefully I can bang out a couple of consistent results to set me up for the rest of the week."

Meech is in a strong position, with his worst result and discard so far the eighth he collected in the last race. It gives him a little more breathing space than others like McKenzie who has a 43rd on his record along with three top-10s.

A healthy number of New Zealand crews are well placed in other fleets, with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (Tauranga) ninth in the 49erFX, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Tauranga) 10th and Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson 14th in the Nacra 17, Andy Maloney 13th in the Finn and Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox 16th in the men's 470.

The 49er is another class to attract a big fleet with 91 boats and Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey (Tauranga) were content to make the top-25 gold fleet.

They climbed up to 22nd overnight with three decent results, including a fourth and third, but are looking forward to more breeze in the coming days.

"Two days of qualifying is always really tough, especially when the breeze is light and there are a lot of 49ers on each course so a few really good boats unfortunately missed out [on gold fleet] so we are just relieved to scrape through. Hopefully, we can move up the leaderboard over the next three days," Porebski said.