New Zealand sailors made a successful start to the European season in winning three medals at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, the third-most of any nation at the event.

Sam Meech (Tauranga) collected silver in the Laser, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (Tauranga) were second in the 49erFX and Andy Maloney won bronze in the Finn. Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey (Tauranga) finished just outside the medals, having to settle for fourth in the 49er.

Sam Meech and Maloney were virtually assured medals going into the double points top-10 medal race and Meech capped off his week by winning the final race. But Maloney and Meech were in a dogfight with a handful of other crews for the minor medals in the 49erFX and handled the pressure well to claim silver — as at the Rio Olympics.

The pair started the day in third but moved up a position on the back of a fourth to finish two points ahead of Odile Van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens of the Netherlands. Another Dutch combination, Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz, dominated the week, finishing 48 points ahead of Maloney and Meech to win gold.

Advertisement

"We sailed pretty well upwind but went from third to 10th on the first downwind. It was quite shifty out there and difficult to get into pressure but we've done really well backing ourselves and trusting our instincts and managed to move up to second overall. There's an element of luck in sailing and we felt a bit lucky to finish where we did," Maloney said.

"We were a bit frustrated during the week because we know what we are capable of but to have these feelings and come away with second is a good start to the season. We know we can do even better."

It was an encouraging week for Maloney as it was just his second major regatta since switching from the Laser to the Finn. He won two races during the week and banked six top-10 results, which was not easy in a fleet of 73 boats.

Olympic champion Giles Scott of Great Britain was a model of consistency to win gold, finishing ahead of former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner of the Netherlands who also recently switched to the heavyweight dinghy.

Sam Meech has continued to prove he is one of the world's top Laser sailors and highlighted that with a win in the medal race. It was his third race win of the regatta and he backed that up with nine top-10 finishes in 11 races but it still wasn't enough to topple Australia's Matthew Wearn.

Fellow Kiwi Tom Saunders (Tauranga) was seventh in the medal race and eighth overall.

The 49er class came to a dramatic conclusion with the top three teams all within four points of each other. Porebski and Rippey couldn't quite get themselves into that equation and were fifth in the medal race and a very encouraging fourth overall.