Josh Junior will tonight (NZ time) race for gold at the sailing world championships but he almost had it in his grasp today before the Finn fleet were quite literally turned upside down.

The 28-year-old was leading overall at the start of the day's final race, and was comfortable in sixth at the top mark for the final time, but things were about to become decidedly uncomfortable.

A massive storm blew into the Bay of Aarhus, with the wind spiking from about seven to 37 knots in the space of seconds. Seven of the top nine boats in the race capsized as they were overwhelmed, including Junior, and one sailor saw his mast snap.

Junior did well to limit the damage, finishing 15th in the race to leave him third overall.

Advertisement

He's now eight points behind Sweden's Max Salminen, which is not an insurmountable margin in a top-10, double-points medal race, but, to complicate matters, only four points separate second from sixth.

Junior felt aggrieved after the race and was contemplating a protest to have the race thrown out, given the wind strength was nearly double the racing limit. A sixth-placed finish would have put him in a strong position.

"It has completely influenced the outcome of the regatta but I'm still in the mix to win and that's what I want to do, so tomorrow is about building on that," he said. "I have every opportunity to try to do that.

"When the leaders came around the top mark, we just had so much breeze as we bore away that things were breaking and everyone was capsizing. The guys who came around a little bit later had a little less breeze and managed to get downwind and that turned the whole fleet inside out. I'm a little bit gutted but I'm still in the hunt. I had a good first race. I'll keep chipping away."

Fellow Kiwi Andy Maloney is ninth and will also feature in the medal race, and the pair have ensured New Zealand has earned a spot in the Finn class at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics - the top eight nations qualified.

Sam Meech is also likely to qualify a spot for New Zealand in the Laser fleet in Tokyo but his ambitions are a little higher at this point.

He's dropped one place to fourth today after finishing 13th in the only race possible - another race was abandoned due to light and fickle winds - and the gold fleet will have one more race tomorrow before the medal race the following day.

Reigning world champion Pavlos Kontides took over ownership of the leader's yellow bib and the Cypriot holds a three-point advantage over Matthew Wearn with another Australian, and Olympic champion, Tom Burton another two points behind. Meech is a further eight points back but that's not a great deal considering the gold fleet is comprised of 65 boats.

"[A 13th] would be OK but, unfortunately, the people who I need to be in front of did really well in the race," Meech said. "If I didn't have a bad race yesterday, I would be more than happy with that.

"It's not quite where I wanted to be. We still have one more race tomorrow so there are a lot of points on the line. I will try to get myself back into a good position before the medal race."

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox missed out on a place in the men's 470 medal race and finished 12th overall, but qualified the boat for the Olympics.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech still haven't hit their groove and are eighth in the 49erFX but virtually all teams in the top 10 have a big score on their tally so there's still plenty on the line with three more races scheduled tomorrow before their medal race.

Efforts to get a race in for the 49ers were stymied, so there was no change to the leaderboard - Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn remain second. They had one race abandoned due to wild swings in the wind direction and they just got to shore before the storm hit.

A sea breeze of between 7-10 knots is forecast for tomorrow but we've seen just about everything in Aarhus this week so anything is possible.

Results and standings after the seventh day of the sailing world championships in Aarhus, Denmark, overnight (NZ time):
Laser (165 boats)
1st: Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 8 3 7 2 1 2 (12) 4 2 - 29 points
2nd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 7 4 1 4 3 1 3 9 (15) - 32 pts
3rd: Tom Burton (AUS) 1 5 6 1 2 (27) 11 5 3 - 34 pts
4th: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 1 1 2 13 4 (34) 7 13 - 42 pts
12th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 6 11 21 10 21 2 (32) 2 18 - 91 pts
31st: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 6 4 31 17 5 12 37 (42) 21 - 133 pts
35th: George Gautrey (NZL) 18 14 8 17 21 8 26 32 (34) - 144 pts
104th: Matthew Kempkers (NZL) 40 12 45 (46) 22 33 28 35 35 - 251 pts

Laser Radial (119 boats)1st: Paige Railey (USA) 2 1 16 5 7 7 4 (37) - 42 pts
2nd: Emma Plasschaert (BEL) 5 7 1 (15) 9 3 11 7 - 43 pts
3rd: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 4 3 2 18 2 2 12 (44) - 43 pts
46th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 31 18 41 10 12 29 (42) 25 - 166 pts
57th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 28 48 51 3 12 8 43 (57) - 193 pts
106th: Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) (58) 57 54 20 42 50 47 52 15 - 337 pts

Finn (90 boats)
1st: Max Salminen (SWE) 3 4 16 10 4 1 (21) 8 13 1 - 60 pts
2nd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 13 8 6 (15) 10 5 3 9 7 7 - 68 pts
3rd: Josh Junior (NZL) (25) 3 8 4 8 3 12 7 8 15 - 68 pts
9th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 6 13 5 5 11 13 (24) 1 22 6 - 82 pts

49er (86 boats)
1st: Lucas Rual / Emile Amoros (FRA) 2 1 (6) 3 3 5 - 14 pts
2nd: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 8 2 1 2 (9) 9 - 22 pts
3rd: Tim Fischer / Fabian Graf (GER) 10 (11) 1 5 4 3 - 23 pts
13th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 4 3 (25) 3 4 19 - 33 pts
14th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 7 (18) 14 5 7 1 - 34 pts

49erFX (60 boats)
1st: Tanja Frank / Lorena Abicht (AUT) 7 2 (25) 9 6 4 12 6 1 - 47 pts
2nd: Natasha Bryant / Annie Wilmot (AUS) 7 13 (14) 1 9 2 2 13 5 - 52 pts
3rd: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 3 (26) 8 4 3 5 1 20 11 - 55 pts
8th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 5 13 6 6 11 4 (30) 19 4 - 68 pts

Men's 470 (64 boats)
1st: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 1 3 6 5 5 1 (13) 9 6 8 - 44 pts
2nd: Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi (JPN) 5 6 2 7 1 (25) 16 10 1 2 - 50 pts
3rd: Kevin Peponnet / Jeremie Mion (FRA) 11 11 3 1 9 2 3 (24) 3 7 - 50 pts
12th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) (25) 5 7 3 14 11 23 4 STP 15 12 - 94 pts

Women's 470 (47 boats)
1st: Ai Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka (JPN) (12) 1 3 6 2 5 6 - 23 pts
2nd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 2 6 4 7 8 (36) 1 - 28 pts
3rd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (BGR) 9 14 1 1 5 3 (18) - 33 pts
35th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds Smith (NZL) (40) 39 34 26 34 19 24 - 175 pts

Nacra 17 (68 boats)
1st: Santiago Lange / Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) 3 2 2 2 3 (6) 4 - 16 pts
2nd: Samuel Albrecht / Gabriela Nicolino de Sa (BRA) 9 3 5 1 (14) 1 2 - 21 pts
3rd: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 5 4 3 (35 BFD) 4 5 5 - 26 pts
13th: Olivia Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 4 7 (26) 6 8 21 - 49 pts
51st: Gemma Jones Jason Saunders (NZL) (35 DNF) 35 DNF 11 3 7 15 3 - 74 pts

Men's RS:X (76 boards)
1st: Pawel Tarnowski (POL) 5 2 3 3 (26) 1 - 14 pts
2nd: Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) 2 1 (14) 1 5 8 - 17 pts
3rd: Daniele Benedetti (ITA) 1 1 4 8 (14) 6 - 20 pts
62nd: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) 23 26 31 21 30 (34) - 134 pts

Women's RS:X (62 boards)
1st: Yunxiu Lu (CHN) (17) 1 4 1 1 7 - 14 pts
2nd: Lilian de Geus (NED) 4 3 5 2 (6) 3 - 17 pts
3rd: Charline Picon (FRA) (14) 11 6 1 2 1 - 21 pts
53rd: Veerle ten Have (NZL) 9 24 (29) 29 29 29 - 120 pts

Men's formula kite (61 boards)
1st: Guy Bridge (GBR) (2) (12) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 - 11 pts
2nd: Nicolas Parlier (FRA) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 (11) 1 2 (23 DCT) 1 3 - 14 pts
3rd: Oliver Bridge (GBR) 1 (5) 2 2 1 2 1 1 (6) 1 1 1 1- 14 pts
16th: Sam Bullock (NZL) 6 5 5 7 6 6 (23 DNC) 6 (11) 10 3 5 7- 66 pts