The sailing world championships didn't go according to plan for Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders and they're keen to illustrate what they are capable of at this week's World Cup regatta in Enoshima.
The pair started well in the Nacra 17 today, settling into second on the back of a second, third and ninth (presently their drop) in their three races. That left them two points behind the Italian combination of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti who won all three races and who have dominated the class all year.
Jones and Saunders were among a gaggle of New Zealand sailors who started well today, with Alex Maloney and Molly Meech second in the 49erFX, Josh Junior third in the Finn and Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn fifth in the 49er.
It was a much better position than Jones and Saunders found themselves in at last month's world championships.
The pair, who were fourth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, went in as one of the contenders but saw their hopes disappear on the first day when damage to their boat meant they failed to finish the first two races. They did well to end up 12th overall but it wasn't the result they were looking for and they're keen to make amends in Enoshima.
"We want to prove ourselves, that we could have had a good result at the worlds," Jones said. "But the priority is learning the venue."
Most of New Zealand's top sailors competed in Enoshmia late last year, the venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but Jones and Saunders missed that regatta due to the fact most of the Nacra 17 boats were still being manufactured.
The foiling catamarans revelled in the 15-knot winds and flat conditions today, although it meant a bit of adjustment for most of the sailors.
"We have had nine sailing days in our buildup and they have mostly been onshore [winds] and big waves so, classic, as soon as the racing started everything changes," Jones said.
"But it was pretty cool. We had some pretty quick modes upwind and the boats go a lot faster in the flat waters so it was a case of clicking back into that today.
"We had two good races and then the last race we got caught out completely on the wrong side. It got a bit shifty and we got caught out. Hopefully that will be our drop [for our worst result of the regatta]."
Maloney and Meech benefitted from the drop coming into play in the 49erFX. The pair were a disappointing 19th in the opening race but roared back with a third and first in the last two races to be only one point behind Olympic champions Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil.
Junior is well placed in the Finn after a second and a sixth to be only one point behind Giles Scott of Great Britain and Dunning Beck and Gunn had three good scores (third, fifth and eighth) to be among the frontrunners in the 49er.
Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey are 12th overall in the 49er but finished the day well with a second in the final race.
"The first two races were not what we wanted," Rippey said. "We have pretty much used up our drop so tomorrow we will have to go out there and push hard and try to be consistently up the front to get ourselves back in contention."
Results and standings from the World Cup regatta in Enoshima, Japan, today:
Laser (59 boats)
1st: Michael Beckett (GBR) 8 2 - 10 pts
2nd: Philipp Buhl (GER) 1 10 - 11 pts
3rd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 3 12 - 15 pts
15th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 15 18 - 33 pts
17th: Sam Meech (NZL) 4 35 - 39 pts
19th: George Gautrey (NZL) 5 36 - 41 pts
Laser Radial (53 boats)
1st: Emma Plasschaert (BEL) 5 3 - 8 pts
2nd: Sarah Douglas (CAN) 3 9 - 12 pts
3rd; Josefin Olsson (SWE) 15 1 - 16 pts
14th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 25 4 - 29 pts
Nacra 17 (25 boats)
1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA) (1) 1 1 - 3 pts
2nd: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 2 3 (9) - 5 pts
3rd: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 6 5 2 - 7 pts
Finn (21 boats)
1st: Giles Scott (GBR) 6 1 - 7 pts
2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 5.4 DPI 2 - 7.4 DPI
3rd: Josh Junior (NZL) 2 6 - 8 pts
12th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 14 8 - 22 pts
49er (27 boats)
1st: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 1 2 (4) - 3 pts
2nd: Lukasz Przybytek / Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) 2 (8) 3 - 5 pts
3rd: James Peters / Fynn Sterritt (GBR) 4 3 (5) - 7 pts
5th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 3 5 (8) - 8 pts
12th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 19 (22) 2 - 21 pts
18th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) (21) 6 21 - 27 pts
49erFX (24 boats)
1st: Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 1 (5) 2 - 3 pts
2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) (19) 3 1 - 4 pts
3rd; Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) (6) 1 3 - 4 pts
Men's 470 (32 boats)
1st: Keiju Okada / Jumpei Hokazono (JPN) 5 2 - 7 pts
2nd: Naoki Ichino / Takashi Hasegawa (JPN) 2 8 - 10 pts
3rd: Kevin Peponnet / Jeremie Mion (FRA) 1 10 - 11 pts
29th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 19 32 - 51 pts
Women's 470 (23 boats)
1st: Benedetta di Salle / Alessandra Dubbini (ITA) 5 2 - 7 pts
2nd: Afrodite Kyranakou / Anneloes van Veen (NED) 2 5 - 7 pts
3rd: Elena Berta / Bianca Caruso (ITA) 6 3 - 9 pts
21st: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) 21 20 - 41 pts
Men's RS:X (40 boards)
1st: Mattia Camboni (ITA) 1 (2) 1 - 2 pts
2nd: Kiran Badloe (NED) 3 2 (8) - 5 pts
3rd; Pierre le Coq (FRA) (11) 3 4 - 7 pts
Women's RS:X (30 boards)
1st: Peina Chen (CHN) 1 3 - 4 pts
2nd: Charline Picon (FRA) 3 2 - 5 pts
3rd: Yunxiu Lu (CHN) 2 5 - 7 pts