New Zealand sailors made a successful start to the European season, winning three medals at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, the third-most of any nation at the event.
Sam Meech collected silver in the Laser, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were second in the 49erFX and Andy Maloney won bronze in the Finn. Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey finished just outside the medals, having to settle for fourth in the 49er.
Sam Meech and Andy 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 - the same colour they won 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.
"Today was pretty good," Maloney said. "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.
"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 Andy Maloney, especially 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 wasn't 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.
Maloney tried to mix things up with Heiner today, given he still had an outside chance of winning silver, and started well but made one mistake near the top mark to allow Heiner to sneak ahead of him.
"I was stoked to come away with a bronze, my first medal at a big event since making the switch," he said. "I definitely made some mistakes, especially early in the regatta when I wasn't sailing that well. I learned a lot from those couple of days and managed to get off to good starts, which I wasn't doing [at the European championships] in Cadiz, and had good boat speed and sailed smartly.
"It's definitely shown me that I can mix it up with the top guys in the Finn fleet. It's proved that, sailing at my best, I can win races and that's cool to know."
Sam Meech has continued to prove he's 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.
The pair were standouts this week in the large (183 boats) and competitive Laser fleet and handled the difficult and shifty conditions the best.
Fellow Kiwi Tom Saunders 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.
Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson were the only other New Zealand crew in action overnight, finishing 10th in the Nacra 17 medal race and 10th overall.
Most of the 26-strong New Zealand contingent who sailed in Palma will also compete at the World Cup regatta in Hyeres in a fortnight and most will go encouraged by what they produced at the first multi-class European regatta of the season.
Great Britain's sailing team collected the biggest haul of medals with five (one gold, four silver), followed by the Netherlands (two gold, one silver) and New Zealand (two silver, one bronze). The Princess Sofia regatta is usually the biggest of the European season in terms of numbers and attracted 870 boats from 62 different and more than 1200 sailors.
Results and standings after the sixth and final day of the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma overnight (NZ time):
Men's 470 (79 boats)
1st: Mathew Belcher / William Ryan (AUS)
2nd: Deniz Cinar / Ates Cinar (TUR) 4 10 (UFD)
3rd: Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi (JPN)
13th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 9 12 14 2 (21) 17 20 12 1 - 87 pts
Women's 470 (48 boats)
1st: Ai Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka (JPN)
2nd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR)
3rd: Linda Fahrni / Maja Siegentahler (SUI)
29th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL)
49er (91 boats)
1st: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG)
2nd: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR)
3rd: Mathieu Frei / Noé Delpech (FRA)
4th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL)
27th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL)
49erFX (54 boats)
1st: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED)
2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL)
3rd: Odile Van Aanholt / Marieke Jongens (NED)
Finn (73 boats)
1st: Giles Scott (GBR)
2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED)
3rd: Andy Maloney (NZL)
29th: Josh Junior (NZL)
51st: Brendan McCarty (NZL)
63rd: Raymond Hall (NZL)
Laser (183 boats)
1st: Matthew Wearn (AUS)
2nd: Sam Meech (NZL)
3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO)
8th: Tom Saunders (NZL)
20th: George Gautrey (NZL)
24th: Andrew McKenzie (NZL)
165th: Matthew Kempkers (NZL)
Laser Radial (113 boats)
1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN)
2nd: Alison Young (GBR)
3rd: Maria Erdi (HUN)
20th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL)
44th: Olivia Christie (NZL)
Nacra 17 (47 boats)
1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA)
2nd: Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR)
3rd: Fernando Echavarri / Tara Pacheco (ESP)
10th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL)
13th: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL)
Men's RS:X (118 boards)
1st: Pawel Tarnowski (POL)
2nd: Louis Giard (FRA)
3rd: Sebastian Fleischer (DEN)
83rd: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL)
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