Big day on Guanabara Bay for NZL Sailing Team

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It has been an eventful day in Rio for the NZL Sailing Team with some great race results and some tough decisions. Winds were light and from the south; racing was postponed initially but got underway through the afternoon.

Women’s 470 – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were back in action after a scheduled rest day and they sailed two races on Copacabana course area outside the bay.

Clearly sailing well, the kiwi pair raced the day’s opener to cross the finish first, only to find out they had been ruled too early to the start line. It means they carry 21 points for race six of the series.

Aleh and Powrie didn’t let it affect their race seven performance, however, coming back strong with a 2nd place. They returned ashore philosophical about the on-water decision and remaining positive about the rest of the regatta.

Asked about what happened Aleh said, “We sailed a pretty god race, we won across the line, and then our coach Nath told us we were over.”

“We knew we got a good start, one of those where who knows what it was, maybe a few centimetres. There is not really much you can do about that – the race committee have the final say on these things.”

“We’re just trying to sail every race as good as we can – that is what we came here to do. We think we’ve actually done a pretty good job of that so far, but we’ve just had a couple of things that have swung the opposite way to what we’d like.

“We’ll just keep doing that for the rest of the races and see where it ends up.”

There are three more races possible in the women’s 470 qualifying series and then a double-points medal race providing Aleh and Powrie plenty of opportunity to post some low scores and improve, and the pair has the tenacity and resilience to do just that.

They’re now in 7th overall with ten points to close on the crew currently placed in the bronze medal position.  Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, London silver medallists, are out in the lead after seven races.

Nacra – Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders

It was a pivotal day in the mixed multihull class where placings continued to change as the day unfolded.

The provisional standings now show what the top ten looks like going into the Nacra medal race – set to be sailed on Tuesday in Rio after tomorrow’s rest day.

New Zealanders Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders will go into the double-points quick-fire finale in 5th place on 79 points.

The Austrian crew, lying 3rd, are seven points ahead of the kiwis who posted two 13ths and a 2nd in today’s three races.

Men’s 470 – Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox posted their best results of the regatta so far with a 5th and a 2nd in their two races, and they pull up inside the top ten as reward.

Improving to 9th overall Snow-Hansen and Willcox climbed four positions today, from 13th overall at the outset.

“It was nice to have a few good results after a tough week,” said Paul Snow-Hansen.

“Today was light conditions, we were out a long way offshore and the waves were a bit choppy, not much breeze and we did a pretty good job of navigating the course and keeping the boat going and staying out of any big holes out there which was challenging.”

“We’re pretty happy with the day.”

Tomorrow they will be back in action with races 8, 9 and 10 for the Men’s 470 event scheduled if time and conditions allow.

Finn – Josh Junior

Josh Junior had a good day in the Finn class, where the top ten are now decided for Tuesday’s medal race. Britain’s Giles Scott has done enough to secure the gold medal with a 24 point gap over the fleet, but will still need to sail Tuesday’s race before standing atop the podium.

New Zealand’s Junior had work to do today to make the top ten cut, but has done that easily by returning a 4th and a 6th. He lies 7th in the standings now, but has his eye on using Tuesday’s medal race to improve his final result for Rio 2016.

Speaking after racing today Junior looked back on his regatta so far and reflected; “Very frustrating, but you live and you learn, but I’ve still got an opportunity, so I will keep moving forward.

“Ten points off 4th, so that would be pretty cool.”

Elsewhere

Laser sailor Sam Meech was on a rest day ahead of his medal race tomorrow. The 25-year old Olympic debutant is in 3rd position going into the race, which counts for double-points.

Lying ahead of Sam Meech, in the lead, is Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic who will make history tomorrow as Croatia’s first ever medallist in Olympic sailing. The 30-year-old was 4th at the London Olympic Games and is likely to focus his race plan around ensuring Australia’s Tom Burton doesn’t take the gold medal – it will go to one or the other.

If Meech finishes in the top five he will have secured bronze at least, with the silver possible, but a stretch.

While he has a nine-point gap there are some big names behind Meech on the board including Robert Scheidt from Brazil – the 43-year-old with five Olympic medals to his name, and reigning world champion Nick Thompson from Great Britain.

The Laser medal race is scheduled for 2pm in Brazil (5am in New Zealand).

Also resting today were the men’s and women’s skiff sailors who return for two more days of qualifying from tomorrow.

NZL Sailing Team current standings

1stPeter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) (1, 1, 5, 2, 8, 6)
3rdSam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 13, 6, 12, 1)
5thGemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) (9, 13, 7, 5, 4, 2, 4, 8, 12, 13, 13, 2)
3rdAlex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX) (6, 5, 4, 4, 5, 1)
7thJo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Women’s 470) (21DSQ, 1, 4, 1, 12, 21UFD, 3)
7thJosh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD, 14, 14, 5, 3, 18, 2, 4, 6)
9thPaul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Men’s 470) (2, 10, 20, 15, 23, 5, 2)

Full results are available on the Rio 2016 website: https://www.rio2016.com/en/schedule-and-results

On tomorrow’s schedule;

Sam Meech – Laser – Medal Race 1400
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech – 49erFX – Races 7, 8 & 9
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 49er – Races 7, 8 & 9
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – W470 – Races 8, 9 & 10
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox – M470 – Races 8, 9 & 10

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – Nacra 17 – Reserve day
Josh Junior – Finn – Reserve day
NZL Sailing Team Rio 2016 Media Guide here http://www.yachtingnz.org.nz/racing/olympic/2016-olympic-sailing-team

In total, 380 sailors from 66 nations will race in 274 boats across ten Olympic Events across seven racing areas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For more information:

Jodie Bakewell-White
Email: jodie@yachtingnz.org.nz
Rio tel: 21973483812

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