Day 3 Princess Sophia: Two New Zealand crews in Top Ten overall

Sara Winther (NZL) competing on Day 3 of the Princess Sophia Trophy regatta, Palma Spain

Two New Zealand crews are sitting in the top ten overall in their fleets after the conclusion of the Qualification phase on Day 3 of the Princess Sophia Trophy in Palma, Spain.

The regatta is the third event on the seven event ISAF World Sailing Cup, and is being used by many teams as a significant build up event for the 2012 Olympic Regatta, in three months time.

The fleet will be split into Gold and Silver fleets in the Mens Two Hander (470) and Womens Single hander (Laser Radial), the other four fleet racing events in which New Zealand crews are competing will remain as a single fleet.

New Zealand is not competing in the Mens HP Skiff (470) or Mens Single hander (Laser), there is no racing in the two Windsurfer (RS:X) events for Men and Women.

Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner remain the top placed New Zealand crew, now lying in fourth overall after finishing 13th and ninth in the two races sailed. Their result in Race 5 was their worst place to date, and was able to be dropped once the discard points were put into effect. The lead in the series has been taken over by 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Iain Percy and Bart Simpson (GBR) - however no crew is dominating the regatta.

Pepper is yet to qualify for the Olympics, having missed the first round of Qualification in Perth in 2011. The second and final 25% of the Olympic places will be determined at the Star Worlds in May. However this is an excellent result for the crew having their first serious work-out in Europe.

Somewhat surprisingly, another who has not yet gained 2012 Olympic Selection, Dan Slater, sailing in the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander, jumped from 16th to fifth overall on the leaderboard, despite scoring somewhat indifferent 13th and 10th places in the two races sailed.

Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner (NZL) competing on Day 3 of the Princess Sophia Trophy regatta, Palma Spain

The trigger for Slater's rise, is again the advent of the discard race - where the two time, two event, Olympian was able to drop a BFD (Black Flag starting disqualification) from the first race. While it was predicted that event would lift him to seventh on the points table before the third day of racing, several of those around Slater on the points table had worse days, and he lifted higher than expected.

In the Mens Two hander (470), Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders are in 23rd overall, despite placing fifth in the sixth race of the series, sailing in a split fleet. They have made the cut for the Gold Fleet but have an uphill struggle to make the medal race with a 17pt deficit from the 10th placed boat. The splitting of the fleet into Gold and Silver generally puts a big premium on getting top places, as the standard of the Gold fleet is much higher, making it more difficult to break out or recover from a starting error.

In the Womens Two Hander (470), Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie are lying in 19th place overall, and face similar issues to Snow-Hansen and Saunders and have a 30 point deficit to close to make the cut for the medal race.

Sara Winther lies in 15th place overall in the Womens Single Hander (Laser Radial) despite taking a fourth place in the fifth race her second placing in the top four of the six races sailed to date. However again she has a substantial 17 point deficit to turn around to make the cut for the top ten and the Medal race on the final day.

In the Womens Match Racing the New Zealand crew progressed to the Repechage phase of the competition, but will not progress to the Quarter Finals.

Racing concludes on Saturday, Spanish time.

For full results in all classes http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/result.php?miclase=470%20Men!click_here
http://www.sail-world.com/95683