NZL Sailing Team- Both Kiwi crews off to a flying start at 470 Worlds

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) - lead on Day 1 at the 470 World Championships 2013

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have the early lead in the Women’s fleet at the 2013 470 World Championships while NZL Sailing Team team-mates Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have also started strongly to hold third in the Men’s.

Racing started overnight in La Rochelle, France with the day one of the six day regatta sailed under overcast skies with light rain. All fleets sailed three races.

Sailing away with a second and two wins Aleh and Powrie top the leader-board with two points (the wins count for zero) while the French pair of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron, who recently took out the 2013 470 European Championship title, lying second on five points.

'In typical regatta style we had conditions we hadn't seen for the two weeks we have been here getting ready, complete with thunder storms early on today. It was a great breeze of 12-16 knots, and some rather large waves at times as it is very shallow out there,' reports Jo Aleh. 'We started off well with a second in the first race, and then followed that up with two race wins.'

'The breeze was anything but consistent, with massive shifts and pressure lines coming across the race track... We didn't exactly get everything right, we just didn't stuff anything up too badly which seemed to be more important! We were always in the mix at the first top mark and then managed to get a few things right on the next few legs including some flying reaches which were great fun.'

'One more day of qualifying tomorrow, with two races and then we split into Gold and Silver, so all we need is another good race tomorrow and we will be through and ready for finals. The qualification series will end up only counting for one 'race' so it’s a bit like the regatta really starts on day three.'

Over in the Men’s division racing is in three fleets for the qualifying rounds and the young kiwi pair of Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox has made an excellent start to the series. Placing fifth, then fourth, then winning race three they are in third on the leader-board with nine points.

It’s no surprise to see Men’s Olympic champion Matt Belcher of Australia topping the men’s fleet, which features 114 boats in total; he and Will Ryan had two wins and a second giving them two points. Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre of France are in second place on seven points.

Racing resumes tomorrow for the second day of qualifying with the medals set to be decided on Saturday in La Rochelle, France.

To see Jo and Polly's website/blog http://www.teamjollyracing.com/470-worlds-2013-la-rochelle/!click_here

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox training in the 470, ahead of leaving on their 2013 European campaign - Takapuna.

2013 Men’s and Women’s World Championships New Zealand’s current standings…

Women’s 470 World Championship (52 boats)
1stJo Aleh and Polly Powrie (2, 1, 1)

Men’s 470 World Championship (114 boats)
3rdPaul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (5, 4, 1)
37th Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson (11, 15, 13)
104th Richard Power and John Power (35, 34, 34)

Coaches: Nathan Handley and Hamish Willcox

The schedule
5, 6, 7 August: Qualifying Series
8, 9 August: Qualifying/Final Series
10 August: Medal Race and Prize-giving
http://www.sail-world.com/112859