NZL Sailing Team: Three in top five as major Olympic regattas near end

Line up at the start of the Finn class 2013 Europeans

Three New Zealand crews are placed in the top five overall as Finn Europeans and Nacra17 Worlds head into penultimate day.

Racing at both major Olympic class regattas on right now - the 2013 Finn European Championship and the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship – rolled on overnight with three New Zealand crews now placed in the top five.

A light winds day allowed for only one race at the 2013 Finn European Championship being sailed at Warnemunde, Germany and it provided many of the top sailors with some challenges. Josh Junior managed a 14th which sees him improve his overall standing by one place up to third as the six day long regatta heads into the penultimate day.

The 23 year old from Wellington is a convert from the Laser class who has now sailed in the Olympic heavy-weight dinghy for around a year. Earlier in 2013 he delivered an impressive podium finish winning bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres Regatta in April and Junior is on the pace for a similar result in Warnemunde however two days of racing remain and there are plenty more top sailors in the hunt.

Team-mate Andrew Murdoch is in fifth place overall and just three points adrift of Junior in third. Murdoch, a two-time Olympian in the Laser, had his worst race so far with a 42nd but can discard it from his point score and remains well placed near the top of the board.

'We had quite a long wait ashore for some wind then only managed one race. I had a race to forget however still well in it sitting in fifth overall and points close ahead of me.'

John Cutler is in Germany as coach to the kiwi contingent. 'Things are going reasonably well over here… it is a tricky place to race and generally not much wind. The big fleet makes a very long starting line so any errors here and it’s a long way to clear air.'

'Josh seems to be pretty quick, okay upwind and fast downwind. Andrew is starting well and sailing smart. With one day of qualifying to go, a couple of reasonable races should get them both into the medal race.'

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) continues to dominate the series taking another race win overnight and extending his lead on 23 points. Ed Wright (GBR) remains in touch on 29 points in second place but Junior from New Zealand, with 40 points, has some ground to make up to climb higher.

Meanwhile at the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship being sailed at The Hague, Netherlands the top 25 placed boats in the 65-strong fleet took to the water late in the day for the first of the finals races in the gold fleet. The late start was due to lack of wind and it meant that just the one race was sailed for gold fleet only.

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are now in fifth overall and on equal points to the crew placed fourth after they crossed the line in seventh in today’s race. The pair combined and opened their campaign in the new Olympic multihull early this year and have improved their results at the international regattas attended during 2013 with their best to date being a fourth at Garda And Trentino Olympic Week in Italy this May. Saunders represented New Zealand at the London Games in the Men’s 470 with Paul Snow-Hansen at the helm.

There are three final races needed to start the Medal Race scheduled for Saturday, and five to discard the worst result. That makes two discards: one in the qualification and one in the final series. For tomorrow there are three races planned for the Silver fleet and two for the Gold, but the weather forecast remains the biggest challenge.

Racing resumes at both regattas tomorrow with medals to be decided and presented on Saturday.

New Zealand’s current standings…

2013 Finn European Championship, Warnemunde, Germany
3rd Josh Junior (28, 5, 1, 2, 6, 12, 14)
5th Andrew Murdoch (13, 4, 6, 4, 5, 11, 42)


2013 Nacra 17 World Championship, The Hague, Netherlands
5th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (7, 3, 20, 3, 4, 7)
37th Nicole van der Velden and Tomer Simhony
59th Gareth Moore and Vickery Francis
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