With one day to go at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma New Zealand has five crews in set to line up in the medal races.
The best placed of the kiwis are 49erFX skiff sailors Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech who have regained second place in the hotly contested fleet which attracted 34 entries in Palma.
While the overall leaders Nielson and Olsen from Denmark faltered on day five blotting their zero points card with a fourth, 10th and fourth, Maloney and Meech stepped up to open the day with a bullet followed by two second places. The kiwis have narrowed the gaping points gap on the top placed crew to sit 8 points adrift before going into the final day.
The young kiwis have also opened a buffer on the chasing pack with 8 points between Maloney and Meech and the German sailors in third overall.
The schedule allows for the top eight placed boats in the 49erFX skiff fleet to race four stadium style races tomorrow to determine who will stand on the podium.
Jez Fanstone, High Performance Director explains the format for the 49erFX last day; 'There will be four stadium style races, on a windward leeward course with defined boundaries, worth one point each in which just the top eight crews will sail.'
'We understand there will be actual physical floating lines set as the boundaries with a narrow race track perhaps 200 metres from side to side. And it might be only 300 metres long. Racing will be intense.'
New Zealanders Sam Meech and Andy Maloney are both in the hunt for medals in the Laser fleet where the medal racing differs from that planned for the skiff sailors.
Meech and Maloney are lying third and fourth locked up on equal points at the end of the penultimate day. Tomorrow the top ten placed Laser sailors will sail two medal races, each worth double points.
Australia’s Tom Burton has a solid lead 16 points clear of the chasing pack featuring Fontes of Brazil on 31, Meech and Maloney both on 35 and Stipanovic with 41.
Thomas Saunders has wrapped up his regatta in 15th overall. 'Tom had a good day on the water today with a second in the first race,' says Fanstone. 'This is a great overall result from him for his first major regatta for this cycle.'
In the Finn Josh Junior and Andrew Murdoch both improved their overall standing by one position after racing on day five and head into their medal races lying sixth and seventh respectively. The top ten sailors to sail two races, each worth double points
Just one point separates the two kiwis, and Junior is 14 points adrift of the sailor currently placed third. It’s a big gap to close for the kiwis to reach the podium, but with two double points races to be sailed almost anything can happen.
Andrew Murdoch has this to say; 'I have been in the class for just over two months and this is my first international event.'
'I had no idea how I was going to go prior to the event. It's a great start to my Olympic campaign and I'm really happy with how it's going. I know I have a lot to learn and the fleet will no doubt continue to improve over the next couple of years as well.'
Men’s 470 pair Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox has missed out on the top ten cut for the men’s double-handed medal races, by an agonising one point.
'The guys will be really disappointed to slip on the last day,' says Fanstone. 'But this is still not a bad result for these two who are a new pairing. They’ve had some great race results this week – in eight of their twelve races they’ve finished inside the top ten including a win a second and a third. And Dan is still getting back to full strength after a recent health problem.'
NZL Sailing Team’s Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski have finished the regatta on a high note. After suffering gear failure early in the week seeing them sit out day two entirely the pair have rallied and come out to top the 49er silver fleet. In today’s racing they had two seconds and a bullet.
Forecasters are predicting a cooler change to the weather in Palma tomorrow for the final day which is likely to return more wind to the race track.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma - New Zealand’s standings after Day 5
For full results click here
6th Josh Junior – 8, 14, 4, 5, 12, 11
7th Andrew Murdoch (NZL Sailing Team) – 15, 5, 2, 13, 21, 6
3rd Sam Meech (NZL Sailing Team) – 3, 17, 8, 4, 28, 3
4th Andy Maloney (NZL Sailing Team) – 2, 10, 5, 3, 23, 15
15th Thomas Saunders – 16, 21, 12, 49, 2, 27
11th Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL Sailing Team) – 6, 9, 31, 6, 22, 11
32nd Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson – 31, 32, 17, 28, 29, 27
38th Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL Sailing Team) – 8, 0, 6, 2, 0, 2 (top Silver fleet)
2nd Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech – 2, 5, 8, 5, 0, 2, 2
20th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – 15, 20, 20, 17, 13, 23, 21
25th Nicole van der Velden and Tomer Simhony – 21, 31, 19, 29, ocs, 15, 18
by Jodie Bakewell-White
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8:56 PM Fri 5 Apr 2013GMT
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