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NZL Sailing Team- Kiwis chase Bronze in Finns and top ten in Nacra 17s

by Jodie Bakewell-White on 27 Jul 2013
Tight racing on Day 4 of the 2013 Finn Europeans Robert Deaves/Finn Class http://www.finnclass.org

New Zealand will feature in the medal races at both the 2013 Finn European Championship and the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship with kiwi Finn sailors Andrew Murdoch and Josh Junior among a tight group who will battle it out for the lower podium spot in Germany.

Lying ninth Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders have earned a start in the top ten line up medal race at the inaugural Nacra 17 World Championship in the Netherlands.

Both of these key Olympic class regattas finish overnight tonight (New Zealand time) in Europe.

For the 103 Finn sailors in Germany it was another tough day with light winds, postponements, a mass of failed starts and just one race result recorded. Both the kiwis survived the situation to remain in contention for the bronze medal, with Murdoch a long shot for silver.

Today he placed fifth lifting him to third position overall with 48 points, Josh Junior is fifth with 54 points with Postma of the Netherlands sandwiched between the kiwis and well in the hunt on 50 points. Leader Vasilij Zbogar added another win with a seven point buffer heading into the final medal race.

Andrew Murdoch reports; 'Today was a pretty tough again with pretty similar conditions to yesterday. I had a terrible day yesterday so it was good to redeem myself.'

'And for tomorrow things look pretty tight for third. I have a really long shot for second but I need to win and Ed [Wright] needs a shocker. Obviously I will be wearing the bib tomorrow but that doesn't really mean a thing until the medal race is finished, so we should have a good battle for third.'

The forecast isn’t promising with very light winds predicted.

More on the top six Finn sailors…

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO)– double Olympic Laser medalist, sixth in the Finn at at London 2012 and second at last year's Europeans. Has been in control here since day one and despite a few gear breakages has sailed his best series in the Finn ever. The smart money are backing him for his first major Finn title.

Ed Wright (GBR) – World champion in 2010 and European Champion in 2006, he has been one of the very few sailors here that have been consistent over the whole week. Traditionally good in medal races so stands a good chance but realistically needs Zbogar to slip up to win.

Andrew Murdoch (NZL) – Switched to the Finn this year after two Olympics in the Laser, so heaps of experience in this situation. Only has a two point margin which means he has to beat Postma and be within two boats of Junior to take the bronze.

Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) – Flamboyant on and off the water and perhaps the most popular sailor on the circuit, he's had an up and down week. Placed fourth in London 2012 after an emotional last race and certainly a good chance to snatch the bronze on Saturday.

Josh Junior (NZL) – First year in the Finn and already making his mark. Won a race earlier this week and took the bronze in Hyeres this year. Slipped up in the last few races but clearly a talent for the future in the Finn class.

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) – Double European Champion in 2009 and 2010. Fifth in the Olympics, but not been competing much this year after illness and time out. Always a clever sailor though, but perhaps too much to do here to win a medal. A black flag disqualification today didn't help.

The Finn fleet will come together again around one month from now in Tallinn, Estonia for the 2013 Finn Gold Cup to decide the 2013 Finn World Champion.

Meanwhile at the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship the top 25 sailed two races today determining the top ten for tonight’s final medal race. Kiwi crew Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are lying ninth after placing 18th and 14th in the last two gold fleet races sailed today at The Hague.

While the leaders from France and Great Britain have stretched out on points the leader board is tight around the kiwis and they will be looking to finish on a high note. Regardless, a top ten showing at World Championship level in a new Olympic class is extremely promising for this young combination.

Medals will be decided and presented after the medal races at both the 2013 Finn European Championship and the 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship with

New Zealand’s current standings…

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

2013 Nacra 17 World Championship, The Hague, Netherlands
9th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (7, 3, 20, 3, 4, 7, 18, 14)
36th (11th in silver fleet) Nicole van der Velden and Tomer Simhony
51st (26th in silver fleet) Gareth Moore and Vickery Francis
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