19 year old Josh Junior is lying 4th in the 140 strong Laser fleet at the Semaine Olympique Francaise Regatta being sailed in Hyeres, France. Two days of racing remain at the event which is the fourth of seven in the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
Two races were sailed overnight in light tricky breezes in Hyeres with eight now completed. Two more races tonight will determine the top ten placed sailors who will then sail in the double points medal race.
Junior who represents the Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington, sits amongst a tightly bunched group on the leaderboard. The kiwi has continued to climb through the standings as the six day regatta has progressed improving from 6th overall up to 4th after day four. A string of top six finishes in races two through seven including a win and a 2nd have secured Junior his current place towards the top of the large Laser fleet.
The kiwi has a total of 48 points just two points adrift of both Maxim Semerkhanov (RUS) and Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) sharing second place with 46 points apiece. Paul Goodison of Great Britain has a strong lead at this stage in the regatta with a 21 point margin.
Junior, from Wellington represented New Zealand at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in 2007 when he returned home with a silver medal. The young up and comer has also proved his talent in keelboat and match racing events.
Another New Zealander, James Sandall from Wairoa Yacht Club, is also in with a shot at making the medal race if he can round out the finals series with two more good races. He recorded his best day on the water on last night in France with a 6th in race seven and 2nd in race eight. Currently he sits in 11th place with a four point margin to make up to hit the top ten.
'Josh and James have had a consistent series so far and that is the key to success in this regatta,' says Jez Fanstone, Yachting New Zealand’s Olympic Programme Director. 'With two races to go there is a great chance for them to be able to get within striking distance of medals here.'
'The last two regattas in Europe have shown the depth of talent that we have here in New Zealand and the hard work that the squad has done in New Zealand over last spring and summer.'
New Zealand’s only representative in the 54 boat Laser Radial fleet at Semaine Olympique Francaise, Sara Winther of Takapuna Boating Club is currently in 15th place.
Racing resumes in Hyeres tonight with two more races for all fleets to conclude the finals series and decide the top ten to compete in the medal race. The medal races are scheduled for Friday 24th. (Overnight Friday New Zealand time) Links...
Latest ISAF report http://www.sailing.org/28057.php
Regatta Website http://sof.ffvoile.net/
Josh Junior’s Website http://www.jjsailing.com/ New Zealand’s Current Standings after eight races
Laser (140 boats)
Josh Junior 4th
James Sandall 11th
Andy Maloney 29th
Mike Bullot 37th
Matt Coutts 44th
Sam Meech 49th
Blair McLay 75th
Laser Radial (54 boats)
Sara Winther 15th
Women’s RS:X (32 boards)
Justina Sellers 26th