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Sailing World Cup - Meech scores vital race win in Laser at Hyeres

by Yachting New Zealand on 26 Apr 2017
Sam Meech - race winner Mens Laser - World Sailing Cup Hyeres, Day 2, April 26, 2017 World Sailing
Rio Olympic Bronze medalist, Sam Meech showed his class, collecting a win in the only Laser race sailed on Wednesday at the World Cup regatta in Hyeres, France.

He climbed from 11th to fourth overall with the result and is well placed, especially with winds forecast to strengthen with the arrival of a Mistral pattern which sees strong, cold north-westerly winds hit the French coast. Meech, like a lot of New Zealand sailors, prefers stronger winds.

The 534 competitors across all of the Olympic classes as well as kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD enjoyed winds of 10-15 knots at times but the breeze decreased as the day wore on meaning the Laser fleet managed only one race.

Meech split from the majority of the fleet up the first beat and made some big gains, holding onto the lead to record his first win of the regatta.

He now can discard his disappointing 26th from the opening race and shot up the leaderboard with today's win. Meech is only five points behind leader Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus.

'Getting a good race today is really good for me in the overall scheme of things,' the 26-year-old said. 'It really helps as I had that bad result on the first race so it kind of evens that out a little bit. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the regatta and hopefully I get a few more good races.

'The forecast is looking really good for the rest of the week. The Mistral [weather pattern] should come through, fingers crossed, tomorrow and it will mean a lot more wind and some pretty exciting racing - especially for us in the Lasers because we are miles out to sea.'

Andrew McKenzie, who had been ninth after the first day of action in the Lasers, had a disappointing day, finishing 46th out of 60 boats and has now slipped to 16th overall.

Aon Fast Track squad members Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie posted a series of countable results (12th, 12th and fifth) in the 49er and now sit only one position behind fellow Kiwis Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey (9th, ninth, 25th) in 17th.

Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson maintained their position in 13th in the Nacra 17 fleet with some solid results (14th, 12th, 14th) and Brendon McCarty is 29th in the Finn.

The Mistral will make already chilly conditions even colder for the competitors in France and Meech and the rest of the Laser fleet spent considerable time out on the water overnight in the hope the winds would allow racing.

'Unfortunately it's super-cold over here so staying warm is pretty tricky,' he said.

Racing continues Thursday.

New Zealand results after the second day of the World Cup regatta in Hyeres, France, Wednesday

4th - Sam Meech (26) 6 1 - 7 points
16th - Andrew McKenzie 9 18 (46) 27 points

Nacra 17

13th - Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson 10 8 (19) 14 12 14 - 58 points


16th - Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey (26) 18 10 9 9 25 - 71 points
17th - Isaac McHardie and William Mckenzie 22 22 (25) 12 12 5 - 73 points


29th - Brendan McCarty 24 (32) 31 22 - 77 points

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