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NZL Sailing Team: Kiwis win three medals in Palma

by Michael Brown, Yachting NZ/Sail-World NZ 6 Apr 15:09 PDT 6 April 2019

New Zealand sailors claimed three medals at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma today, including gold and bronze in the Finn class, to finish as the second-most successful nation at the event.

Andy Maloney won his first major regatta in the Finn class since switching from the Laser to the heavyweight dinghy and Josh Junior was third. Alex Maloney and Molly Meech collected another silver in the 49erFX, following on from their second placing at February's World Cup Series event in Miami.

The three medals saw New Zealand finish level with the United States as the second-most successful nations in Palma behind Great Britain, who snared eight medals.

All three Medalists in the Finn class have parallel lives in the America's Cup. Andy Maloney and Josh Junior are part of the America's Cup champion crew, Emirates Team New Zealand. Giles Scott (GBR) is part of another top Finn sailor, Ben Ainslie's America's Cup team, Ineos Team UK.

Seven New Zealand boats were due to compete in the top 10 medal races today but winds in excess of 20 knots and big waves meant there was no racing in the 49er (three NZ crews), 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes (one NZ crew in each).

Andy Maloney went into the double points medal race with a four-point lead over Giles Scott, meaning he needed to finish no worse than two places behind the Olympic champion and four-time world champion. That's exactly how it played out, with Scott winning the race and Maloney finishing third - Junior was sixth.

Maloney and Scott were engaged in their own race at times, given their unassailable points lead over the rest of the fleet, and Maloney tried to slow Scott down and put him at the back of the race. But Scott wriggled his way clear, meaning Maloney had to fight his way back into the race.

“It was all on from there and I was mid-pack and had to fight my way back to within a couple of places of him to secure the gold," Maloney said. "I was about sixth or seventh at the gate, but sailed a few nice shifts up the second beat, so it was a pretty full-on race with lots going on.

"I managed to just do enough in the end so I'm really happy to come away with that. It's been a really good week."

What made it even more special was seeing Junior also claim bronze. The pair work extremely closely together, believing it will give whichever one of them is selected for next year's Olympics the best chance of success in Tokyo.

The Princess Sofia Regatta is the first major European event of the season, with more than 1200 competitors in the 10 Olympic classes, and there were 86 boats in the Finn class.

"That's a good start to our European season and we are really happy with how things have gone," Junior said. "We put in a lot of hard work over the New Zealand summer and have managed to get a little bit more speed which has made us a bit more competitive. I know that showed in the racing this week."

Alex Maloney and Meech also showed good speed this week and also good consistency, finishing in the top 10 in 14 of their 15 races. They finished second behind Brazil's Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze, the same finishing order as the 2016 Rio Olympic and World Cup Series event in Miami earlier this year, illustrating the rivalry between the two crews.

"It's a great feeling to win silver after a long and challenging week," Maloney said. "It's the beginning of the season so there's lots to build on from here.

"[We've now won] two silvers [this year] but behind the Rio gold medallists, Martine and Kahena, so mixed feelings. We would really love to be on top of the podium but we know we are close and there are more events to come."

The pair now head to Genoa with the majority of the New Zealand sailors for the next World Cup Series event starting in just over a week. These early-season regattas are being used by many countries as Olympic selection events so the competition will be high once again.

More than 100 boats lined up in Palma in the 49er class so it was an impressive achievement for New Zealand to finish with three boats inside the top nine. Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn were the best placed of the Kiwis in sixth, but it was an encouraging return to international 49er sailing for Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who were seventh.

Results after day 6 of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma overnight (NZ time):

49erFX (66 boats)

1st: Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 7 6 1 1 9 6 1 2 3 11 9 3 1 5 (17) - 64 points 2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 6 1 9 2 8 3 9 10 (14) 8 2 9 4 4 7 - 81 pts 3rd: Charlott Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) 1 2 4 (25) 4 8 2 1 1 13 24 8 3 1 10 - 82 pts

49er (108 boats)

1st: Dylan Fletcher / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 3 3 1 6 2 5 10 4 1 1 (19) 4 - 40 pts 2nd: Diego Botin Le Chever / Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) 5 8 9 13 5 2 1 7 2 (19) 9 3 - 64 pts 3rd: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG) 1 5 17 2 1 6 5 2 11 (21) 6 14 - 70 pts

6th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 3 11 8 8 3 3 12 18 (20) 9 3 1 - 80 pts 7th: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 18 23 1 5 7 3 7 1 3 5 (26 UFD) 11 - 84 pts 9th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 8 4 11 8 20 5 (22) 9 14 3 2 8 - 92 pts

Silver fleet 35th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 4 9 15 23 19 9 12 12 (32) 25 1 23 - 149 pts

Nacra 17 (59 boats)

1st: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 2 5 3 9 1 7 4 3 12 5 10 3 3 (25) 4 - 69 pts 2nd: Vittorio Bissaro / Maelle Frascari (ITA) 7 5 3 2 3 2 (31 UFD) 16 13 1 1 10 11 7 2 - 83 pts 3rd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) (16) 4 5 1 7 8 3 7 4 2 12 9 9 14 11 - 84 pts

5th: Gemma Jones/ Jason Saunders (NZL) 1 7 1 5 2 2 15 11 (17) 11 11 12 9 14 11 - 112 pts 29th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 12 10 13 11 7 1 13 (31 UFD) 26 31 DNC 31 DNC 31 DNC 31 DNC 31 DNC 31 DNC - 279 pts

Finn (86 boats)

1st: Andy Maloney (NZL) 4 1 1 1 3 12 6 (14) 3 4 6 - 41 pts 2nd: Giles Scott (GBR) 13 1 2 5 12 (14) 4 2 1 1 2 - 43 pts 3rd: Josh Junior (NZL) 1 7 1 (16) 1 9 7 13 8 9 12 - 68 pts

Men's 470 (73 boats)

1st: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 3 5 10 2 5 8 3 3 (38 BFD) 6 2 - 47 pts 2nd: Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) 1 2 15 1 (25) 20 21 1 3 10 10 - 84 pts 3rd: Luke Patience / Chris Grube (GBR) 9 6 13 5 4 4 5 10 14 (14) 16 - 86 pts

11th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) - 8 7 (38 BFD) 9 6 2 12 5 19 33 - 101 pts

Women's 470 (45 boats)

1st: Hannah Mills / Edilidh McIntyre (GBR) 3 4 4 (12) 5 2 5 11 1 1 2 - 51 pts 2nd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 13 1 2 2 4 9 1 13 (23) 5 6 - 56 pts 3rd: Tina Mrak / Veronika Macarol (SLO) 4 12 3 (34) 3 12 8 1 0 2 12 - 67 pts

39th: Susannah Pyatt / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) 17 43 (46 UFD) 17 31 37 36 32 40 30 - 286 pts

Laser Radial (118 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 1 1 1 1 5 7 13 (60 RET) 16 24 6 - 75 pts 2nd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 12 1 2 (26) 3 11 7 12 11 18 2 - 79 pts 3rd: Erika Reineke (USA) 6 3 3 21 6 9 21 3 1 (26) 12 - 85 pts

Silver fleet 65th: Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) (46) 7 33 41 37 12 4 2 2 41 - 182 pts 69th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 35 10 37 37 (38) 32 4 2 19 21 - 197 pts

Full results click here

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