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NZL Sailing Team: Meech chasing a medal at Laser Euros - Day 5

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 24 May 14:11 PDT 25 May 2019
Day 5 - European Laser Championships - Porto, Portugal - May 2019 © Neuza Aires Pereira

Sam Meech produced the sort of day he expects on Day 5 of the Laser European championships in Porto and it has left him with an outside chance of picking up a medal.

The 28-year-old was sixth and third in today's two races to jump four places into sixth overall. He's now only 10 points behind Australia's Matthew Wearn in third with two gold fleet races remaining on the final day - there's no top-10 medal race at this regatta.

George Gautrey had a mixed day, throwing in a fourth-placed finish with a 25th to be 12th overall and Tom Saunders slipped a little to 20th.

Olympic champion Tom Burton from Australia still leads the regatta from Great Britain's Lorenzo Chiavarni and Wearn. Strong winds are forecast for tomorrow which will prove challenging on top of the customary big waves off Porto.

Meech enjoyed the fresher winds today to bank two good scores. It hasn't been the easiest week for the world No 1 and he even described the way he sailed yesterday as "a bit like a lemon".

"It was a good day," he said. "I had a really good start in the first race and really punched out the way I wanted to go. Unfortunately, the wind went about 15-20 degrees further left from that and that put me back in the pack again but luckily the majority of the fleet was on the right so I ended up with a decent result.

"In the second race I had a good start but smashing some waves I lost my lane after a while so was scrapping around a little but until I found some good lanes towards the top. I was going really well on the outer loop today, which made a big difference compared to yesterday when I had some problems out there.

"I think it's going to take quite a lot to get right up the front so tomorrow I'm going to try to nail out two really good races. I can see that being my only chance. Tom Burton and Matt Wearn seem to be sailing really well and have some pretty low scores so it's going to take a really good day for me to get right up there."

Gautrey is more intent on putting together more of a complete regatta. The 21-year-old had a tough year in 2018 with injuries and wants to get more consistent over the course of an event.

He's showed his potential this week with five top-five results, including a race win, but knows he needs to limit the number of bigger scores.

"It was a tough day," he admitted. "One good [race], one bad. I'm sitting not too bad. I would like to be higher, of course, but, all things considered, it's not the end of the world.

'It was really hard today to tell what's going on with massive swell and truckloads of current. I'll look to try to finish on high. Big breeze is forecast so it's time to swing it down and see how it goes."

Olivia Christie enjoyed the fresher breeze to finish sixth and fifth in her two races in silver fleet to be 65th overall. Fellow Kiwi Annabelle Rennie-Younger is 10 places further back in 75th.

Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom continues to control proceedings in gold fleet, holding a 19-point lead over Belgium's Emma Plasschaert, with Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands in third.

Results and standings after Day 5 of the Laser European championships in Porto:

Laser (162 boats)

1st: Tom Burton (AUS) (9) 5 1 3 2 1 2 2 5 (18) - 16 points 2nd: Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) (13) 1 3 4 4 4 4 (21) 9 2 - 30 pts 3rd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 4 7 6 2 (9) (18) 5 7 3 1 - 35 pts

6th: Sam Meech (NZL) 3 (25) 7 5 5 1 15 (18) 6 3 - 45 pts 12th: George Gautrey (NZL) 5 7 4 5 (31) 1 20 (43) 4 24 - 71 pts 20th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 14 11 (16) 6 8 6 8 31 (37) 11 - 95 pts

155th: Luke Deegan (NZL) 51 49 50 46 (53) 45 27 (55 BFD) 25 55 UFD - 340 pts

Laser Radial (120 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 2 (3) 1 1 3 2 1 3 7 (12) - 20 pts 2nd: Emma Plasschaert (BEL) 8 12 2 2 (26) 2 (15) 10 2 1 - 39 pts 3rd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 3 11 (14) 8 3 1 6 (14) 5 3 - 40 pts

Silver fleet 65th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 34 34 34 12 (34) (39) 28 3 6 5 - 156 pts 75th: Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) (38) 32 24 17 25 30 (44) 23 13 21 - 190 pts

Full results

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