Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Laser Worlds: Frustrating finish for Kiwis at Laser Worlds

by Michael Brown/Yachting New Zealand 16 Feb 03:16 PST 17 February 2020
Sam Meech (NZL) - Laser World Championship - Melbourne - February 2020 © John West Photography

For a group of sailors who pride themselves on being near the front of the fleet, the Laser world championships in Melbourne did not turn out as hoped for New Zealand's top three sailors.

Sam Meech, Tom Saunders and George Gautrey all finished in the top 10 at last year's Laser world championships but only Meech featured in the top 10 this time around. The Olympic bronze medallist was eighth and, even then, it wasn't a result he was satisfied with.

Meech has been one of the most Laser consistent sailors in this Olympic cycle and in the two years up until the end of 2019 had finished no worse than sixth at any regatta.

Tom Saunders was 21st and George Gautrey, who collected bronze at last year's world championships, was 29th.

Meech went into the final day in eighth and still with a realistic chance of claiming a medal, especially with three gold fleet races to be sailed in conditions in excess of 20 knots, but he just couldn't find the formula to work his way up the table.

"It didn’t go to plan," he said. "The conditions were really good and I thought it was a good day for me to move up the leaderboard. I got fantastic starts in all three races but I was really struggling on the reach and first run and found myself out of pressure and swallowed by the fleet.

"It was just not what I hoped for. I’m happy with how I started but just didn’t finish off, which is usually what I pride myself on. I was expecting a little bit more.

"I felt like I was sailing really well [this week] and had the form but just wasn’t making the right decisions and wasn’t feeling the conditions. Sometimes you are in pretty good flow with the shifts and tacking in the right places and I just wasn’t doing that this week."

One who was feeling it was Philipp Buhl, who put together an incredible week of sailing. The German never finished out of the top 10 across 12 races in what is considered the most competitive of all the Olympic classes and also notched four race wins to finish 14 points ahead of Australia's Matt Wearn. Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic was a distant third, 26 points adrift of Wearn.

Saunders started the final day in 10th and with an outside chance of a medal, but fell out of contention after finishing 37th in the first race of the day.

"That wasn’t a good start to the day and I had to carry that [score] because yesterday I got tangled up with the Croatian in the last race and lost about 30 places. After that I just wanted to go out with a bang and sail how I know I can. I had a couple of good races but I was just a bit early off the line on the last race [and was disqualified].

"[This week has been] a lot of what ifs or what could have been. The top couple of guys sailed pretty well and we weren’t even close to them in the end. It’s pretty hard to swallow right now after the buildup we had. We spent a lot of time here so I don’t really have an excuse."

Two other Kiwis were competing in Melbourne this week, with Josh Armit 37th in silver fleet and Luke Deegan 16th in bronze fleet.

Next month's Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma is the next regatta on the agenda for the Laser squad before attentions switch to Japan, where one will eventually compete for New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics.

Results and standings from the Laser world championships in Melbourne:

Gold fleet (42 boats)

1st: Philipp Buhl (GER) (4) 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 6 (10) 4 - 24 pts 2nd: Matt Wearn (AUS) 6 4 2 2 2 (11) 4 8 2 2 (9) 6 - 38 pts 3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 1 2 (13) 2 6 1 18 15 4 4 (21) 11 - 64 pts

8th: Sam Meech (NZ) 5 5 5 5 1 (10) 14 6 10 18 17 (26) - 86 pts 21st: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 9 4 3 2 (11) 16 7 40 37 6 (43 UFD) - 127 pts 29th: George Gautrey (NZL) 14 (18) 3 8 15 12 5 12 31 23 27 (34) - 150 pts

Silver fleet (41 boats) 37th: Josh Armit (NZL) 8 21 12 (22) 21 19 30 37 24 37 37 (43 RET) - 246 pts

Bronze fleet (41 boats) 16th: Luke Deegan (NZL) (32) 32 29 24 31 27 23 21 8 10 9 (43 UFD) - 214 pts

Full results click here

Related Articles

Youth AC: RNZYS crews named
The hosting club has named two teams, each consisting of two female and two male sailors The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has today announced that they will now be entering two teams into next year's Youth America's Cup event in Auckland, as well as announcing the sailors for both teams. Posted on 28 Jul
High profile entries for NZ Open Keelboat Nats
NZL Sailing Team entry will give the defending champions Knots Racing a run for their money. There is still over two months until the 2020 Theland NZ Open National Keelboat Championship, but it is looking set to be the best chapter in the events history, with a raft of big names already populating the eleven-strong entry list. Posted on 24 Jul
Meech adapts as Olympic countdown starts again
NZ's Bronze medalist in the Laser class from Rio looks to make the most of the change in schedule. Sam Meech should have been in the final throes of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics but the countdown clock has been reset due to Covid-19 and he's looking to make the most of it. Posted on 24 Jul
TYPBC Junior and Youth Frostbite regatta coming up
The event is being held as a replacement to the cancelled AIMS Games Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club are running their Frostbite Junior & Youth regatta on Saturday 5th - Sunday 6th September 2020 as a replacement for the cancelled AIMS Games sailing regatta. Posted on 15 Jul
Yachting NZ podcast: Ep. 14 with Harold Bennett
Harold Bennett, the principal race officer for five editions of the America's Cup, talks to YNZ. Harold Bennett is best known for being the principal race officer for five America's Cup between 2000 and 2013. Broad Reach Radio sits down to talk yachting in episode 14 of their podcast. Posted on 15 Jul
Strong interest in Mud House Women's Regatta
The fourth edition of the Mud House Women's Regatta is expected to feature more than 20 boats. It's an event that attracts world and Olympic champions through to absolute beginners and September's fourth edition of the Mud House Women's Regatta is expected to feature more than 20 boats. Posted on 1 Jul
Yachting NZ podcast: New episodes now online
Broad Reach Radio, the YNZ podcast features long form interviews with top NZ sailors. The podcast will feature a range of topics from interviews with top sailors of today and yesteryear to chats with people in the sailing and boating industries. Posted on 1 Jul
Situations vacant: marine industry jobs available
Lots of positions are available around the country for those with marine industry experience. If you're in the market for a new job and have got some skills and experience in the marine industry, take a look at the listings below for lots of exciting career opportunities that are available right now all over New Zealand. Posted on 1 Jul
Blakey knows where loyalties lie in eSailing champ
Matt Blakey grew up in NZ but will be representing Australia in Sunday's Zhik eSailing Champs. Matt Blakey doesn't think he has any split loyalties, even though he was born and raised in New Zealand but will be representing Australia in Sunday night's Zhik Trans-Tasman eSailing Championships. Posted on 8 Jun
Zhik Trans Tasman eSailing Champs: Meet the racers
12 competitors from NZ and Aus will be online to compete for the first eSailing Champ Coming up this Sunday June 7th, Zhik's Trans-Tasman eSailing Championships kicks off. Over the next few days, we will introduce you to the six sailors from New Zealand and six from Australia who will compete. Posted on 4 Jun
Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTERHenri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTER