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Tokyo2020: New Zealand sailors make a move up the leaderboard - Day 4

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 28 Jul 2021 16:57 PDT 29 July 2021
Tokyo2020 - Day 4 - July, 28, - Enoshima, Japan. Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL) Race 1 finish © Richard Gladwell - Sail-World.com / nz

It might have been the stronger breeze but the New Zealand flag flew a little bit more prominently in the boat park today as the Kiwi sailors started to make their move up the leaderboards.

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox opened their campaign in the men's 470 in impressive style, banking scores of six and two in the 15-knot winds and big waves to sit second overall.

That wasn't the only good news. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke bagged top-three finishes in two of their three races to climb to fifth, Josh Junior also made a move up to eighth overall and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech started to find their groove and sit in ninth.

Snow-Hansen and Willcox set the tone for the day, revelling in conditions they have been working hard on to improve, and are only one point behind Australia's Matt Belcher and Will Ryan. They excelled on the upwind legs, often picking the wind shifts beautifully, to put themselves in good positions.

"We were talking when we saw the forecast this morning that today would be a great showcase for the 470 with a bit of breeze and some waves," Willcox said. "That was champagne conditions for the 470s.

Snow-Hansen added: "It was just fun to get out there. My legs are sore from hiking and it felt like we got churned around. This is our last regatta together [because the 470 will be a mixed class at the 2024 Paris Olympics] so that was pretty cool."

It was also a good day for Burling and Tuke, who started the day in 12th but made a move on the back of a second and third. They were at the pointy end of the fleet throughout, but were a little disappointed to lose a couple of places late in their second race of the day and were eighth.

"We fought away and sailed quietly smartly to be in the front few in most of the races," Tuke said. "We dropped a few boats on the last downwind in the second race, which is a bit disappointing. You never like to leave points on the table like that but, all in all, we’re relatively happy.

"It was a little bit of a tough start for us yesterday but we knew it was going to be a fight coming here and we are right up for it."

Maloney and Meech fought back well in the 49erFX after their tough start yesterday, especially in the final two races when they were contesting the lead.

Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey of Great Britain have sailed impressively so far and hold a handy lead, but the rest of the fleet have sizable drops for their worst score, meaning it's likely there will still be a lot of movement on the leaderboard.

Maloney and Meech usually enjoy big breeze but today's wind, combined with steep waves, made it treacherous at times and they realised it was important to limit manoeuvres.

"When we got out there it was pretty windy and the wave state was big and messy so that was a bit of fun but also a bit scary downwind at times on some of the waves," Meech said. "You felt like you were going down and couldn't stop.

"I think we are starting to minimise mistakes so that's quite a nice feeling. We are disappointed we have made a few mistakes but we have a few races to go and a lot to catch up on."

Josh Junior found himself in that position in both of his races in the Finn today. In the first he was 14th at the top mark for the last time and showed impressive downwind speed to mow his way through the fleet and finish third.

He backed that up with a seventh in his second race and is now eighth overall, 12 points off the lead held by Turkey's Alican Kaynar after four of the 10 qualifying races.

Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson made their Olympic debut today, only five weeks after Dawson fractured her leg in a training accident. They were consistent throughout, banking scores of 11, 12 and 13, to sit in 12th overall in the Nacra 17.

Sam Meech returns to action in the Laser tomorrow after a rest day today and is 15th overall with four qualifying races remaining.

Similar conditions are forecast again tomorrow before the wind is due to drop away for a few days leading into the first of the medal races.

Results and standings after day four of the Olympic sailing regatta in Enoshima:

49er (19 boats)

1st: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 2 (8) 4 1 - 7 pts 2nd: Diego Botin / Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) (5) 1 2 5 - 8 pts 3rd: Will Phillips / Sam Phillips (AUS) 7 4 1 (8) - 12 pts

5th: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) (12) 3 8 2 - 13 pts

49erFX (21 boats)

1st: Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) 1 1 (6) 4 2 5 - 13 pts 2nd: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) (13) 8 2 1 6 1 - 18 pts 3rd: Tamara Echegoyen / Paula Martin (ESP) 2 10 (22 UFD) 2 3 3 - 20 pts

13th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 16 (22 UFD) 5 12 4 4 - 41 pts

Finn (19 boats)

1st: Alican Kaynar (TUR) 1 1 6 (13) - 8 pts 2nd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 2 2 (9) 4 - 8 pts 3rd: Joan Cardona (ESP) 3 3 (5) 3 - 9 pts

8th: Josh Junior (NZL) (12) 10 3 7 - 20 pts

Laser (35 boats)

1st: Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 4 7 5 1 (20) 1 - 18 pts 2nd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 17 (28) 2 4 2 2 - 27 pts 3rd: Robert Scheidt (BRA) 11 10 4 3 (17) 5 - 33 pts

15th: Sam Meech (NZL) (19) 19 8 16 14 3 - 60 pts

Laser Radial (44 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (BEL) 6 5 3 (13) 4 4 - 22 pts 2nd: Josefin Olsson (SWE) (34) 15 8 4 1 6 - 34 pts 3rd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) (21) 14 7 2 3 9 - 35 pts

Men's 470 (19 boats)

1st: Matt Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) 2 5 - 7 pts 2nd: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) 6 2 - 8 pts 3rd: Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Garcia-Paz (ESP) 10 1 - 11 pts

Women's 470 (21 boats)

1st: Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar (POL) 1 1 - 2 pts 2nd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 3 2 - 5 pts 3rd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) 4 3 - 7 pts

Nacra 17 (20 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 (3) 1 - 2 pts 2nd: Paul Kohlhoff / Alicia Stuhlemmer (GER) 5 1 (7) - 6 pts 3rd: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 2 (11) 4 - 6 pts

12th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 11 12 (13) - 23 pts

Women's RS:X (27 boards)

1st: Emma Wilson (GBR) 5 2 6 1 4 2 1 1 (28 UFD) - 22 pts 2nd: Lu Yunxiu (CHN) 2 9 (25) 2 2 1 4 2 1 - 23 pts 3rd: Charline Picon (FRA) 1 6 2 (9) 1 4 2 3 6 - 25 pts

Men's RS:X (25 boards)

1st: Kiran Badloe (NED) 5 7 1 1 (26 DSQ) 5 2 4 1 - 26 pts 2nd: Matia Camboni (ITA) 4 2 4 8 2 2 8 (13) 4 - 34 pts 3rd: Thomas Goyard (FRA) (13) 5 3 13 1 1 3 6 7 - 39 pts

Full results

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