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ILCA7 Worlds: Saunders lies in third after Day 2

by Michael Brown / Yachting NZ 6 Nov 2021 21:22 PST 7 November 2021
Racing on Day 2 of the ILCA7 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain - November 2021 © ILCA7 Worlds

New Zealand's Tom Saunders has made a good start to the ILCA7 world championships in Barcelona, but it hasn't been easy with split sessions, big delays and big swells.

Saunders was third and fourth in his two qualifying races today to sit third in the overall standings. Fellow Kiwi George Gautrey is 29th after he was 23rd and eighth.

The world championships were due to get under way on Friday night (NZ time) but the first day was lost to a lack of wind.

The 135 sailors split across two fleets went out on the water overnight expecting 10-15 knots but the wind proved unpredictable and it took about 50 minutes for the first race to get under way.

Saunders was third in the yellow fleet, but the wind dropped markedly soon after, forcing the race committee to send the sailors ashore in the hope new breeze would arrive.

It came in just in time and built to about 18-20 knots, along with big waves, to test the two fleets.

Elliot Hanson, who was racing in the blue fleet, emerged in the best shape and he holds a slim lead over fellow Englishman Michael Beckett.

Olympic champion Matt Wearn is missing from these world championships, along with New Zealand's Sam Meech, but Tokyo silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic (Croatia) and bronze medallist Hermann Tomasgaard (Norway) are in the top 10 and two-time world champion Pavlos Kontides (Cyprus) is not far behind.

Saunders has done well to put himself in a good position despite the stuttering start to the regatta and is clearly in good form after finishing sixth at last month's Laser European championships.

"Our patience is going to be tested this week," he said. "I haven't done a double session on the water in a while.

"I'm happy to continue on where I left off at the Euros. [Stand-in coach] Mike Bullot and I have a good thing going and he's been great to have around at this event, and the last. He adds a lot of confidence around our decision making and a click of speed. He changed a few plans to be here this week so it's nice to have another regatta with him."

Three races are scheduled tonight as race management attempt to catch up to the programme.

Results and standings after Day 2 of the Laser World Championships in Barcelona: 1st: Elliot Hanson (GBR) – 2 1 - 3 points 2nd: Michael Beckett (GBR) 4 2 - 6 pts 3rd: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 4 - 7 pts

29th: George Gautrey (NZL) 23 8 - 31 pts

For full results click here

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