Please select your home edition
McConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 LEADERBOARD

Yachting NZ: Saunders hits the front at Laser world championships

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 9 Nov 2021 12:34 PST 10 November 2021
Tom Saunders (NZL) leads the 2021 Laser Worlds in Barcelona, Spain. © ILCA

Tom Saunders will head into an unfamiliar position tomorrow but one he's excited about - leading going into the final day of the Laser world championships in Barcelona.

The 29-year-old had a brilliant fifth day at these world championships, banking a first, fourth and second in the three gold fleet races overnight, to hold a handy 14-point lead over Ireland's Finn Lynch. Olympic silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic (Croatia) is another 28 points behind in third.

George Gautrey continued his climb up the leaderboard overnight, jumping up to 18th overall, and will look to finish his first international regatta in nearly two years on a high.

Three races are scheduled for tonight (NZ time), when a strong onshore breeze and big swells are forecast, which will come as welcome relief for many who have struggled with a week of mostly light winds and long delays.

There are still plenty of points on offer, meaning big moves up and down the leaderboard are still possible, but giving Saunders some comfort is the fact a second drop for the regatta will come into play after the second race tonight and 10th race overall.

"It was a great day for me today," Saunders said. [Stand-in coach] Mike [Bullot] and I had a great game plan. We managed to get the critical decisions right all day, which set me up for some low scores. It's always a bonus getting a race win. That feeling will never get old.

"I feel like I'm sailing with a lot of freedom. It's a nice mindset to have and something Mike and I have worked hard on.

"I'm pretty excited going into tomorrow. It's a position I've never been in before. It's also a lot of fun. I will try to get some sleep, keep my presence and hope my legs turn up tomorrow."

Saunders has been a regular on the Laser circuit for some time, and achieved some notable results over the last decade.

He's twice finished in the top 10 at the world championships, has multiple podium finishes at World Cup events and is a former youth sailing world champion. He brought some form into this event, having finished sixth at last month's Laser European championships in Bulgaria, and seems to have latched onto a good formula all week considering he's had only one result outside the top seven.

Gautrey has been chasing consistency all week and was on course for a good first day of gold fleet racing with a 32nd and seventh before finishing 64th in the last race of the day in a dying breeze.

"It could have been a good day but the last race was tough," he said. "We finished in no wind and four knots of current, which was a shame. If that had been a good race, I would have had a good day.

"Obviously Tom is sailing well, which is good to see. Hopefully there's some big breeze tomorrow and we can get some good racing in."

Results and standings after day 5 of the Laser world championships in Barcelona:

(135 boats)

1st: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 4 7 2 (37) 1 4 2 - 23 points 2nd: Finn Lynch (IRE) 3 6 8 10 (16) 7 2 1 - 37 pts 3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 11 3 6 2 11 8 24 (35) - 65 pts

18th: George Gautrey (NZL) 23 8 15 24 6 32 7 (64) - 115 pts

Full results click here

Related Articles

ILCA 7 Worlds: Saunders finishes 4th - Final Day
Tom Saunders narrowly missed on a medal on the final day of the ILCA 7 Worlds Tom Saunders was hurting after narrowly missing out on a medal on the final day of the ILCA 7 (Laser) world championships in Mexico but also excited about his ability to consistently be near the top at major regattas. Posted on 29 May
ILCA 7 Worlds: Saunders into 2nd - Day 5
Tom Saunders responds well under pressure for the chance to win a second world title Tom Saunders is excited about the chance to win a second world title and will look to put the pressure on those around him on the final day of the ILCA 7 (Laser) world championships in Mexico. Posted on 28 May
ILCA 7 Worlds: Saunders into 3rd - Day 4
Saunders jumped 11 places to third overall on the back of a fourth and a first in today's two races Tom Saunders had felt he wasn't far off clicking in the early stages of the ILCA 7 world championships and it all came together for him on Day 4 in Mexico. Posted on 27 May
ILCA 7 Worlds: Moving day looms for Saunders
Tom Saunders goes into the first day of gold fleet racing in 14th overall - Day 3 report Saunders has easily made the cut, heading into tomorrow's first day of gold fleet racing in 14th overall, but knows he needs to find his groove if he is to be in contention on the final day. Posted on 26 May
ILCA 7 Worlds: Frustration in Mexico - Day 2
Frustration was the order of the day for New Zealand's top two ILCA 7 (Laser) sailors in Mexico George Gautrey went into the second day in fourth but has struggled physically as he battles the after-effects of Covid-19. Posted on 24 May
ILCA 7 Worlds: Fatigued Gautrey 4th after Day 1
Gautrey is fourth equal in the 126-strong fleet after finishing third and sixth on Day 1 George Gautrey would struggle to remember a more difficult day as battles the after-effects of a Covid-19 infection that wrecked his buildup and has left him feeling fatigued. Posted on 24 May
NZL Sailing Team: World Champion heads to Mexico
Four Kiwi sailors head for Mexico to join classy fleet for ILCA 7 World titles Tom Saunders is heading into his ninth ILCA 7 world championships but knows this one in Mexico, will be a bit different to the rest. That's because the 29-year-old goes in as defending champion after winning last year's world title in Barcelona. Posted on 23 May
Lolly bribes help secure Sunburst Nationals win
Family involvement was a feature of this year's national Sunburst championships Andrew and Leo Wills finished four points ahead of another father and son combination, Adam and Henri Crooks, with siblings Finn and Hamish Brown third. Eight of the top nine crews were made up of family members. Posted on 11 May
420 & 470 Nationals at Takapuna - Mixed 470 debut
470 class holds its first National championship for Mixed Crews at Takapuna. After the introduction of new events for the Paris2024, the 470 class held its first National championship for Mixed Crews at Takapuna. The regatta was also the 420 Nationals for Youth crews ahead of regattas in Europe later this year. Posted on 2 May
Five Kiwis finish in top 10 in Hyeres - Day 6
Kiwis exit first international competition in two years knowing they're not too far of the pace Five boats finished in the top 10 at the French Olympic Week regatta which finished in Hyeres today on top of five who were in the top 10 at last month's Palma World Cup, which represents a good return after so long in the international wilderness. Posted on 30 Apr
Sea Sure 2021 - RED - FOOTERJ Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 Bottom