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Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta: Aleh feeling more at home after taking out 49erFX title with Meech

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 20 Feb 2022 04:41 PST 21 February 2022
Jo Aleh and Molly Meech (49erFX) - Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta - Day 4 - Takapuna BC February 20, © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com / nz

Jo Aleh admits she's felt a bit rusty getting back into top-level racing but is encouraged by how quickly her new combination with Molly Meech in the 49erFX is coming together.

The two-time Olympic medallist recently announced she was returning to Olympic campaigning, this time in a new boat and with a new partner.

Aleh and Meech emerged on top in the 49erFX class after the fourth and final day of racing at the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta today, finishing 13 points ahead of Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs. They won four of the 12 races in the nine-boat fleet but, just as importantly, finished outside the top three only once.

"It was good to win some races and get a few things right," Aleh said. "Every day we built on the things we needed to work on and accelerate the learning curve. It’s quite hard racing at this stage of our campaign because we've only been sailing together 12 days and aren’t race ready yet.

"It was such good fun, though. I was a little rusty but definitely got more and more comfortable. I have a lot of in-built habits from the 470 after a lot of years in that boat so every day is a learning experience.

"I’m so lucky to have Molly at the front of the boat. She knows what she’s doing and knows what it should feel like and where the level is. It just feels like we trust each other which is a big thing for me, especially as I don’t know if I trust myself in the boat sometimes."

That will come for someone of Aleh's quality and she hopes to be more in tune when she heads to Europe with Meech next month for a series of international regattas.

A number of New Zealand sailors are venturing to Europe soon, including world champion Tom Saunders who took out the ILCA 7 class at the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, as well as Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie who finished on top in the 49er.

A lot of the most intense racing in recent days has been seen in the youth classes, with the event also the selection regatta for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to compete at this year's youth sailing world championships.

Yachting New Zealand are hopeful of sending a team to the Netherlands in July, especially as a New Zealand team has been absent from youth sailing's pinnacle event for two years because of Covid-19.

Lucy Leith and Lizzie Shapland won selection to compete in Brazil in 2020 before the event was cancelled and look set to earn selection this time around after comfortably taking out the girl's 29er.

"Honestly, we are so happy," Leith said. "We are just so excited we might get a chance to go and compete at the youth worlds after missing out last time."

It's likely to be a third trip to the youth worlds for former 420 world champion Seb Menzies, who took out the boy's 29er with George Lee Rush. The pair are a relatively new combination, with their previous partners having moved to the senior ranks, but they punched out nine wins in the 12 races to finish 19 points ahead of Kosta Gladiadis and Mattias Coutts in second.

"It's awesome," Menzies said. "Winning the youth trials was our goal when we teamed up so the regatta went really well. We kept cool heads despite the heat."

The final day was raced in a light sea breeze across two of the three race courses on Auckland's North Shore but enough puff didn't quite make its way down the coast for the windfoilers and kitefoilers to hit the water.

The regatta also incorporated the windfoiling national championships, with Josh Armit and Veerle ten Have taking out the titles.

Results and standings after day 4 of the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta and windfoiling national championships - Sunday Feb 20, 2022:

49erFX (9 boats)

1st: Jo Aleh / Molly Meech (Torbay Sailing Club / Royal Akarana Yacht Club) 3 3 3 2 2 3 1 1 (6) 1 2 - 22 points 2nd: Alex Maloney / Olivia Hobbs (Murrays Bay Sailing Club / RAYC) 6 5 1 1 1 5 3 6 3 2 2 (10 OCS) - 35 pts 3rd: Erica Dawson / Micah Wilkinson / Will Shapland (MBSC / Ngaroto Sailing Club) 1 1 4 (10 DNC) 10 DNC 10 DNC 6 3 8 1 3 4 - 51 pts

49er (5 boats)

1st: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (RAYC) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 (3) 1 3 - 14 pts 2nd: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (Wakatere Boating Club / MBSC) 2 4 2 2 2 (6 OCS) 4 2 1 2 2 3 3 - 26 pts 3rd: Sam Morgan / Pat Morgan (RAYC) 3 (5) 5 4 5 3 2 3 5 1 5 1 - 37 pts

29er (18 boats)

Male youth

1st: George Lee Rush / Seb Menzies (WBC / MBSC) 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 (3) 1 1 - 13 pts 2nd: Kosta Gladiadis / Mattias Coutts (Manly Sailing Club) 1 1 3 3 (9) 2 6 5 2 1 3 5 - 32 pts 3rd: Valentine Kayrouz / Ben Brighouse (MBSC) 4 4 2 5 (10 SCP) 4 2 4 4 5 7 3 - 44 pts

Female youth

1st: Lucy Leith / Lizzie Shapland (MBSC) 3 3 5 2 3 3 3 2 5 (7) 6 7 - 42 pts 2nd: Jess Redpath / Kayla Abbott (MBSC) 12 13 12 14 (15) 14 12 12 11 10 8 4 - 122 pts 3rd: Naiomi Ferrissey / Mia Barker (MBSC) 8 6 (19 UFD) 11 8 6 10 7 13 19 DNC 19 DNC 19 DNC - 126 pts

470 (6 boats)

1st: Paul Snow-Hansen / Rebecca Hume (WBC / MBSC) (7 UFD) 2 1 1 1 1 1 7 UFD 1 1 1 1 - 18 pts 2nd: Brittany Wornall / Sam Street (Naval Point Club Lyttelton / New Plymouth Yacht Club / MBSC) 1 1 3 3 2 3 2 1 2 (7 UFD) 3 2 - 23 pts 3rd: Richard Power / John Power (Kerikeri Cruising Club) 2 5 5 (6) 6 4 4 2 3 2 2 4 - 39 pts

420 (9 boats)

Girls

1st: Nicola Hume / Dani Wooldridge (MBSC / WBC) 1 4 4 4 3 2 (10 UFD) 5 4 2 8 4 - 41 pts 2nd: Vivien Webster Chung / Kiera Sinton (MBSC / WBC) 4 5 5 5 5 6 3 4 5 (10 UFD) 4 5 - 51 pts

ILCA 6 (27 boats)

Open women

1st: Annabelle Rennie-Younger (RAYC) 2 2 1 5 (10) 6 3 6 8 2 2 10 - 47 pts 2nd: Olivia Christie (Worser Bay Boating Club) 4 4 6 6 1 5 8 4 1 4 11 (28 UFD) - 54 pts 3rd: Greta Pilkington (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) 9 5 7 8 6 7 (28 BFD) 2 5 3 6 8 - 66 pts

Open men

1st: George Lane (Hamilton Yacht Club) 5 6 3 3 2 13 12 5 (14) 6 3 2 - 60 pts

Male youth

1st: Caleb Armit (MBSC) 1 3 2 1 4 1 1 3 4 (5) 4 1 - 25 pts 2nd: Dylan Forsyth (RAYC) 3 1 4 2 3 3 (28 DSQ) 1 11 13 1 6 - 48 pts 3rd: Ethan Fong (WBC) 8 11 11 (12) 9 2 2 9 9 1 8 3 - 73 pts

Female youth

1st: Teaghan Denney (Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club) 18 15 18 14 19 10 10 16 22 (28 UFD) 20 4 - 166 pts 2nd: Anna Martin (NPCL) 16 19 16 18 18 19 13 13 20 (28 UFD) 12 20 - 184 pts 3rd: Molly Webley (MSC) 17 18 17 17 20 16 17 (28 BFD) 21 28 UFD 23 19 - 213 pts

ILCA 7 (7 entries)

1st: Tom Saunders (TYPBC) (2) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 - 12 pts 2nd: Thomas Mulcahy (MBSC) 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 4 (7) 4 5 - 33 pts 3rd: Luke Cashmore (WBC) 4 3 (5) 2 3 2 4 4 5 3 3 3 - 36 pts

Windfoiling

Gold fleet (17 boards)

1st: Josh Armit (Takapuna Boating Club) (2) 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 - 8 pts 2nd: Thomas Crook (WBC) 1 1 2 2 4 2 3 (5) - 15 pts 3rd: Eli Liefting (RAYC) 3 6 3 (18 UFD) 2 3 2 3 - 22 pts

Women

1st: Veerle ten Have (TYPBC) 4 3 6 5 7 (10) 10 8 - 43 pts 2nd: Brianna Orams 10 10 9 8 (12) 11 13 13 - 73 pts

Male youth

1st: Jack Parr 1 1 1 1 1 1 (19 DNF) 1 - 7 pts 2nd: Charles Solly 3 4 2 6 3 3 2 (19 DNF) - 24 pts

Female youth

1st: Aimee Bright (MSC) 2 6 4 2 6 2 (19 DNF) 4 - 27 pts 2nd: Megan Hume (MBSC) (19 DNF) 15 13 9 12 12 19 9 - 89 pts

Kitefoiling (5 boards)

1st: Lukas Walton-Keim (open - TBC) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 (6 DNC) 1 - 9 pts 2nd: Hugo Wigglesworth (youth - MSC) 2 2 2 2 (3) 2 2 2 1 2 - 17 pts 3rd: Justina Kitchen (women - TBC) 3 (6 DNC) 3 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 - 25 pts

For full results click here

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