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NZL Sailing Team: Saunders hopes to be on the move after Day 3

by Michael Brown / Yachting NZ 26 May 05:06 PDT
Tom Saunders (NZL) is 14th heading into gold fleet racing tomorrow at the ILCA 7 world championships Banderas Bay in Mexico - May 2022 © John Pounder

Tom Saunders is a keen golfer and knows he needs tomorrow to be 'moving day' for him at the ILCA 7 (Laser) world championships in Mexico.

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.

The defending world champion was 13th and fourth in his two qualifying races today, which were once again sailed in the 10-18 knot sea breezes that routinely blow into Banderas Bay.

"It's been a similar theme all week," he said. "I had a couple of great starts today but I just keep getting the first beat slightly wrong, which is getting a little bit annoying.

"I felt we made some gains with the strategy in that last race [to finish fourth] but I definitely need to figure it out a bit more before tomorrow. I can't keep doing what I am doing and get away with it in gold fleet."

The top half of the field progress through to gold fleet for three days of racing. George Gautrey would have made the cut but withdrew from the world championships after the second day as he battled the after-effects of Covid-19.

The racing will intensify as the fleet chase down leader Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France and what will bring some comfort to Saunders is the fact most of those ahead of him have a bigger drop on their cards for their worst result of the regatta.

"With six races to go, we are only halfway through," he said. "This is when the points can add up pretty quickly. I'm not too far off. I just need to put it all together, which I feel like I can do.

"I think I just need to simplify things a little bit for the next few days and hopefully that takes care of itself."

Youngster Luke Cashmore, who is in his first year competing on the international circuit, is 84th and Luke Deegan is 91st.

Results and standings after Day 3 of the ILCA 7 world championships in Mexico (126 boats):

1st: Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) (19) 3 2 3 2 2 - 12 points 2nd: Elliot Hanson (GBR) 6 (26) 4 1 1 3 - 15 pts 3rd: Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) 2 2 (11) 7 1 6 - 18 pts

14th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 4 10 (19) 12 13 4 - 43 pts 51st: George Gautrey (NZL) 3 6 23 15 (64 DNC) 64 DNC - 111 pts 84th: Luke Cashmore (NZL) 37 34 34 39 40 (45) - 184 pts 91st: Luke Deegan (NZL) 42 (52) 40 38 46 30 - 196 pts

Full results here...

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