Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have been crowned 470 Women’s World Champions for the first time, the title coming exactly one year to the day since they won Olympic Gold. Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have finished 7th in the Men’s Championship.
Demonstrating the classy, relaxed composure we saw in last year’s Olympic medal race Aleh (27 years old) and Powrie (25 years old) also won today’s medal race, sailed at 3:30pm in La Rochelle, France after a light wind postponement, to take out the 2013 470 World Championships.
They are delighted; “Finally our first world title in the 470! We won the medal race to finish in style. One year ago today it was Olympic Gold, now the world title.”
Aleh says; “We were pretty relaxed going into today. It wasn’t all over, but we were pretty relaxed and that helped. We sailed a great race.”
While the pair has amassed plenty of World Championship and ISAF World Cup medals the closest they’ve come to the world championship title is silver in 2010 and bronze in 2011.
Aleh and Powrie (Takapuna Boating Club/Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) announced their campaign towards Rio 2016 in December last year and since getting back in the boat early in 2013 have taken out Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup in Garda and Delta Lloyd Regatta now adding the 2013 World title topping off an excellent year.
Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar from Austria won the silver medal with a 3rd in the medal race, while China’s Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang pipped local girls Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron for the bronze. The French had to settle for 4th.
Lying 2nd overall earlier in the series the pair suffered from one poor day on the water, but showed plenty of grit and determination to make the best of it recovering for a top seven finish in what is a world class fleet.
“The regatta has had its ups and downs, but we finished with a 3rd in the medal race moving us up one place overall. Cheers to everyone who has followed our progress and wished us luck,” says Snow-Hansen and Willcox.
Their coach, Hamish Willcox, a three time Olympic champion in the 470 class himself, believes there is plenty of potential for this new combination; “Huge learnings for us and the boys are getting battle hardened with each additional regatta. They are up against teams with over 15 years experience - France, Australia, Argentina, Britain, Greece and USA all have at least one member of their crew with more than 15 years experience on the 470 circuit.”
“Looking at the gains our boys have made in the last 100 days sailing those teams had better watch out! Paul and Dan are already the most successful and dominant team in zero to 11 or 12 knots.”
22 year-old Paul Snow-Hansen (Wakatere Boating Club) and 23 year-old Dan Willcox (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) joined forces in the Men’s 470 for a tilt at the Rio Olympics subsequent to the 2012 London Olympics where helm Snow-Hansen represented New Zealand with distinction placing 5th overall sailing with Jason Saunders.
This year Snow-Hansen and Willcox have produced encouraging results including 8th at the recent 470 European Championships, a silver medal at Delta Lloyd Regatta and bronze at International 470 Spring Cup.
Both New Zealand crews are packing up immediately after racing ready to depart La Rochelle tomorrow morning. A week from now both Aleh and Powrie, and Snow-Hansen and Willcox will be in Rio, Brazil for a training camp at the 2016 Olympic venue.
The other two New Zealand crews racing in the Men’s fleet were Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson who have placed 49th while Richard Power and John Power have ended the regatta in 100th.
3rd Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA)
Coaches: Nathan Handley and Hamish Willcox
About the NZL Sailing Team
NZL Sailing Team includes New Zealand’s top Olympic campaigners who share the ultimate goal to win Olympic medals for New Zealand at the Rio Games in 2016.
NZL Sailing Team sailors all started out at grass roots yacht clubs around the country and with commitment, dedication and drive have risen to be world class athletes; they work hard in the gym, train long hours on the water and are supported by great coaches.
For more information contact
Communications Manager, Yachting New Zealand
M. 021 709 065