New Zealand has won gold in the 49er and silver in the Laser at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had their medal secure before starting today’s race, Sam Meech’s silver came after a dramatic on water tussle.
The five-day regatta wrapped up today in France under stormy skies with a breeze that went from brisk to bust.
New Zealand also collected two medal race victories with both Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in the women’s 470 and Andy Maloney in the Laser finishing on a high note.
Despite a chaotic penultimate day at 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had 49er gold in the bag before starting today’s medal race due to a massive 48 point leading margin over the closest boat.
Today they placed 4th in the medal race and the impressive kiwi pair finished the regatta by 46 points, defending their Hyeres title and were awarded the gold medals.
Together with coach Hamish Willcox, the Burling and Tuke phenomenon now have 26 consecutive regatta victories tallied.
With the Olympic Games now less than 100 days away from starting, the pair sees this victory as another stepping stone towards Rio 2016.
“Obviously, we are really happy with how we have been going at the moment but still like we have been saying, we have a lot of hard work to do over the next three or four months just to finish it off and finish off the final detailing,” said Peter Burling.
“If Rio was tomorrow I don’t feel like I think we are ready yet, so we’ve still got plenty in the tank to go and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
The second New Zealand 49er crew of Logan Dunning Beck and Jack Simpson have ended the regatta in 32nd place.
Sam Meech has won a silver medal in the Laser class after a 3rd place finish in today’s high stakes medal race.
Consistency through the four days of fleet racing saw Sam Meech in a strong position to medal, lying 4th going into the medal race the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club sailor converted that to a silver medal with a solid 3rd place performance on the water today and he is delighted.
“I’m feeling fantastic, really happy with the result. Obviously, it’s coming close to our selection so finishing in front of the other Kiwis hopefully helps,” says Meech.
Getting underway in strong winds, the breeze collapsed as the Laser medal race unfolded and a game or snakes and ladders ensued. Andy Maloney took the medal race win to end the regatta on a high note and improve his place to 5th overall making it two top five results for New Zealand in the Laser class (coached by Mark Howard).
Meech describes the race, “It was crazy, the first half of the race was really windy and the second was incredibly light. It was a really strange race in the end.”
“I was in a really good position leading at the first mark and I was just trying to win overall. Unfortunately, Phillip, the German guy, is a fantastic sailor and got past me on the second beat and then Andy got me on the run. I was then trying to stay in front of the Aussies at that point.”
With a second Olympic selection announcement for sailing still pending the Laser class will undoubtedly one of the toughest decisions the selectors have to make.
Meech was asked if he thinks this result is enough for selection. “I guess we’ll find out. I’ve just been trying to sail as well as I can and get the best overall result I can to give me the best chance.”
Germany’s Philipp Buhl won the Laser gold.
470 – Men and Women
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were pushed out of medal contention after a black flag in the final fleet race of the regatta and went into the medal race lying 6th overall.
And with nothing to lose and plenty to prove the kiwis took out the women’s 470 medal race today, sailed in blustery conditions. In a display of smart, fast sailing Aleh and Powrie fought to gain the race lead on the second beat and only extended from there to take the medal race gun.
As a result, they gained two places on the leader-board to finish 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres in 4th overall, and buoyed by the confidence gained from a medal race victory.
Jo Aleh says, “We came into today in 6th and we never had a chance at the podium so we just wanted to smash out a good medal race and we did that well. We had a great time out there and it was nice to finish on a good note.”
Powrie describes today’s conditions, “We were expecting a lot of breeze, then it moderated, and it got pretty patchy up the course where it gets close in. We just kept our heads out of the boat, kept looking around, and could see the pressure and just went for it.”
Talking about what they take away from this regatta Aleh said, “It’s a chance to check in and see how we’re going and we did that. The result is not what we want, but we had some good races and have some things to work on, so we’re pretty happy.”
“It's a week off now and then on to Rio for a bit of training. We’re looking forward to the next few months!”
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke from the British Sailing Team managed to win gold.
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox finished 6th overall in the men’s 470 event. In today’s medal race the men, who were named to represent New Zealand at Rio 2016, crossed the line in 7th.
Nathan Handley is the coach to New Zealand’s 470 sailors.
Josh Junior featured in the Finn medal race today and has finished 4th overall missing out on a podium finish by just one point.
Junior, who won gold recently at Princess Sofia Regatta in early April, was 8th across the line in today’s medal race in a dramatic tough fought battle.
The Finn medal race postponed initially due to the collapsed breeze, was sailed in conditions from 1 -12 knots, with heavy rain, and with a wind that died and shifted 90 degrees to further challenge the already challenged sailors.
Junior was among a group left stranded on the un-favoured side of the race track and it was the two Aussies – Jake Lilley and Oliver Tweddell – who went on to take the gold and silver medals respectively. Jonathan Lobert of France was one point ahead of Junior for the bronze medal.
Andrew Murdoch missed out on the Finn medal race in Hyeres by to places and he comes away from France with a 12th place finish.
The World Championship, the 2016 Finn Gold Cup, starts next Thursday in Gaeta, Italy. John Cutler is NZL Sailing Team Finn Coach.
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech finished the regatta in 9th place in the 49erFX event. The women’s skiff duo, who are coached by Jim Maloney, placed 4th in their medal race today.
Provisional results after penultimate day racing saw Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders narrowly sitting inside the top ten placed Nacra crews, however, a subsequent protest, unrelated to the kiwi crew, meant the boat just behind them on points improved its position by one point.
Jones and Saunders, who are coached by Jez Fanstone, were pushed out of the top ten on count back and end the regatta in 11th overall.
Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson wrapped up 2016 Sailing World Cup Hyeres with a 23rd place finish.
Laser Radial and Women’s RS:X
Laser Radial campaigner Sara Winther finished 11th in her event while Natalia Kosinska placed 24th overall in the women’s RS:X windsurfing.
2016 World Sailing Cup Hyeres
New Zealand Team final results
Full results here
1st Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 49er
32nd Logan Dunning-Beck and Jack Simpson – 49er
9th Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech – 49erFX
17th Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland – 49erFX
4th Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – Women’s 470
6th Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox – Men’s 470
4th Josh Junior – Finn
12th Andrew Murdoch – Finn
11th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – Nacra 17
23rd Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson – Nacra 17
2nd Sam Meech – Laser
5th Andy Maloney – Laser
20th Andrew McKenzie – Laser
11th Sara Winther – Laser Radial
24th Natalia Kosinska – Women’s RS:X
For more information contact:
Communications Manager, Yachting New Zealand
Tel. 021 709 065
Here are this year’s key dates on the Road to Rio...
2016 Finn World Championships (Finn Gold Cup), Gaeta, Italy
Racing dates: 6 – 11 May
2016 Laser World Championships, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Racing dates: 12-18 May
ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth, United Kingdom
Racing dates: 10-14 June
2016 Rio Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Racing dates: 8-19 August
2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Racing dates: 7–18 September