Alex Maloney and Molly Meech had been looking forward to stronger winds at Kiel Week all regatta and it played into their hands last night (NZT) as the Olympic 49erFX silver medallists climbed to the top of the standings after three days of racing.
The pair scored two wins, a second and a sixth to open an eight-point lead on the British combination of Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey.
The news wasn't quite so good for fellow Kiwis Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey, who started the day in first but dropped to fifth overall. They struggled in the day's first two races, finishing 18th and 21st in the 25-strong gold fleet, and followed it up with an 11th and a ninth after making some alterations to their boat
"It was a pretty tough day for us," Rippey admitted. "In the first race we had a bad start and struggled to recover. After that, we followed it with another bad race which was a bit of a shame. We came back and changed some things on the boat and managed to get it going fast again."
Porebski and Rippey are only five points off a podium position but they had ambitions of winning the regatta and the top two combinations - Australians David Gilmour and Joel Turner and the Polish team of Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kołodziński - have opened a handy lead on the rest of the fleet.
The breezy conditions of 17-25 knots made life difficult for many but Maloney and Meech thrived on the first day of racing in the top 25 gold fleet.
"It was really, really exciting skiff racing," Meech said. "We had a solid day with four really good results and we're really looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.
"We were mixing it up with not only the top 49erFX crews but also catching up to the back of the 49er fleet so things were pretty hairy at times. We had a little bit on at times but it was nice to stay composed and finish the day off in a good position."
Maloney and Meech can look forward to breezy conditions for the rest of the regatta. Three races are scheduled for tonight (NZT) ahead of tomorrow night's double points medal race.
Paralympian Andrew May, who was part of the Kiwi Gold crew who competed in Rio, climbed two places to be 16th in the 2.4mR Para World Sailing Championship after recording a 12th and a 16th in the two races sailed overnight.
Kiel Week is one of the biggest regattas outside of world and European championships and, apart from those involved in Bermuda with the America's Cup, most of the world's top sailors are in Germany.
New Zealand results and standings at the Kiel Week regatta in Germany overnight (NZT):
49er (69 boats)
1st: David Gilmour / Joel Turner (AUS) 1 4 3 1 (20) 2 5 4 7 - 27 points
2nd: Łukasz Przybytek / Paweł Kołodziński (POL) 5 7 2 3 10 6 3 (21) 1 - 37 points
3rd: Mads Emil Stephensen Lübeck / Nikolaj Hoffmann Buhl (DEN) 13 9 (28) 2 2 3 8 3 12 - 52 points
5th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 4 1 1 10 3 18 (21) 11 9 - 57 points
49erFX (48 boats)
1st: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 4 1 (17) 3 11 2 1 2 1 6 - 31 points
2nd: Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) (16) 4 5 1 3 11 4 1 5 5 - 39 points
3rd: Tina Lutz / Sasann Beucke (GER) 1 5 (16) 3 3 2 6 4 9 8 - 41 points
2.4mR Para World Sailing Championship (41 boats)
16th: Andrew May (NZL) 17 (18) 13 12 17 - 59 points
- Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are leading with two days remaining at the Kiel Week regatta. Photo: segel-bilder.de