Electric finish to Laser world champs


The weather had the final say at the Laser world championships in Croatia overnight (NZ time) with racing cancelled due to thunder and lightning.

Sam Meech finished 12th at the Laser world championships in Croatia. Photo: laserworlds2017.com.

It was a disappointing way to end for New Zealand's Tom Saunders and Sam Meech, who were both aiming for a strong finish to the regatta in the final two races. Saunders was still in with a chance of picking up a medal - he finished eighth overall and Meech was 12th.

The world title went to Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus with Olympic champion Tom Burton winning silver and fellow Australian Matthew Wearn in third.

The second electrical storm to pass through Split this week destroyed the gradient wind, leaving behind a light and unstable breeze that didn't build sufficiently before the cutoff time.

"It was a bit disappointing we couldn't get out there today but I'm happy with the result and how far I have come this year," Saunders said. "But you always want more. I just need to keep working hard and push forward.

"I was a bit slow to start but I was happy with my composure and ability to climb the leaderboard as the event went on. I'm excited for what's ahead."

Saunders is presently a member of Yachting New Zealand's Olympic development squad but is pushing for inclusion in the top-tier NZL Sailing Team. On top of his result in Split, he also finished fourth at last month's world championships test event in Aarhus. 

Meech was third in Aarhus and started his week in Croatia very strongly, coming through qualifying only two points off the lead on the back of six top-four results. But the Olympic bronze medallist struggled on the final two days in gold fleet and slipped out of contention.

"I'm a bit disappointed, really, with my result although I was really happy with the first half of the regatta," he said. "In the second half I let myself down a bit. That's sailing, and you don't always have great days, but it's disappointing because I felt I was sailing really well at the start.

"The next event for me is in Japan in October when it will be another chance for me to put together a regatta before the end of the year."

The conditions also scuppered the chance of racing in silver fleet, meaning Andrew McKenzie finished second overall and George Gautrey 11th.

Final standings after the conclusion of the Laser world championships in Split, Croatia, overnight (NZ time):

Gold fleet
1st: Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 1 1 1 3 1 (dnf) (26) 2 1 5 - 15 points
2nd: Tom Burton (AUS) (18) 2 6 7 1 1 5 4 4 (23) - 30 pts
3rd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) (9) 3 1 1 2 2 11 (24) 5 6 - 31 pts

8th: Tom Saunders (NZL) (15) 3 7 2 4 3 (23) 5 8 19 - 51 pts
12th: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 (4) 2 2 2 2 39 12 (40) 12 - 72 pts

Silver fleet
2nd: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 46 5 2 11 13 (DSQ) 16 1 - 94 pts
11th: George Gautrey (NZL) 18 28 27 19 16 14 (bfd) 12 - 134 pts

20 Sep 2017
21 Sep 2017