The first day of the Enoshima Olympic Week regatta was about backing yourself and hoping it came off and it did for a couple of New Zealand boats.
Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn were second in the 49er fleet and Erica Dawson and Kate Stewart second in the 49erFX as they prospered in the shifty 8-10 knot conditions off Enoshima, the venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Tom Saunders won the third race in the Laser fleet and is fourth overall after three races and Susannah Pyatt won the second race in the Laser Radial and is 17th overall.
Dunning Beck admitted they took a few risks in their races and they paid off.
"It was pretty tough to get off the start line but we managed to get two decent starts we could work with," he said. "It was a big-risk, but big-reward kind of day so it was about digging deep into the corners now and then and having the confidence to come back. We were looking over our shoulders feeling pretty nervous but you had to keep going.
"We have done only two races today so it’s not that far into the regatta but it gives us the confidence going into tomorrow and hopefully we can get a couple more results like we did today."
They were fifth in the first race and second in the other and sit three points behind leaders Yannick Lefebvre and Tom Pelsmaekers of Belgium.
Dawson and Stewart banked a second and fifth as well and are second in the 12-strong 49erFX fleet. The young combination, who finished 13th at this year's world championships, are in their first year together and are looking to make an impression in the women's skiff.
"It was a good start to the regatta and we felt good out there," Stewart said. "We had really nice boat speed upwind. The boat just felt really good.
"We had only two races today out of eight but, with two solid ones on the board, we are really happy."
Rio silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech struggled for boat speed, finishing ninth and fourth in their races, but are expected to make their way up the leaderboard as the wind increases ahead of another typhoon approaching Japan. They were seventh after the first day.
Saunders was the best placed of the three Kiwis in the 54-strong Laser fleet, banking three decent scores including a win in the third race of the day. He got off the line well in the final race and overtook two-time world champion Nick Thompson on the final run to claim the win.
"Today was pretty good," Saunders said. " I had a couple of good ones in the top 10 and then I managed to win the last race, so I’m pretty happy.
"The conditions were pretty marginal, with big shifts so a lot of snakes and ladders. You had to go with what you saw and, if it works out, it works out and it did for me in the last race. It sets me up well for the rest of the regatta."
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox had an up-and-down day in the men's 470 and are 16th overall but a lot of teams struggled in the shifty conditions.
Results and standings from the first day of Enoshima Olympic Week regatta in Enoshima, Japan, today:
Laser (54 boats)
1st: Nick Thompson (GBR) 1 (26) 3 - 4 points
2nd: Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini (GBR) 2 2 (8) - 4 pts
3rd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 3 4 (14) - 7 pts
4th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 7 (9) 1 - 8 pts
7th: Sam Meech (NZL) 10 6 (11) - 16 pts
23rd: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 28 7 (DNF) - 35 pts
Laser Radial (51 boats)
1st: Erika Reineke (USA) (3) 3 1 - 4 pts
2nd: Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) 4 (UFD) 2 - 6 pts
3rd: Manami Doi (JPN) (12) 2 8 - 10 pts
17th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 27 1 (32) - 28 pts
49er (19 boats)
1st: Yannick Lefebvre / Tom Pelsmaekers (BEL) 3 1 - 4 pts
2nd: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 5 2 - 7 pts
3rd: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG) 1 8 - 9 pts
7th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 11 5 - 16 pts
12th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 6 16 - 22 pts
49erFX (12 boats)
1st: Tanja Frank / Lorena Abicht (AUT) 1 2 - 3 pts
2nd: Erica Dawson / Kate Stewart (NZL) 2 5 - 7 pts
3rd: Victoria Jurczok / Anika Lorenz (GER) 8 1 - 9 pts
7th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 9 4 - 13 pts
1st: Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi (JPN) 2 (4) 1 - 3 pts
2nd: Simon Diesch / Philipp Autenrieth (GER) (11) 7 2 - 9 pts
3rd: Daichi Takayama / Kimihiko Imamura (JPN) (9) 6 3 - 9 pts
16th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 5 (19) 16 - 21 pts