McKenzie in the hunt at Laser European champs


Andrew McKenzie jumped into second at the Laser European championships in Barcelona and will go into gold fleet racing in an excellent position to push for a podium finish.

Andrew McKenzie is second heading into gold fleet racing. Photo: Thom Touw Photography | EurILCA.

The Aon Fast Track sailor was 11th, first and second in his three races overnight sailed in perfect conditions of 15 knots. He got caught out by a big right-hand shift in the first race but was able to discard his 11th as his worst result in qualifying, leaving him only two points behind leader Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia.

Tom Saunders was disqualified from the final race following an incident with Italian sailor Francesco Marrai at the bottom mark, leaving him in 19th overall heading into gold fleet.

"The regatta has been going really well for me so far," McKenzie said. "I've been able to execute some good starts which is making that first part of the race a lot easier.

"From here I'll be taking it race by race trying get more keepers. It's gold fleet tomorrow so the regatta really starts all over."

McKenzie knows all too well how things can change quickly.

He was well placed at the recent Laser world championships only to miss out on gold fleet due to a disqualification in the final race of qualifying (he had crossed the line third). He finished 51st overall.

Saunders was eighth at the world championships, which was good reward for a consistently good season, but he's been left frustrated so far in Barcelona.

"I've had a pretty average start to the regatta with not much going my way so far," Saunders said. "I'm making it hard work for myself.

"I'll need to be pretty aggressive from here because I've got plenty of points to make up."

A quality fleet of 125 boats has lined up in Barcelona, including newly-crowned world champion Pavlos Kontides (4th) and two-time world champion Nick Thompson from Great Britain (10th).

Results and standings after five races of the Laser European championships in Barcelona overnight (NZT):

1st: Tonči Stipanovic (CRO) 1 1 1 (4) 2 - 5 points
2nd:  Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 2 2 (11) 1 2 - 7 pts
3rd: Giovanni Coccoutlo (ITA) 2 1 7 (37) 5 - 15 pts

19th  Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 13 14 9 (DSQ) - 39 pts

See here for full results

06 Oct 2017
09 Oct 2017