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49er FX stars go race-for-race on thrilling first day

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New Zealand’s leading 49erFX crews have traded victories on a thrilling first day of the 49er National Championships at Royal Akarana Yacht Club. 

Molly Meech and Jo Aleh went race-for-race with Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs to start proceedings, claiming two victories apiece in the opening four races to sit level on six points going into day two today. 

Both pairings are in just their second year together, with Meech and Maloney having previously been partners in the class for a decade, and Aleh says that means there’s still plenty to work on. 

“It was a great day out there - really tricky conditions and some tight racing at times.  

“We did a few things well and had a few basic stuff-ups like going for a swim as well, so definitely still deep in the learning curve!” 

Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs are in second.

Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs are in second.

Maloney echoed similar thoughts, calling it “glamour sailing off Akarana” in conditions that became more consistent as the day progressed. 

“Racing was close, with some good drag racing and tight mark roundings. We enjoyed the racing and we’re looking to minimise mistakes [today].” 

Rounding out the top three are Courtney and Brianna Reynolds-Smith, who were consistent with two third places and two fourths. 

In the 49er class, Sam Bacon and Cailen Rochford lead on 10 points after taking two wins, but it’s an extremely tight top four. 

Scott McKenzie and Blake McGlashan sit just one point back after winning the fourth and final race of the day while Campbell Stanton and Will Shapland also picked up a win and are alongside Sam and Pat Morgan on 12 points. 

Racing continues this afternoon. 

Results and standings after day 1 of the 49er and 49er FX National Championships at Royal Akarana Yacht Club:

49er FX fleet (7 boats)

1st: Jo Aleh (TBC)/Molly Meech (RAYC) 2 1 2 1 - 6 points

2nd: Alex Maloney (RAYC)/Olivia Hobbs (MBSC) 1 2 1 2 - 6 pts

3rd: Courtney Reynolds-Smith (TBC)/Brianna Reynolds-Smith (MCC) 4 3 4 3 - 14 pts

49er fleet (8 boats)

1st: Sam Bacon (WBBC)/Cailen Rochford (TSC) 3 1 1 5 - 10 pts

2nd: Scott McKenzie (TSC)/Blake McGlashan (MBSC) 4 4 2 1 - 11 pts

3rd: Campbell Stanton (RAYC)/ Will Shapland (TSC) 1 3 5 3 - 12 pts

Full results here.