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Andy Maloney

Kiwi pair out to continue success at Finn Gold Cup

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Andy Maloney and Josh Junior were glued to their laptop last weekend, caught up in the drama of the final day of the Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships.

The pair got quite a kick out of seeing their great friends and Emirates Team New Zealand teammates Peter Burling and Blair Tuke claim their fifth world title.

They have ambitions of their own this week when the Finn Gold Cup (world championships) gets under way at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne on Monday, and hope one of them can become the first Kiwi to get their name on the prestigious trophy first contested in 1956.

It's been a long time between regattas for the pair, particularly Junior, but they're not alone in this and can draw on plenty of experience racing on the international circuit. 

"I haven't raced since the World Cup Series Final in Marseille, which is probably over six months ago, and Andy hasn't raced since the Olympic test event [in August]. Neither of us have done a lot of racing lately but we have a lot of notes and have been doing some practice racing. 

"Andy and I have done a lot of regattas over the years now. We have a good plan and we're spending as much time on the water as we can to get as sharp as we can. Hopefully we are there come the first day of the regatta."

As many as 60 boats will line up in the six-day regatta, including defending champion Zsombor Berecz of Hungary, Olympic champion and four-time Finn Gold Cup winner Giles Scott of Great Britain and Dutchman Nicholas Heiner who won the last major Finn regatta, the World Cup Series event in Enoshima.

Maloney and Junior will be among the contenders this week and have enjoyed considerable success in 2019.

Maloney won both the World Cup Series Final in Marseille and Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, was second at the Finn European championships in Athens and fourth at the Olympic test event. Junior was second at the World Cup Series Final and third at the Princess Sofia Regatta.

They know only one of them will get the nod to compete at the Tokyo Olympics but their approach of racing and training together and sharing all information is clearly working well.

"Josh and I draw a lot of confidence from the performances we have put down this year," Maloney said. "We have both been sailing pretty well and consistently and we're confident that we can perform like we have in the past. 

"We are both feeling pretty good over here [in Melbourne]. We have done a little bit of finetuning on the boats, they're feeling pretty quick and we're both sailing them really well."

Melbourne is likely to throw up plenty of wind over the coming week, with a fresh sea breeze and big waves a feature of summer conditions, even in Port Phillip Bay. 

Only three countries have selected their sailors in the Finn class for the Tokyo Olympics - Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden - meaning there will be added spice to events this week.

It's also the start of a busy period of Olympic classes world championships in Melbourne, with the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, Laser and Laser Radial all holding their world championships in the Victorian capital in February.

  • Pic: Andy Maloney has won two regattas this year. Photo: Sailing Energy.