New Zealand sailors will leave the World Cup Series regatta in Miami with two silver medals but for one crew they were left feeling things could have been even better.
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were second in the women's 49erFX and Sam Meech is virtually assured of collecting silver in the men's Laser ahead of tomorrow's top-10 medal race.
But Maloney and Meech felt they "gave it away" in their medal race after being overtaken on the final day by Olympic champions Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze from Brazil.
The New Zealanders went into the medal race with a handy 12-point lead only to get caught out on the wrong side of a big wind shift in the light conditions and finished ninth today. The Brazilians profited from being in clear air and their second in the medal race was enough to lift them into the gold medal position.
"We went in with a pretty big buffer and we gave it away out there," Maloney reflected. "Overall we are happy with our time in Miami because we sailed pretty well but we are pretty disappointed with the final race."
It still represents an impressive start to their year and they won two races and were second in two others. Grael and Kunze pipped them for gold at the Rio Olympics as well and the two boats are likely to be major rivals over the next 18 months ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Sam Meech has also opened 2019 in fine style, confirming his reputation as arguably the world's most consistent Laser sailor. The world No 1 holds a 20-point advantage over Olympic champion Tom Burton (Australia) in third but has no chance of catching runaway leader Hermann Tomasgaard of Norway.
Tomasgaard holds a massive 65-point advantage and has stood out in the light conditions dished out in Miami this week. His consistency has been particularly impressive and he's had only one result outside the top six in the 11 races so far.
Meech was seventh and 23rd in today's two races to firmly establish himself in second.
"I managed to put myself in a position where it should be pretty hard for me to lose silver," he said. "The guy who won the regatta sailed phenomenally all week and I couldn't really touch him but it's nice to come away with second. I will just go out in tomorrow's medal race and try to have a good race and not be over the start line.
"It's been a good week. I found the conditions challenging but I really enjoyed the racing and I'm looking forward to heading home and having a bit of a break now."
George Gautrey was the next best of the Kiwis in the Laser fleet, finishing in 17th after flirting with the top 10 all week. Tom Saunders was 27th and Josh Armit 42nd in his first World Cup regatta since graduating from the youth classes.
Results after day 5 of the World Cup regatta in Miami today:
Laser (101 boats)
1st: Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) 3 1 1 4 5 2 6 3 2 (31) 3 - 30 points
2nd: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 2 8 5 (26) 7 14 10 18 7 23 - 95 pts
3rd: Tom Burton (AUS) 2 12 4 15 (43) 23 3 17 7 3 29 - 115 pts
17th: George Gautrey (NZL) 2 12 9 7 11 22 19 9 49 (52 BFD) 41 - 181 pts
27th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 (52 BFD) 16 10 24 13 26 2 17 52 BFD 39 - 202 pts
42nd: Josh Armit (NZL) 16 3 40 2 49 11 45 16 (51) 29 49 - 260 pts
49erFX (35 boats)
1st: Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 9 16 (18) 9 9 2 7 1 1 4 - 58 pts
2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 2 1 1 10 5 (18) 14 7 2 18 - 60 pts
3rd: Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) (36 BFD) 9 6 3 1 5 2 19 10 8 - 63 pts