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Josh Junior

Kiwis on the medal hunt at Finn Gold Cup

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Melbourne has thrown up something different every day this week but it hasn't phased Josh Junior and he's produced consistently good results to establish a handy lead after four days of the Finn Gold Cup (world championships).

Junior banked two seconds and a fifth today to sit 13 points ahead of Olympic champion Giles Scott of Great Britain. Crucially, the New Zealander's discard for his worst race is so far a fifth, which gives him a little wriggle room heading into the final two days.

Fellow Kiwi Andy Maloney is in fifth, only one point behind defending world champion Zsombor Berecz of Hungary in third. Maloney was eighth, 17th and second in today's three races to remain well in the hunt.

The sailors enjoyed 15-17 knot seabreezes today, which was a welcome change from yesterday when no racing was possible because of light winds.

Another change is expected tomorrow, when dry, hot offshore winds are expected to hit Port Phillip Bay.

"We went out there and ended up with some glamour conditions, and some pretty cool waves and just got into it," Junior said. "It was shifting around a little bit and I found myself on the right side and managed a couple of good races, so I was pretty happy with the day.

"Andy and I have been working hard over the last year or two in the Finn and have definitely made a step up and have been going really quick. It's just about trying to get good starts and trying to put the boat in the right place and I think a couple of times I have been a bit lucky and managed to come back, but it goes in roundabouts and maybe tomorrow will be different."

All of the favourites are among the top five and some mini-battles have played out on the water, including one involving Junior and fourth-placed Nicholas Heiner in the final race. Junior managed to make up considerable ground on the Dutchman on the final downwind and just pipped him on over the line courtesy of a well-time wave.

"It was good to watch," said Maloney, who will be looking for a series of low scores tomorrow to keep himself firmly in the hunt. 

"I had a pretty up-and-down day. In the first couple of races I had to battle back from pretty deep and didn't manage to do that as well in the second race as I did in the first.

"In the third race I was around the top mark [for the first time] in the top five and finished second so I was happy with that one, but looking forward to tomorrow for sure."

Three more races are scheduled tomorrow as race management look to make up for yesterday's lost day. The final day will then feature one more fleet race before the top 10 face off in a medal race.

Results and standings after day 4 of the Finn Gold Cup at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne today:

Finn (60 boats)

1st: Josh Junior (NZL) 1 (5) 5 1 2 2 5 - 16 points
2nd: Giles Scott (GBR) (16) 6 4 4 10 4 1 - 29 pts
3rd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 14 (23) 8 1 16 5 1 3 - 34 pts

5th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 5 1 (19) 2 8 17 2 - 35 pts

Full results

Pic: Josh Junior posted another series of low scores today and still leads at the Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne. Photo: Robert Deaves.