New Zealand's sailors will look to continue to make their mark when the Hempel World Cup Series resumes in Genoa on Monday night (NZ time).
More than 700 sailors from around the world, including 18 from New Zealand, will compete in eight of the 10 Olympic classes in Genoa, which is the first time Italy has hosted a World Cup Series event.
The Kiwis will go there fresh from picking up three medals at the Princess Sofia Regatta, which saw New Zealand finish as the second-equal most successful nation in Palma behind Great Britain.
Finn sailors Andy Maloney and Josh Junior, who collected gold and bronze respectively in Palma, are missing the World Cup Series event as they resume training in New Zealand, but Alex Maloney and Molly Meech will be looking to break a stretch of five regatta victories achieved by Olympic 49erFX champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil.
Maloney and Meech have been in good form themselves in 2019, finishing second in their last two regattas in Miami and Palma.
The main focus for the pair, though, is gearing up for Olympic test event in Japan mid-year as well as December's 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland.
"Although this is part of qualification for the test event, it's all part of a development plan for our sailors," Yachting New Zealand high performance director Ian Stewart said. "Our main focus is on Japan this year.
"We achieved some encouraging results in Palma early in the European season. This is an opportunity to continue learning while racing against the world's best in varied conditions."
Predominantly light winds and cool temperatures are expected in Genoa this week. Racing for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets commence on Monday night (NZ time), with the 470s, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn starting their racing the following day.
The strong New Zealand 49er squad will look for some more success in a fleet of 66 boats in Genoa. Three of the four Kiwi crews finished inside the top 10 in Palma, including Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who were seventh in their first international 49er regatta since winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders will look to build on their fifth in the Nacra 17 in Palma, as will men's 470 combination Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox, who were 11th.
New Zealand sailors racing at the Hempel World Cup Series in Genoa this week:
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn
Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey
Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox
Susannah Pyatt and Brianna Reynolds-Smith
- Pic: Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have made a good start to the year, finishing second in their last two regattas. Photo: Sailing Energy.