Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have spent considerable time on their starts lately and today cashed in on a couple of great starts at the second day of the Hempel World Cup Series regatta in Miami.
The pair won the first two races in the 49erFX fleet today and were 10th in the final race (their drop so far) to leave them 11 points clear of Great Britain’s Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth.
They aren’t the only New Zealand sailors doing well in Miami with three Kiwis in the top nine in the Laser fleet - Sam Meech is second, George Gautrey sixth and Josh Armit ninth.
Racing was again cut short because of light and fickle winds, which made life difficult for everyone, so Maloney and Meech were delighted to walk away largely unscathed.
“It was pretty light and shifty and you were always on your toes,” Maloney said. “You could be confident in one side, but it was kind of the day that you wanted to be protecting both sides when you were in the lead because there was a little bit of snakes and ladders out there. Overall it was a fun day and we’re happy to come away with our scoreboard.
“Starts were really important today. In the first two races, we kind of got away, and it made a big difference for the first beat. The rest of the race was a lot easier. For the last race we were kind of back in the pack and decision-making and tight boat-on-boat situations were a lot harder. Just getting a little bit of a clear lane and away from the fleet in the first half of the first beat was pretty beneficial.”
Meech added: “It’s only the first couple of days and we have plenty more racing to come so our aim is to keep fighting and keep things pretty consistent.”
Consistency is something brother Sam Meech is renowned for and he recorded a couple of solid scores on the Laser course today. He was eighth in the first race in his fleet and fifth in the second and is now three points behind Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard.
The 101 Laser sailors will now be split into gold and silver fleets, meaning racing becomes a lot tighter. He will be joined in gold fleet by three other New Zealanders and has been impressed by the performances of youngsters Gautrey and Armit.
Gautrey was ninth and eighth in his two races and Armit 40th and second in the other fleet to sit inside the top 10 in his first World Cup regatta since moving up from the youth classes.
“It was a really tricky day out there with not much wind but we managed to get two races away somehow,” Meech said.
“I struggled a little bit in the start of the first race and had to try to come back through the fleet. I managed to get one little opportunity to come back, which helped. I think I ended up with an OK result in that one.
“In the second one I got a good start but just couldn’t capitalise, but I managed to sneak my way through a couple of boats towards the end. Overall, it was a good day.”
Results after day 2 of the World Cup regatta in Miami today:
Laser (101 boats)
1st: Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) 3 1 1 (4) - 5 pts
2nd: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 2 (8) 5 - 8 points
3rd: William de Smet (BEL) 1 (22) 5 6 - 12 pts
6th: George Gautrey (NZL) 2 (12) 9 8 - 19 pts
9th: Josh Armit (NZL) 16 3 (40) 2 - 21 pts
21st: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 (52 BFD) 16 11 - 30 pts
49erFX (35 boats)
1st: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 2 1 1 (10) - 4 pts
2nd: Sophie Weguelin / Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) 1 6 (24) 8 - 15 pts
3rd: Stephanie Roble / Margaret Shea (USA) 8 4 3 (12) - 15 pts