Medals hunt at Sail Sydney

Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey are on level points with Australians Joel Turner and David Gilmour in the 49er competition. Photo: Sail World.

Seven New Zealand boats are in contention for medals at Sail Sydney regatta today, after three days of challenging conditions on Sydney harbour.

Alex Maloney and Tauranga sailor Molly Meech have all but wrapped up the 49erFX and added another three bullets to their tally today to hold a commanding 15-point lead over Tess Lloyd and Harry Mighell.

New Zealand's Erica Dawson and Kate Stewart are four points behind in third.

Alex and Molly have won eight of their nine races so far, and their only blemish was a second behind Dawson and Stewart yesterday.

Josh Porebski and Tauranga sailor Trent Rippey are level on points with Joel Turner and David Gilmour at the top of the 49er leaderboard with three races remaining.

The two crews have a handy nine-point gap on the third-paced combination but, with 20 boats in the fleet, can't afford to slip up.

Josh and Trent have been extremely consistent following their eighth placing in the first race of the regatta, and added a second, first and third today.

That was no mean feat in the conditions, which Josh described as "survival" mode by the end of the day as gusts in excess of 25 knots pounded the course.

"It was pretty full-on. It was good to get some really high breezes towards the end of the day,” says Josh.

“The top mark was really close to the cliffs off Sydney Heads so it was really shifty with big holes.

"The last race turned into a survival race as the wind built really fast. We were pretty close to [fellow Kiwis] Logan [Dunning Beck] and Oscar [Gunn] in first and second but on the last downwind we both capsized. We looked around and saw a lot of the fleet upside down so we managed to get going again without too much damage.

"We also had a few incidents with ferries. We gybed really early on one downwind to get out of the way of one and then found ourselves heading towards a huge super yacht. All things considered, we got away with some good scoring."

Tauranga sailor Tom Saunders has been banking good scores all week in the Laser fleet and goes into tomorrow's racing in third.

The top four, which also includes fellow Tauranga sailor Sam Meech, are all within three points of each other and have a comfortable gap over the rest of the fleet.

Tom goes into the final day with the comfort of knowing his worst race to date, and his discard, is a fifth so might be able to take some risks tomorrow.

"I will treat the first race tomorrow like any other race and if I have another good one I might be able to start targeting people in the final race and take someone out," says Tom. "It's a good position to be in."

Sam doesn't quite have that luxury, having been disqualified from a race yesterday, but has otherwise finished inside the top three in every race.

"Hopefully we can get a New Zealand one-two," says Tom. "It's been good, fun racing and we've managed to have some banter out on the water with the Aussies.

"I'm pretty happy with how it's been going this week. I have been really consistent so it's all to play for tomorrow."

Results and standings after the third day of Sail Sydney today:

49erFX (6 boats)

1st Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 1 1 1 1 (2) 1 1 1 1 - 8 points 

2nd: Tess Lloyd / Harry Mighell (AUS) 2 2 (5) 5 4 2 3 2 3 - 23 pts 

3rd: Erica Dawson / Kate Stewart (NZL) 4 5 3 4 1 4 4 (6) 2 - 27 pts

49er (19 boats)

1st: Joel Turner / David Gilmour (AUS) (6) 3 4 1 3 1 1 2 4 - 19 pts  

2nd: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) (8) 4 2 3 2 2 2 1 3 - 19 pts 

3rd: Will Phillips / Sam Phillips (AUS) 2 1 5 (7) 5 3 5 6 1 - 28 pts 

4th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 3 2 1 (9) 7 5 4 (20 DNF) 2 - 33 pts 

5th Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 1 8 (20 DSQ) 2 6 4 7 3 6 - 37 pts

Laser (24 boats)

1st: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 1 (6) 3 1 2 4 - 11 pts

2nd: Sam Meech (NZL) 2 2 (25 BFD) 2 3 3 - 12 pts

3rd: Tom Saunders (NZL) 4 4 1 4 1 (5) - 14 pts

5th: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 10 5 (25 BFD) 3 6 7 - 31 pts

12th: George Gautrey (NZL) 11 10 (25 BFD) 14 10 6 - 51 pts

15th: Matthew Kempkers (NZL) (19) 13 10 18 12 12 - 65 pts



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