Sam in medal contention at Palma

Sam Meech is second in the Laser fleet. Photo: Sailing Energy.

Tauranga sailor Sam Meech had his worst day at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma overnight, but he's still in gold-medal contention heading into the business end of the event.

Sam is the best placed of the 26-strong New Zealand contingent in Palma, sitting in second in the Laser fleet. Andy Maloney is fifth in the Finn, Alex Maloney and Tauranga sailor Molly Meech are sixth in the 49erFX, Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey ninth in the 49er and Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson ninth and Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders 10th in the Nacra 17.

The strong winds of day three made way for a light sea breeze which proved frustrating for many of the Kiwi sailors.

Sam was 22nd and 31st in today's two races, easily his worst of the regatta, which saw him drop from the top of the leaderboard to 18 points behind Australia's Matthew Wearn with one more day of gold fleet racing before the top 10 medal race.

"It was a bit of a tough day out there for me," says Sam. "I started pretty well in both races but just made some bad decisions up the first beats and in the second race I had to do a 720 [penalty turn] on the starboard layline which is never good.

"I feel like I'm still going fast and starting pretty well so I give myself a good chance for the rest of the regatta. I still have two more races to go tomorrow [before the medal race] and luckily I had a pretty good start to the regatta. I made it hard for myself but there's still more racing to come."

Fellow NZL Sailing Team member Tauranga sailor Tom Saunders won the second race of the day in the Laser fleet to move into 11th and he's aiming to qualify for the medal race and finish on a high.

Andy Maloney is in medal contention in the Finn, which represents a strong start to his career in the heavyweight dinghy. Andy campaigned in the last Olympic cycle in the Laser before bulking up for last year's America's Cup with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Olympic champion Giles Scott of Great Britain has all but wrapped up the Finn title, and holds a commanding 27-point lead over Holland's Nick Heiner, with Andy only six points further behind in fifth after posting a 13th and 14th overnight.

"It was a tricky day out there with a building sea breeze," says Andy. "I had to fight pretty hard today to get a couple of average scores but it could have been a lot worse.

"I'm looking forward to getting another crack at it tomorrow in hopefully a bit more breeze. There's still plenty to play for so I'm excited for another day."

Frustration has been the overwhelming theme for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in the 49erFX. They still have a chance of finishing on the podium, considering they are only 16 points off third, but the Olympic silver medallists have struggled to put a series of good scores together.

"We have mixed feelings about our progress," says Alex. "Besides the first day, we haven't got off the start line well enough so it has left us playing catch-up.

"Overall, we feel really excited to be here getting back into race mode but each day we come off the water with a feeling of frustration knowing we can do better."

It's what Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders felt about yesterday, given they normally go well in strong winds, but they recovered some ground today with two good results including a win in the final race of the day.

The top two teams have established a handy gap on the rest of the fleet but only 20 points separate the next nine combinations with three more races tonight (NZ time) before the top 10 medal race.

"We sailed pretty well today," says Jason. "We had two nice races and one when we had a bad start and couldn't get back from there. It was very much a day if you started well and sent it to the left you were going to be in the top five. Days like that are sometimes harder because everyone is trying to do the same thing so it was about executing. We got two out of three right.

"Hopefully we will have more breeze tomorrow and put three nice races together to get into the medal race. That would probably be a good result for us in our first [major] regatta back since last year's world championships. We definitely feel like we are blowing the rust off pretty quickly now and hopefully by the end of the regatta we will have some good experience and can look forward to the rest of the season."

The Princess Sofia regatta represents the first major European event for the majority of the 26 New Zealand sailors competing in Palma and has attracted nearly 1200 sailors and 840 boats from more than 60 nations across 13 classes.

Results and standings after the fourth day of the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma overnight (NZ time):

Men's 470 (79 boats)

1st: Mathew Belcher / William Ryan (AUS) 2 (13) 3 1 1 1 9 1 - 18 points

2nd: Deniz Cinar / Ates Cinar (TUR) 4 10 (UFD) 16 5 6 5 3 - 48 pts

3rd: Simon Diesch / Philipp Autenrieth (GER) 1 14 4 5 7 10 (32) 9 - 50 pts

18th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 9 12 14 2 (21) 17 20 12 - 86 pts

Women's 470 (48 boats)

1st: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 2 (22) 2 10 1 1 1 4 - 21 pts

2nd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) (19) 9 2 2 2 3 4 2 - 24 pts

3rd: Ai Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka (JPN) 2 4 7 (12) 4 5 8 1 - 31 pts

Silver Fleet

30th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) 15 13 9 12 8 8 5 (DNC) - 69 pts

49er (91 boats)

1st: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 12 1 5 1 1 2 (19) 4 1 6 9 1 - 43 pts

2nd: Lukasz Przybytek / Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) 8 5 2 (UFD) 1 2 8 1 5 - 54 pts

3rd: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG) 7 7 10 4 2 3 1 2 13 3 3 (15) - 55 pts

9th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 10 8 13 4 3 12 6 5 3 10 7 (17) - 81 pts

Silver fleet

26th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) (15) 13 15 3 12 1 2 4 6 8 1 2 - 67 pts

49erFX (54 boats)

1st: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 1 1 (8) 1 3 1 4 1 1 8 8 1 - 30 pts

2nd: Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) 1 2 8 2 5 6 2 1) 5 10 (18) 2 - 53 pts

3rd: Odile Van Aanholt / Marieke Jongens (NED) 3 5 5 9 2 12 (16) 7 7 2 5 5 - 62 pts

6th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 2 13 1 3 12 7 12 6 4 9 (19) 9 - 78 pts

Finn (73 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) 6 3 8 (11) 3 6 2 5 - 33 pts

2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 18 (21) 13 16 2 12 6 3 - 70 pts

3rd: Nils Theuninck (SUI) 1 12 9 4 (43) 27 12 7 - 72 pts

5th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 16 (48) 19 6 7 1 13 14 - 76 pts

27th: Josh Junior (54) 38 37 24 4 9 29 17 - 158 pts

58th: Brendan McCarty (NZL) 63 50 (BFD) 55 42 46 39 57 - 352 pts

60th: Raymond Hall (NZL) (60) 17 54 57 48 60 39 57 (66) 64 - 360 pts

Laser (183 boats)

1st: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 5 2 6 (24) 2 1 5 4 - 25 pts

2nd: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 2 5 8 4 1 22 (31) - 43 pts

3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 6 12 2 (20) 3 5 15 8 - 51 pts

11th: Tom Saunders (NZL) (30) 6 1 9 25 14 19 1 - 75 pts

24th: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 5 7 (43) 1 17 26 39 27 - 122 pts

30th: George Gautrey (NZL) 27 8 19 7 36 6 35 (44) - 138 pts

Silver fleet

164th: Matthew Kempkers (NZL) 43 27 46 47 (DNC) DNC 43 18 - 286 pts

Laser Radial (113 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 9 8 3 2 3 2 2 (22) - 29 pts

2nd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 16 1 3 6 1 4 6 (BFD) - 37 pts

3rd: Alison Young (GBR) 6 7 9 4 7 1 23 (27) - 57 pts

26th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) (40) 4 36 7 29 26 38 15 - 146 pts

38th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 12 40 14 28 8 (45) 33 35 - 170 pts

Nacra 17 (47 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 1 3 6 1 3 2 2 1 (12) 5 2 - 27 pts

2nd: Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR) 2 1 3 1 1 2 10 8 (15) 1 1 4 - 34 pts

3rd: Iker Martinez / Olga Maslivets (ESP) 5 4 6 7 3 4 (DNC) 20 10 2 2 3 - 66 pts

9th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 17 3 9 4 4 18 1 1 2 (20) 12 11 - 82 pts

10th: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 5 14 4 10 3 8 6 13 (16) 5 16 1 - 85 pts

Men's RS:X (118 boards)

1st: Louis Giard (FRA) 3 3 3 3 3 1 4 (7) - 20 pts

2nd: Sebastian Fleischer (DEN) 3 4 3 6 4 4 3 (14) - 27 pts

3rd: Pawel Tarnowski (POL) 2 3 4 7 2 2 8 (18) - 28 pts

Silver fleet

85th: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) 27 21 33 23 9 12 (UFD) 1 - 126 pts



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