Tauranga sailing siblings take silver

Sam Meech won the medal race to finish second overall in the Laser. Photo: Sailing Energy.

Tauranga siblings Sam and Molly Meech have each won silver medals at the first regatta of the European season - the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma.

Sam collected silver in the Laser, while Molly and Alex Maloney were second in the 49erFX.

The third New Zealander to medal at Palm is Andy Maloney, who won bronze in the Finn. Josh Porebski and Tauranga sailor Trent Rippey finished just outside the medals, finishing fourth in the 49er.

Sam and Andy were virtually assured medals going into the double points top 10 medal race and Sam capped off his week by winning the final race.

But Alex and Molly were in a dogfight with a handful of other crews for the minor medals in the 49erFX and handled the pressure well to claim silver - the same colour they won at the Rio Olympics.

The pair started the day in third but moved up a position on the back of a fourth to finish two points ahead of Odile Van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens of the Netherlands. Another Dutch combination, Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz, dominated the week, finishing 48 points ahead of Alex and Molly to win gold.

"Today was pretty good," says Alex.

"We sailed pretty well upwind but went from third to 10th on the first downwind. It was quite shifty out there and difficult to get into pressure but we’ve done really well backing ourselves and trusting our instincts and managed to move up to second overall. There’s an element of luck in sailing and we felt a bit lucky to finish where we did.

"We were a bit frustrated during the week because we know what we are capable of but to have these feelings and come away with second is a good start to the season. We know we can do even better."

It was an encouraging week for Andy Maloney, especially as it was just his second major regatta since switching from the Laser to the Finn. He won two races during the week and banked six top-10 results which wasn’t easy in a fleet of 73 boats.

Olympic champion Giles Scott of Great Britain was a model of consistency to win gold, finishing ahead of former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner of the Netherlands who also recently switched to the heavyweight dinghy.

Andy Maloney tried to mix things up with Heiner today, given he still had an outside chance of winning silver, and started well but made one mistake near the top mark to allow Heiner to sneak ahead of him.

"I was stoked to come away with a bronze, my first medal at a big event since making the switch," says Andy.

"I definitely made some mistakes, especially early in the regatta when I wasn’t sailing that well. I learned a lot from those couple of days and managed to get off to good starts, which I wasn’t doing [at the European championships] in Cadiz, and had good boat speed and sailed smartly.

"It’s definitely shown me that I can mix it up with the top guys in the Finn fleet. It’s proved that, sailing at my best, I can win races and that’s cool to know."

Sam continued to prove he’s one of the world’s top Laser sailors and highlighted that with a win in the medal race.

It was his third race win of the regatta and he backed that up with nine top-10 finishes in 11 races but it still wasn’t enough to topple Australia’s Matthew Wearn.

The pair were standouts this week in the large (183 boats) and competitive Laser fleet and handled the difficult and shifty conditions the best.

Fellow Tauranga sailor Tom Saunders was seventh in the medal race and eighth overall.

The 49er class came to a dramatic conclusion with the top three teams all within four points of each other. Josh and Trent didn’t quite get themselves into that equation and were fifth in the medal race and a very encouraging fourth overall.

Liv Mackay and Micah Wilkinson were the only other New Zealand crew in action overnight, finishing 10th in the Nacra 17 medal race and 10th overall.

Most of the 26-strong New Zealand contingent who sailed in Palma will also compete at the World Cup regatta in Hyeres in a fortnight and most will go encouraged by what they produced at the first multi-class European regatta of the season.

Great Britain’s sailing team collected the biggest haul of medals with five (one gold, four silver), followed by the Netherlands (two gold, one silver) and New Zealand (two silver, one bronze). The Princess Sofia regatta is usually the biggest of the European season in terms of numbers and attracted 870 boats from 62 different and more than 1200 sailors.

Results and standings after the sixth and final 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 3 2 - 23 points

2nd: Deniz Cinar / Ates Cinar (TUR) 4 10 (UFD) 16 5 6 5 3 7 6 - 62 pts

3rd: Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi (JPN) 4 (18) 2 1 18 11 12 4 10 4 - 66 pts

13th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 9 12 14 2 (21) 17 20 12 1 - 87 pts

Wome’s 470 (48 boats)

1st: Ai Kondo Yoshida / Miho Yoshioka (JPN) 2 4 7 (12) 4 5 8 1 2 7 16 - 56 pts

2nd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) (19) 9 2 2 2 3 4 2 4 16 14 - 58 pts

3rd: Linda Fahrni / Maja Siegentahler (SUI) 3 2 4 8 (16) 8 15 6 6 3 4 - 59

Silver Fleet

29th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) 15 13 9 12 8 8 5 (DNC) 1 12 - 82 pts

49er (91 boats)

1st: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG) 7 7 10 4 2 3 1 2 13 3 3 (15) 14 10 8 6 - 93 pts

2nd: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 12 1 5 1 1 2 19 4 1 6 9 1 (25) 17 3 14 - 96 pts

3rd: Mathieu Frei / Noé Delpech (FRA) 95 4 1 8 18 3 8 2 3 12 1 2 10 11 (UFD) 12 2 - 97 pts

4th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 10 8 13 4 3 12 6 5 3 10 7 17 1 1 (20) 10 - 110 pts

Silver fleet

27th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) (15) 13 15 3 12 1 2 4 6 8 1 2 10 7 3 - 87 pts

49erFX (54 boats)

1st: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 1 1 8 1 3 1 4 1 1 8 8 1 (15) 1 6 2 - 47 pts

2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 2 13 1 3 12 7 12 6 4 9 (19) 9 2 4 3 8 - 95 pts

3rd: Odile Van Aanholt / Marieke Jongens (NED) 3 5 5 9 2 12 16 7 7 2 5 5 1 (20) 4 14- 97 pts

Finn (73 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) 6 3 8 11 3 6 2 5 (17) 3 10 - 57 pts

2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 18 (21) 13 16 2 12 6 3 2 4 8 - 84 pts

3rd: Andy Maloney (NZL) 16 (48) 19 6 7 1 13 14 1 6 12 - 95 pts

29th: Josh Junior (54) 38 37 24 4 9 29 17 43 31 - 232 pts

51st: Brendan McCarty (NZL) 63 50 (BFD) 55 42 46 39 57 18 64 - 414 pts

63rd: Raymond Hall (NZL) (60) 17 54 57 48 60 39 57 (66) 64 STP STP - 481 pts

Laser (183 boats)

1st: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 5 2 6 (24) 2 1 5 4 4 14 12 - 55 pts

2nd: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 2 5 8 4 1 22 (31) 9 10 2 - 64 pts

3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 6 12 2 (20) 3 5 15 8 16 13 18 - 98 pts

8th: Tom Saunders (NZL) (30) 6 1 9 25 14 19 1 24 1 14 - 114 pts

20th: George Gautrey (NZL) 27 8 19 7 36 6 35 (44) 20 5 - 163 pts

24th: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 5 7 (43) 1 17 26 39 27 19 27 - 168 pts

Silver fleet

165th: Matthew Kempkers (NZL) 43 27 46 47 (DNC) DNC 43 18 18 41 - 327 pts

Laser Radial (113 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 9 8 3 2 3 2 2 (22) 10 8 12 - 59 pts

2nd: Alison Young (GBR) 6 7 9 4 7 1 23 (27) 11 2 4 - 74 pts

3rd: Maria Erdi (HUN) 1 11 14 13 12 6 5 10 (DNC) 11 8 - 91 pts

20th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) (40) 4 36 7 29 26 38 15 7 19 - 172 pts

44th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 12 40 14 28 8 45 33 35 42 (53) - 257 pts

Nacra 17 (47 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 1 3 6 1 3 2 2 1 (12) 5 2 1 4 3 16 - 51 pts

2nd: Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR) 2 1 3 1 1 2 10 8 15 1 1 4 (18) 5 15 8 - 77 pts

3rd: Fernando Echavarri / Tara Pacheco (ESP) 10 13 2 1 2 1 8 23 4 23 10 6 3 1 2 4 - 90 pts

10th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 17 3 9 4 4 18 1 1 2 (20) 12 11 13 2 16 20 - 133 pts

13th: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 5 14 4 10 3 8 6 13 16 5 16 1 20 11 (22) - 132 pts

Men’s RS:X (118 boards)

1st: Pawel Tarnowski (POL) 2 3 4 7 2 2 8 (18) 2 2 2 - 34 pts

2nd: Louis Giard (FRA) 3 3 3 3 3 1 4 (7) 3 1 12 - 36 pts

3rd: Sebastian Fleischer (DEN) 3 4 3 6 4 4 3 14 1 (21) 6 - 48 pts

Silver fleet

83rd: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) 27 21 33 23 9 12 (UFD) 1 10 3 - 139 pts

                                 


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