NZ sailors in good shape at Olympic test event

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech climbed up to fourth in the 49erFX at the Olympic test event. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing.

Sunday highlighted just how treacherous the conditions can be in Enoshima but a handful of New Zealand boats are still in good shape after the second day of the Olympic test event.

Bay of Plenty's Sam Meech retained first in the Laser, despite finishing 13th in today's only race, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are second in the 49er and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech climbed into fourth in the 49erFX.

The day certainly didn't pass without drama, which seems par for the course in Enoshima.

The 49erFX fleet finished their second race going upwind on what was supposed to be a downwind and Meech had to watch a number of boats slip past him when he was forced to execute a 720-degree penalty turn right on the finish line.

Maloney and Meech enjoyed the best results of the Kiwi contingent, finishing third and sixth in their two races today, and they are now within striking distance of the three leading boats.

"We had a good day today," says Meech. "We were pretty consistent and went out there focusing on our routines and good starts and, while they weren’t amazing, they were pretty good and gave us opportunities afterwards, so that was nice."

Meech had to spring into action and drop their kite about 100m short of the finish line in the second race after the wind turned more than 90 degrees.

"It was trying to shift right [into a sea breeze] in the last race and then it finally made quite a big jump right and the last section of the downwind turned into an upwind, so that’s always interesting when that happens," Maloney says with a smile.

The pair escaped largely unscathed but Sam Meech wasn't so lucky in the only Laser race of the day.

"I was going really well in the race but just had a nightmare on the outer loop," he explains. "I was about fifth and lost a few boats on the run and then the wind died out.

"On the last reach I was just about to cross the finish but the boat in front of me stopped and I clipped their stern so I had to do a 720 on the finish line. It went from being a really, really good race to not such a good race."

That race, though, is now Meech's discard for his worst result so it means he's still leading after the second day but there is a bit of a logjam at the top with nine boats all within nine points of each other.

Burling and Tuke are also in good shape in the 49er on the back of a blindingly good start to the regatta yesterday, despite carding a 13th (their discard) and ninth in today's two races.

"It was a tough one for us today," says Tuke. "We made a few too many mistakes. We had two good starts but just made some unforced errors and couldn’t quite piece it together. It’s a bit disappointing but we will bounce back and have a good debrief and be ready for today."

"I think everyone has been battling away for these first couple of days. You make one mistake out there and you get put a long way back. It’s just going to be who sails the best over the next two days," says Burling.

"You can get a bit of anything [in Enoshima]. It’s a venue that's shown you can get beautiful sailing, like at the 470 worlds last week or the first day of the event here, or you can get offshore or light sea breezes like this, or even pre-typhoon [winds]. There’s a lot of different categories and you just have to be ready for anything."

Andy Maloney is the next best of the Kiwis in ninth in the Finn, Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson are 16th in the Nacra 17 and Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox 19th in the men's 470.

New Zealand results and standings after day two of the Olympic test event in Enoshima today:

49er (21 boats)

1st: Pawel Kolodzinski / Lukasz / Przybytek (POL) 2 4 (7) 2 3 - 11 points
2nd: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 3 1 1 (13) 9 - 14 pts
3rd: Benjamin Bildstein / David Hussl (AUT) 4 (19) 6 3 5 - 18 pts

49erFX (23 boats)

1st: Saskia Tidey / Charlotte Dobson (GBR) 1 (4) 1 2 2 - 6 pts
2nd: Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) (5) 2 4 5 1 - 12 pts
3rd: Helen Naess / Marie Ronningen (NOR) 3 8 (9) 1 5 - 17 pts

4th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) (15) 7 2 3 6 - 18 pts

Laser (35 boats)

1st: Sam Meech (NZL) 1 2 (13) - 3 pts
2nd: Herman Tomasgaard (NOR) (9) 1 3 - 4 pts
3rd: Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) 2 3 (25) - 5 pts

Finn (22 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) 1 (6) 2 - 3 pts
2nd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) (3) 1 3 - 4 pts
2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 2 2 (7) - 4 pts

9th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 7 8 (9) - 15 pts

Nacra 17 (21 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 (3) 1 3 2 - 7 pts
2nd: Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR) 3 2 4 4 (10)- 13 pts
3rd: Santiago Lange / Cecilia Saroli (ARG) 5 6 2 (11) 1 - 14 pts

16th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 20 15 14 8 (22 UFD) - 57 pts

Men's 470 (22 boats)

1st: Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) 1 1 (4) - 2 pts
2nd: Mathew Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) 2 (3) 3 - 5 pts
3rd: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergsrom (SWE) (5) 2 5 - 7 pts

19th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) (20) 14 17 - 31 pts

Full results here

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