11 Aug 2012

NZ sailors win gold in 470 class

11:58 am on 11 August 2012

The New Zealand women's 470 sailors won gold on Friday, beating a crew from Great Britain in their final race.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were competing in the medal race at the Weymouth course, finishing first overall and securing New Zealand's first gold in women's sailing.

The British crew of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark had to settle for silver, while Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout of the Netherlands took the bronze.

New Zealand and Great Britain went into the four-leg medal race equal on net points - making it a sudden-death race to decide who would claim gold.

Mills and Clark chose the left side in the first upward beat while the New Zealanders struck out on their own course after a slow start and stayed in front to the end, crossing the line in 32min 34s.

The Italian crew of Giovanna Micol and Giulia Conti came second, while Germans Friederike Belcher and Kathrin Kadelbach were third.

The British crew started the race well, but got into trouble early on in the light conditions and eventually finished ninth.

Afterwards, Powrie said the Weymouth conditions were ideal and the Olympic sailing course felt just like home.

She said their game plan was simple - finish ahead of Britain.

Men's 470

Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders came fifth overall in the men's 470 class.

The New Zealand crew had only a mathematical chance of winning bronze, which went to Argentina's Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente on Friday.

Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page won the gold, while Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell from Great Britain had to settle for silver.

In the final event, Croatia won the medals race, ahead of Australia and Argentina, in 30min 47s.

Britain came fourth after incurring a penalty, while New Zealand came seventh and were 47s behind the winner.

The men's and women's races had to be postponed due to no wind on Thursday.