1 Sep 2017

Maloney and Meech extend lead

8:54 am on 1 September 2017

The New Zealand sailors Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have extended their lead after two days of racing at the World 49er FX Champs in Portugal.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are leading the world champs in Portugal.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are leading the world champs in Portugal. Photo: Supplied

The Olympic silver medalists enjoyed a near-flawless day, winning three of their four races and finishing second in the other to hold a four-point lead over the Danish combination of Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen.

They have now won four of their six races and, crucially, their worst result, and discard so far, is a third.

Erica Dawson and Kate Stewart also had a good day, jumping from 33rd overall to eighth on the back of a seventh and three fifth-placed finishes.

They are a new combination and Stewart won a bronze with her sister Greta in the smaller 29er at the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland.

The fog and light winds that plagued the first two-and-a-half days of the regatta in Porto were absent and replaced by large swells and a good breeze of 15-20 knots. it made boat handling challenging, particularly as the wind increased later in the day.

Maloney and Meech excelled, posting four excellent scores.

"We had beautiful conditions, an increasing breeze and a nice swell to play with," Maloney said. "The waves made the sailing a good challenge, particularly downwind, but it can also give you a nice ride so it was a lot of fun out there.

"We were aiming for a consistent day on the water and we managed four good races. Our goal was to keep things pretty simple. We felt fast and we were putting the boat in good positions around the race course."

The top 20 now race in gold fleet with the top 10 then qualifying for Saturday night's (NZ time) double-points medal race.

"The top boats get to race each other finally," Maloney said. "After a slow start to the championship it feels like we are well under way now and we're looking forward to the next two days of racing."

Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey also qualified for gold fleet in the men's 49er but slipped down the leaderboard. The pair started the day in seventh but dropped to 14th, with a capsize on the final beat of the first race hurting their position, but they otherwise had a solid day with two top-10 results.

"It was a really challenging day out there," Porebski said. "We had a regatta of no wind and now it's really windy and looking like it will stay like that for the rest of the regatta. We had huge waves and a strong wind and lots of people were capsizing.

"We're really happy to get into the top 20 so that's a positive and we'll take it race by race tomorrow."

Fellow Kiwis Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie just missed out on the top 20, ending the day in 24th on the back of an eighth, 14th and 10th.