Kiwi girls eye top finish at 470 European sailing champs

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie ahead of the pack at the Delta Lloyd Regatta

New Zealand sailors Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie are sitting in third position after five races in the European 470 Sailing Championships underway on Lake Traunsee in Austria.

The event is an important precursor to the World Championships and is one of the most important on the year’s high performance sailing circuit for two-handed Olympic class dinghy sailors.

Light winds have dominated the event, but have been favourable for the New Zealand girls, who have secured four top ten finishes in the fleet of 39. It is their first season racing the boat internationally, and they finished fourth at last month’s Delta Lloyd Regatta. Jo Aleh finished seventh in the Laser Radial class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Italian crew of Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol are clear ahead at 13 points in first place, and Ali Kondo and Wakako Tabata are on 20 points, just one point ahead of the New Zealanders.

There are two more days of racing, plus a double points medal race on 14 June (European time). New Zealand’s representatives in the men’s class, Geoffrey Wooley and Mark Overington, sit in 32nd, after two fourth places, and have qualified for the Gold fleet.