NZL Sailing Team: Aleh and Powrie lead 470 Worlds with one race to go

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie lead in the 2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are one step closer to claiming their first world title in the Olympic 470 class with just one day and one race remaining at the 2013 470 World Championships now coming to its conclusion in La Rochelle, France. Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have scraped into the Men’s top eight and will be back on the race course tomorrow too.

The Women’s gold fleet sailed two races in La Rochelle today to determine the top eight pecking order ahead of tomorrow’s double-points medal race. 27 year-old Aleh and 25 year-old Powrie (Takapuna Boating Club/Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) placed 13th and then third and retain their overall lead going into the final day.

The reigning Olympic Gold Medalists have 29 points and an 11 point margin over the next best placed team of Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar of Austria back on 40 points. Three further adrift in third are the reigning European Champions and local heroes Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron and France who will be disappointed with their day five performance – their poorest of the series.

The non-discardable medal race is where the pressure really comes on with a shortened race course and incurring double-points. The Austrian, French and Chinese crews placed in second, third and fourth are all very close on points and the battle for the podium will be a hot one.

The last day of finals racing didn’t go all their way; 'Race one was a bit of an annoying race of missed opportunities where we were actually up there, but just made a few bad calls and ended up rather deep trying to get back. We made it back to 13th eventually,' reports Jo Aleh.

'We had a much better second race where we just got clear off the start and kept our wits about us in what were some rather tricky conditions, with rain squalls and massive shifts, to round the top mark in third. After a slightly scary second upwind leg, it just looked like boats were gaining from everywhere, we managed to hold on and finish third.'

'It was however a tough day for all of our competitors as well, so we have managed to keep our lead.'

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have pulled themselves into the Medal Race at 2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

Paul Snow-Hansen (Wakatere Boating Club) and Dan Willcox (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) have recovered from 11th place in the Men’s Championship edging into the top eight medal race by a whisker.

In today’s opener they placed 18th and still had work to do, but a second in the final determining race was enough to lift them into eighth overall by just two points from ninth. From where they sit now Snow-Hansen and Willcox could optimistically reach an end result of sixth, a very creditable showing for their first World Championship as sailing partners.

Australia’s Matt Belcher and Will Ryan have been dominant throughout and go into the medal race with the overall lead.

The other two New Zealand crews racing in the Men’s fleet were Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson who have placed 49th while Richard Power and John Power have ended the regatta in 100th.

2013 Women’s 470 World Championship (52 boats)

Top three standings…

1stJo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) – 29 points
2nd Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) – 40 points
3rd Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) – 43 points

2013 Men’s 470 World Championship (114 boats)

New Zealand’s current standings…

8thPaul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL) – 81 points
49th Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson
100th Richard Power and John Power

Coaches: Nathan Handley and Hamish Willcox

The schedule
5, 6, August: Qualifying Series
7, 8, 9 August: Final Series
10 August: Medal Race and Prize-giving

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France

2013 470 World Championships at La Rochelle, France