NZL Sailing Team: Gold medalists have Muppet Moment in Medal race

NZ's Aleh and Powrie start ahead of the Medla Racing - 2014 470 Europeans, Greece, July 2014
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have taken the bronze medal at the 2014 Women’s 470 Open European Championships which wrapped up in Athens, Greece today.

Going into today’s final medal race, worth double points, laying second overall and assured of a podium finish an uncharacteristic mistake at the first mark rounding sealed their fate and the golden girls have to settle for bronze.

Jo Aleh describes what happened; 'Well.. we have had better days on the water!'

'We managed to stuff up today's medal race about as well as we could have. We did a bit of last second avoidance of the Russian boat coming into the first bottom mark in about fourth, ended up tipped over right next to the mark.'

Not a good look for NZ - Medal Races - 2014 470 Europeans, Greece, July 2014
'To top it off, when we got it up the kite had managed to tie itself in a very tight knot around the jib.'

'Cue the next five minutes of Polly standing on the foredeck trying to untangle it. While I did a dive out the back of the boat to rescue the spinnaker pole which had decided to make a run for it.'

'By the time we got sorted we were last by about a leg… So that was game over.'

'Ah well, a few too many Muppet Moments this event... Still ended up third overall, so that's something at least. Definitely aiming to not make those mistakes ever again.'

Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar from Austria secured the title, while British duo Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark were awarded the silver medal after the kiwi hiccup.

New Zealand’s men’s pair of Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox weren’t on the water for today’s men’s top ten medal race having ended the series in 23rd place overall.

Both Aleh and Powrie, and Snow-Hansen and Willcox are part of the NZL Sailing Team heading to Rio, Brazil for the 2014 Olympic Test Event next month.

Jez Fanstone, High Performance Director for Yachting New Zealand says, 'We want to be as familiar with the 2016 Olympic sailing venue as possible. This year we will use the Rio Test Event, 2-9 August 2014 (the first of all 2016 Olympic Test Events) to build on all aspects of our knowledge around Guanabara Bay, Rio.'

Following that the focus turns to this year’s pinnacle event for Olympic class sailing, the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander in September.

NZL Sailing 470 team Jo Aleh, Polly Powrie, Nathan Handley and Paul Snow-Hansen (missing is Dan Willcox) - Medal Races - 2014 470 Europeans, Greece, July 2014

2014 Men’s and Women’s 470 European Championships, Athens, Greece

What: Olympic double-handed dinghy classes (Men’s and women’s)
New Zealand’s final results

Women’s 470
Bronze medal Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie

Men’s 470
23rd Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox
NZL Sailing Team Coaches: Nathan Handley and Pete Evans

Event website

Mens winner Belcher and Ryan - Medal Races - 2014 470 Europeans, Greece, July 2014

About the NZL Sailing Team

The NZL Sailing Team includes New Zealand’s top Olympic campaigners who have made the top 20% in their most recent (respective) class World Championships or pinnacle event and have shown consistency of performance over the year including other significant Championships.

Yachting New Zealand’s High Performance Programme is focused on winning medals at the Olympics in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

NZL Sailing Team sailors all started out at grass roots yacht clubs around the country and with commitment, dedication and drive have risen to be world class athletes; they work hard in the gym, train long hours on the water and are supported by great coaches.