NZL Sailing Team: Three in the medal chase at Medemblik

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox training in the 470, ahead of leaving on their 2013 European campaign - Takapuna.

The NZL Sailing Team are back in the hunt for medals with three crews lying top two across three classes as 2013 Delta Lloyd Regatta, on in the Netherlands right now, heads into the business end with just two days to go.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are ten points clear in the Women’s 470, Andy Maloney has climbed to second in the Laser event and Men’s 470 pair Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox has also improved to second place after some excellent races today.

It was another freezing day on the water for the NZL Sailing Team, but conditions allowed for a full schedule of three races in each fleet at what is the second of five regattas that make up the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie took two seconds and a race win to open a ten point gap on their closest rivals; 'After we got over the shock of the cold, or went numb, we managed to get through three races,' report Aleh and Powrie. 'The wind was a little shifty and crazy, with some big rain squalls coming through all morning. We had some mixed races, with the results showing a 2, 1, 2, however we were up and down at times, and made a few more mistakes than we would have liked.'

Like Aleh and Powrie, Andy Maloney won gold at the last round of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup just a couple of weeks back in Italy. The Laser campaigner is showing good form again now in second place and just one point off the leader Tom Burton from Australia after day three of racing. Fellow kiwi Sam Meech is ninth place.

'Yesterday now seems almost tropical after freezing on the water for five hours today. We had a few too many postponements waiting for the wind to settle in, making for some very numb fingertips for a lot of the day,' describes Maloney.

'Despite the cold, we did manage to get in our first three 'gold fleet' races in 10-17 knots of wind. The whole fleet had mixed results today, I scored a 2, 1, and 17. The first two I sailed well, in the final race I got stuck on the wrong side of the big shift up the first beat and the distance from the leading group was too big to make up over the course of the race.'

With a 3, 5, 3 score card from day three Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have improved to second overall in the Men’s 470 class. Through three days of racing Snow-Hansen and Willcox haven’t finished outside the top five places and the pair will be hoping to maintain their form into what is the penultimate day of the regatta tomorrow.

All fleets will be back on the water for more racing to determine who makes the medal race cut. In each of the classes featuring kiwi sailors only the top six ranked crews will sail on the final day of the regatta.

'We have three more races tomorrow to conclude the opening series after which we have the race off for the medals – the final race which counts for almost more than the four days racing preceding it,' says Aleh and Powrie.

NZL Sailing Team after day three (of five)…
1st Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, 470W (3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2)
2nd Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox, 470M (3, 5, 2, 3, 3, 5, 3)
2nd Andy Maloney, Laser (9, 12, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 17)
9th Sam Meech, Laser (10, 15, 3, 7, 1, 11, 3, 24)

Aspiring NZL Sailing Team…
12th James Turner and Carl Evans 470M (13, 3, 11, 12, 17, 6, OCS, 17)
9th Natalia Kosinska RS:XW (12, 10, 6, 3, 8, 10, 9, 12, 16, 7)

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About EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup

The Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup is based on five top European events for Olympic and Paralympic Classes. The EUROSAF series follows the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series. The series, which complements the ISAF Sailing World Cup, is based on established regattas within Europe, in order to guarantee the highest level of event and race management.

Regattas included are:

Fraglia Vela Riva 8-12 May, Italy
Delta Lloyd Regatta 21-25 May, Netherlands
Sail for Gold 8-12 June, United Kingdom
Kieler Woche 22/26 June, Germany
Semaine Olympique Française 9-13 Oct, France