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NZL Sailing Team: Maloney claims silver at Finn European championships

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 19 May 02:14 BST 19 May 2019
Andy Maloney - NZL - Day 6 - European Finn Championships - Athens International Sailing Centre - May 2019 © Robert Deaves / Finn Class

Andy Maloney had a chance of collecting silver on the final day of the Finn European championships in Athens if everything went his way and the medal race couldn't have worked out any better for the New Zealand sailor.

Not only did Maloney win the race, but the Hungarian who started the day in second also got tangled in a match race with Great Britain's Giles Scott and finished near the back of the fleet. It meant Maloney finished second overall at an event that featured all of the world's top Finn sailors and came on the back of his win in his last start at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma.

Josh Junior rounded out a good week for New Zealand's Finn sailors and was sixth in the medal race and eighth overall.

There's a good chance of more Kiwi success tonight (NZ time), with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke holding a handy 17-point lead in the 49er European championships in Weymouth with one more gold fleet race before the top-10 medal race and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech fifth in the 49erFX Europeans but only three points off third. The 49erFX fleet have only a medal race remaining.

Andy Maloney's medal race couldn't have gone any better and he had an inkling it could be his day during the pre-start. Maloney couldn't make up enough ground on Scott to win gold but Hungary's Zsombor Berecz still had an outside chance of overtaking the Olympic champion and Scott was clearly taking no risks.

"I just monitored the situation in the pre-start and Zsombor put himself in a position where Giles could get to him," Maloney explained. "At about two minutes 30 [before the the start] I saw Giles in a pretty strong position controlling Zsombor and I knew then that I just had to try to get a good start and try to win the race. I managed to do that.

"I was really happy to win the race first of all and pretty stoked that Zsombor didn't manage to get back enough as well.

"To finish second is really awesome in such a big, high-quality Finn fleet. It was really tricky conditions in Athens all week with quite big shifts that came with massive pressure differences. You could either do really well out of the shifts or find yourself way back in the fleet quickly, so really happy with second."

Burling and Tuke were also happy with their penultimate day at the 49er European championships, finishing third, sixth and 19th in their three races to consolidate their position at the top of the points table. They now have a 17-point lead over Great Britain's Dylan Flatcher and Stuart Bithell with Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Lopez a further point back in third.

Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn are eighth, Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey 13th and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie 17th and the top under-23 crew in the fleet.

"It was quite a different day in Weymouth today," Burling said. "It was definitely a lot lighter breeze. Blair and myself had pretty good races in the first two and couldn't quite finish it off with a good one in the last one, which was frustrating. But considering how tricky the day was to walk away with two really low scores was quite pleasing for us and puts us in a position we want to be going into tomorrow.

"We have one more fleet race and then a medal race after that so there's plenty more racing and we are just looking forward to trying to see the week out."

The picture in the 49erFX is a lot tighter. Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze have a firm grip on gold but only 12 points separate second from sixth and, with double points in the medal race, a lot of permutations can play out.

Maloney and Meech were 19th and eighth in today's two races sailed in light winds but said there's "still lots to play for in tomorrow's medal race".

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are out of the running for a medal in the Nacra 17, currently sitting in seventh heading into their medal race, but will be looking for a strong finish to a week that has seen them notch 10 top-five results out of 17 races.

Results and standings after day 6 of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European championships in Weymouth: 49er (98 boats)

1st: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 (9) 5 2 5 13 7 6 4 2 3 6 (19) - 63 pts 2nd: Dylan Fletcher / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 5 1 2 6 6 3 3 (14) 1 7 2 8 5 4 7 1 7 12 (14) - 80 pts 3rd: Diego Botin / Iago Lopez (ESP) 2 5 1 1 2 1 1 1 (9) 4 11 2 3 8 12 6 6 15 (16) - 81 pts

8th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 4 1 1 1 3 (11) 2 3 8 5 4 17 19 11 2 (25) 16 13 7 - 117 pts 13th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 10 (13) 7 8 11 7 10 (16) 10 3 7 (25) 10 9 8 18 15 2 10 - 158 pts 17th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 11 (17) 5 11 16 5 10 2 7 2 19 2 (21) 20 13 15 8 7 12 - 172 pts

Full results click here

49erFX (57) boats 1st: Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 2 2 2 1 1 3 1 1 (6) 4 2 2 5 12 7 11 (21) - 56 pts 2nd: Annermiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 3 3 1 2 3 2 (6) 3 1 6 3 5 14 17 1 (23) 11 - 75 pts 3rd: Vilma Bobeck / Malin Tengstrom (SWE) 1 1 3 7 4 1 (11) 9 9 19 (30 DNF) 1 8 3 9 3 3 - 81 pts

5th: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) (8) 3 5 3 2 1 1 5 2 (21) 4 15 3 1 12 19 8 - 84 pts

Full results click here

Nacra 17 (55 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 1 1 1 1 (7) 1 2 4 4 10 3 13 1 1 (22) 11 - 55 pts 2nd: Ben Saxton / Olivia Boniface (GBR) 1 6 6 5 2 1 6 (7) 1 (12) 8 5 8 5 2 1 2 - 59 pts 3rd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 6 4 2 1 1 2 3 2 2 1 6 2 (23) 15 3 8 9 - 61 pts

7th: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 4 4 3 4 3 (11) 2 8 2 3 9 17 3 13 20 2 (22) - 97 pts

Full results click here

Results and standings after the final day of the Finn European championships in Athens:

Finn (84 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) 1 3 1 3 (23) 14 3 3 20 - 48 pts 2nd: Andy Maloney (NZL) 5 1 3 17 3 1 (25) 20 2 - 52 pts 3rd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 9 2 4 (22) 17 5 4 2 18 - 61 pts

8th: Josh Junior (NZL) 11 8 22 12 19 (28) 23 4 12 - 111 pts

Full results click here

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