Please select your home edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Superhuman

Yachting NZ: Saunders in the medal hunt at ILCA7/Laser world championships

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 9 Nov 2021 05:08 GMT 9 November 2021
Mark rounding ILCA7 World Championships - November 2021 © ILCA

The ILCA7/Laser world championships in Barcelona have not exactly run smoothly, with two of the four days lost to a lack of wind, but Tom Saunders (NZL) has coped well and put himself in a strong position with two days remaining.

The Kiwi is third, one point behind leaders Elliot Hansen (Great Britain) and Sergei Komissarov (Russia), heading into gold fleet racing. George Gautrey made a small jump up the leaderboard and is now 25th overall.

Race management hope to run three races on each of the remaining two days, so there is still plenty to play for, but it is a good return for Saunders who went into this regatta on the back of a sixth placing at last month's European championships.

He was seventh, second and 37th (his drop so far) in today's three races, with the first two sailed in an offshore breeze and the last in a light sea breeze.

"I quite enjoyed the breeze this morning," Saunders said. "It was very tactical, and knowing when to push and when to consolidate was tricky. It rewarded consistency in a 70-boat fleet, and there was plenty of leverage out in the corners.

"This afternoon turned into a one-way track. I got the strategy wrong there and the fleet was pretty well spread after a few minutes so there was no way back to the front, unfortunately. It's still all to play for."

Stronger winds are forecast for the remaining two days, which will be welcomed by the majority of the fleet who have done plenty of waiting around over the last four days. Barcelona is not normally known as a sailing venue at this time of year and would have hosted the world championships three months earlier had it not been delayed due to Covid-19.

The points can accumulate very quickly once all the top sailors are bunched into gold fleet and it will present opportunities for the likes of Gautrey to climb the leaderboard over the last couple of days.

The 2019 world championships bronze medallist admits it's been a frustrating regatta for him to date but he's also mindful it's his first international event in nearly two years and he's spent a lot of the last three months in lockdown in Auckland.

He added a 15th, 24th and sixth in his three races overnight and sits on 52 points overall.

"The racing has been tricky," Gautrey said. "When I have found myself in good positions, I have made some stupid mistakes and they're costly in a fleet like this. It would have been really easy to come out of qualifying with a lot worse looking scoreline. I feel like I'm slowly getting there so will look to carry a bit of momentum into gold fleet.

"This is about getting back in the boat again and going racing. The conditions have been pretty exposing of weaknesses - lack of sailing, poor boat handling, a bit of rust - which is a shame but is to be expected. Hopefully in gold fleet racing I can keep it simple, keep my head down and let some other people make some mistakes."

The leaderboard is fairly congested, with only seven points separating the top six sailors. Two-time world champion Pavlos Kontides (Cyprus) is fourth and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic is one point behind in sixth.

Results and standings after day 4 of the Laser world championships in Barcelona:

(135 boats)

1st: Elliot Hanson (GBR) – 2 1 4 8 (45) - 15 points 2nd: Sergei Komissarov (RYF) 7 (13) 3 3 2 - 15 pts 3rd: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 4 7 2 (37) - 16 pts

25th: George Gautrey (NZL) 23 8 15 (24) 6 - 52 pts

Full results click here

Related Articles

ILCA Nationals: Disbelief for new Women's champion
Greta Pilkington only had a sense she was in the running to take out the Womens title Greta Pilkington had a sense she was in the running to take out the title going into the last day of the ILCA (Laser) national championships in Picton but didn't really know. Posted on 24 Jan
Oceanbridge Regatta needs your entry this week
Yachting New Zealand are running Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, but need an early entry Yachting New Zealand are still looking to host next month's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta and believe they can do it safely under the red setting of the Covid Protection Framework. But an early entry is required this week. Posted on 24 Jan
ILCA Nationals: Saunders headlines big fleet
World ILCA Champion out to improve at ILCA Nationals at Queen Charlotte Saunders will headline the ILCA nationals, which will also feature the country's best women's, youth and masters sailors in the four-day regatta. The event has already received 91 entries with racing due to get under way on Thursday. Posted on 20 Jan
World Sailing recognise Race Officers' service
Two of New Zealand's longest standing race officials have been recognised by World Sailing Two of New Zealand's longest standing race officials John and Linda Parrish, have been recognised by the awarding of a Service Award to John, by World Sailing. Parrish has been involved in six Olympic Games, including last year's in Enoshima. Posted on 13 Jan
Laser World champ coaching at YNZ Opti camps
New ILCA 7 (Laser) world champion Tom Saunders is among the 12 coaches at Opti clinics The Optimist scene is still one of the main breeding grounds for New Zealand's sailors and over the past month nearly 100 youngsters have been learning off world champions, SailGP sailors and world championship-winning coaches. Posted on 13 Jan
Paris 2024: Yachting NZ receives funding boost
Yachting New Zealand gains a funding increase of $425,000 a year over the Toko2020 levels Despite returning from Tokyo2020 with the worst medal tally, since the medal-less 2004 Athens Olympics, Yachting New Zealand has gained a funding increase of $425,000 a year over the Toko2020 levels. Posted on 16 Dec 2021
Yachting NZ: Briefings - Dec 15 - Latest news
Latest Yachting NZ: Briefings for December 15 - Big P class fleets expected.. Keelboats are back.. Latest Yachting NZ: Briefings for December 15 - Big P class fleets expected for Tanner and Tauranga Cups; Keelboats back in action in Auckland after 100days of lockdown; NZSailGP's Erica Dawson podcast and more Posted on 16 Dec 2021
YNZ: Clubs in the Auckland region can go sailing!
Friday is the first day Clubs in the Auckland region can go sailing + other Yachting NZ news A handful of clubs are planning their season opening on Friday, which coincides with the first day of the new Covid Protection Framework (traffic light system). Clubs in the Auckland region being able to offer more activities under the new guidelines Posted on 2 Dec 2021
Sailing world mourns the loss of Pete Waters
"He would want people to learn from his experiences with skin cancer" Pete Waters invariably succeeded at anything he put his mind to - he was a top sailor, rower, rugby player, jazz musician, business owner and husband and father - and even confounded doctors in his fight with skin cancer. Posted on 26 Nov 2021
Roger 'Clouds' Badham - ETNZ's forecaster
Broad Reach Radio: Roger Badham - look at the clouds! Roger ‘Clouds' Badham is one of the world's pre-eminent meteorologists and was also the first person to forecast for yachties and boaties on a fulltime basis. Posted on 15 Nov 2021