Meech in contention at Laser world championships

Sam Meech collected a race win on the last day of qualifying at the Laser world championships. Photo: Jon West Photography.

Sam Meech knows better than most how quickly the complexion of a regatta changes once the top boats all start racing in gold fleet so is quite comfortable with his position halfway through the Laser world championships.

Meech finished three days of qualifying in eighth, posting a first and 10th in today's two races, and he will be joined in gold fleet by fellow Kiwis Tom Saunders (ninth) and George Gautrey (31st).

Germany's Philipp Buhl leads with an almost-perfect scorecard but only 15 points separate the top 10 boats.

Meech was near the top of the tree at the same stage in the past two world championships before eventually having to settle for fourth on both occasions.

"I have had some pretty tough draws in qualifying," says the Olympic bronze medallist.

"I feel like I have been going pretty well. Some of the guys, unfortunately, are going really well.

"That’s the thing with qualifying, though, there aren’t actually that many points in it. The last couple of years I have gone through carrying mostly bullets and then it all evens out in the first couple of races of gold fleet. The scores are all really close even after six races."

It's the same across town at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Geelong.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are second in the 49er, only one point behind the Austrian pair of Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl, after a long first day of gold fleet racing.

The five-time world champions mixed two low scores (1 and 4) with two mid-pack finishes (15 and 11) but every crew is now carrying a drop for their worst result at least in the teens, meaning there could be considerable movement on the leaderboard over the last two days.

Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn are the next best of the Kiwis in 11th and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie are 20th.

Micah Wilikinson and Erica Dawson were the best-performed combination of anyone in the Nacra 17 fleet and moved up two spots to fifth overall, only two points off the bronze medal position.

The pair, who have been sailing together for less than a year, showed good speed in the sometimes treacherous conditions to record a fourth, fifth and sixth.

"Yesterday was really tricky, pretty shifty and with really light winds, so to come away with a good score like we did, we are really stoked," says Dawson.

"We did a good job of connecting the shifts upwind. One side wasn’t really favoured the whole day, every race was different. We just had to keep our heads out of the boat and make good decisions.

"We are pretty surprised [we had the lowest score of the day]. It shows that it was really tricky racing and everyone was a bit all over the show. It also gives us a lot of confidence that we are making good decisions and we have good speed against the top boat. We are pretty stoked."

Liv Mackay and Jason Saunders are 14th overall, with Gemma Jones and Josh Porebski 15th.

Extremely light winds are forecast for tomorrow in Melbourne, which could prove challenging for the race committee at both the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships and Laser worlds.

"I think tomorrow will be pretty easy on the body," says Meech. "Maybe not so easy on the head."

Results and standings from the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Geelong:

49er (78) boats

1st: Benjamin Bildstein / David Hussl (AUT) 2 1 2 3 2 2 2 1 (20) 12 - 27 points
2nd: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) 1 5 1 1 3 1 1 (15) 4 11 - 28 pts
2nd: Diego Botin / Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) 4 9 1 1 1 1 13 5 1 (23) - 38 pts

11th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 8 2 12 4 (15) 4 12 14 5 3 - 68 pts
20th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 5 7 (20) 8 4 8 19 19 19 9 - 98 pts
24th: Markus Somerville / Jack Simpson (NZL) 9 7 4 14 9 14 22 18 16 20.5 - 114.5 pts

Bronze fleet
53rd: Jackson Keon / Scott McKenzie (NZL) 15 9 10 (20) 20 20 1 7 4 - 86 pts
56th: Sam Bacon / Henry Gautrey (NZL) 17 (24) 19 23 20 15 3 3 11 - 111 pts
62nd: Campbell Stanton / Will Shapland (NZL) - 21 23 19 22 (24) 16 4 4 19 - 128 pts
63rd: Sam Morgan / Pat Morgan (NZL) (22) 16 19 21 21 17 21 9 5 - 128 pts
70th: Lewis Anderson / Reece Caulfield (NZL) 9 19 26 15 22 21 19 (UFD) 13 - 144 pts

49erFX (44 boats)

1st: Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) 1 1 (11) 2 2 3 3 2 3 - 17 pts
2nd: Tamara Echegoyen / Paula Barcelo (ESP) 5 1 4 2 1 3 2 1 (10) - 19 pts
3rd: Anne-Julie Schutt / Iben Nielsby (DEN) 3 5 6 3 10 4 (45 DSQ) 5 6 - 42 pts

42nd: Crystal Sun / Olivia Hobbs (NZL) 21 21 17 21 19 (44 UFD) 17 15 9 - 139 pts

 

Nacra 17 (34 boats)

1st: Nathan Outteridge / Haylee Outteridge (AUS) 1 2 10 (15) 2 2 9 9 2 - 37 pts
2nd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 10 1 1 1 1 20 (27) 7 7 - 48 pts
3rd: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) (17) 3 3 3 15 9 2 12 9 - 56 pts

5th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 8 4 5 (20) 7 19 6 4 5 - 58 pts
14th: Liv Mackay / Jason Saunders (NZL) 9 16 9 4 20 7 23 (25) 6 - 94 pts
15th: Gemma Jones / Josh Porebski (NZL) 7 (26) 25 10 5 14 12 15 11 - 94 pts
31st: Helena Sanderson / Henry Haslett (NZL) 28 (32) 31 18 25 30 25 32 30 - 220 pts

Full results

Results and standings from the Laser world championships in Melbourne:

Laser (124 boats)

1st: Philipp Buhl (GER) (4) 1 1 1 1 2 - 6 pts
2nd: Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) 1 (7) 1 1 4 1 - 8 pts
3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 1 2 (13) 2 6 1 - 12 pts

8th: Sam Meech (NZ) 5 5 5 5 1 (10) - 21 pts
9th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 9 4 3 2 (11) - 21 pts
31st: George Gautrey (NZL) 14 (18) 3 8 15 12 - 52 pts
54th: Josh Armit (NZL) 8 21 12 (22) 21 19 - 81 pts

94th: Luke Deegan (NZL) (32) 32 29 24 31 27 - 143 pts

Full results




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