Please select your home edition
Bailey Insurance

Laser Worlds: Frustrating finish for Kiwis at Laser Worlds

by Michael Brown/Yachting New Zealand 17 Feb 00:16 NZDT 17 February 2020
Sam Meech (NZL) - Laser World Championship - Melbourne - February 2020 © John West Photography

For a group of sailors who pride themselves on being near the front of the fleet, the Laser world championships in Melbourne did not turn out as hoped for New Zealand's top three sailors.

Sam Meech, Tom Saunders and George Gautrey all finished in the top 10 at last year's Laser world championships but only Meech featured in the top 10 this time around. The Olympic bronze medallist was eighth and, even then, it wasn't a result he was satisfied with.

Meech has been one of the most Laser consistent sailors in this Olympic cycle and in the two years up until the end of 2019 had finished no worse than sixth at any regatta.

Tom Saunders was 21st and George Gautrey, who collected bronze at last year's world championships, was 29th.

Meech went into the final day in eighth and still with a realistic chance of claiming a medal, especially with three gold fleet races to be sailed in conditions in excess of 20 knots, but he just couldn't find the formula to work his way up the table.

"It didn’t go to plan," he said. "The conditions were really good and I thought it was a good day for me to move up the leaderboard. I got fantastic starts in all three races but I was really struggling on the reach and first run and found myself out of pressure and swallowed by the fleet.

"It was just not what I hoped for. I’m happy with how I started but just didn’t finish off, which is usually what I pride myself on. I was expecting a little bit more.

"I felt like I was sailing really well [this week] and had the form but just wasn’t making the right decisions and wasn’t feeling the conditions. Sometimes you are in pretty good flow with the shifts and tacking in the right places and I just wasn’t doing that this week."

One who was feeling it was Philipp Buhl, who put together an incredible week of sailing. The German never finished out of the top 10 across 12 races in what is considered the most competitive of all the Olympic classes and also notched four race wins to finish 14 points ahead of Australia's Matt Wearn. Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic was a distant third, 26 points adrift of Wearn.

Saunders started the final day in 10th and with an outside chance of a medal, but fell out of contention after finishing 37th in the first race of the day.

"That wasn’t a good start to the day and I had to carry that [score] because yesterday I got tangled up with the Croatian in the last race and lost about 30 places. After that I just wanted to go out with a bang and sail how I know I can. I had a couple of good races but I was just a bit early off the line on the last race [and was disqualified].

"[This week has been] a lot of what ifs or what could have been. The top couple of guys sailed pretty well and we weren’t even close to them in the end. It’s pretty hard to swallow right now after the buildup we had. We spent a lot of time here so I don’t really have an excuse."

Two other Kiwis were competing in Melbourne this week, with Josh Armit 37th in silver fleet and Luke Deegan 16th in bronze fleet.

Next month's Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma is the next regatta on the agenda for the Laser squad before attentions switch to Japan, where one will eventually compete for New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics.

Results and standings from the Laser world championships in Melbourne:

Gold fleet (42 boats)

1st: Philipp Buhl (GER) (4) 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 6 (10) 4 - 24 pts 2nd: Matt Wearn (AUS) 6 4 2 2 2 (11) 4 8 2 2 (9) 6 - 38 pts 3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 1 2 (13) 2 6 1 18 15 4 4 (21) 11 - 64 pts

8th: Sam Meech (NZ) 5 5 5 5 1 (10) 14 6 10 18 17 (26) - 86 pts 21st: Tom Saunders (NZL) 3 9 4 3 2 (11) 16 7 40 37 6 (43 UFD) - 127 pts 29th: George Gautrey (NZL) 14 (18) 3 8 15 12 5 12 31 23 27 (34) - 150 pts

Silver fleet (41 boats) 37th: Josh Armit (NZL) 8 21 12 (22) 21 19 30 37 24 37 37 (43 RET) - 246 pts

Bronze fleet (41 boats) 16th: Luke Deegan (NZL) (32) 32 29 24 31 27 23 21 8 10 9 (43 UFD) - 214 pts

Full results click here

Related Articles

Yachting NZ creates new path for women in sailing
Yachting NZ's wants to maintain participation through equal opportunities for success. Yachting New Zealand have developed a wide-ranging women and girls in sailing strategy to attract more female participants, retain those already sailing and advance equal opportunities. Posted on 27 Mar
Coach-led racing to replace NZL Sailing Regatta
Regatta cancelled due to concerns about transmission of Covid-19. Yachting New Zealand have made the difficult decision to cancel next weekend's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta due to the Covid-19 virus but will look to run some coach-led racing instead. Posted on 22 Mar
Covid-19 information for NZ Sailing Clubs
Find all the latest information here and what it might mean for your club. Find all the latest information here about the Covid-19 outbreak and what it might mean for your club, class association, course or regatta. Posted on 22 Mar
Yachting NZ issues COVID-19 guidelines
Major dinghy regattas can continue under COVID-19 guidelines issued by Yachting NZ Yachting New Zealand has issued a note to clubs and classes outlining a framework which will allow several major dinghy regattas to proceed with some changes ashore. Posted on 16 Mar
Olympics 2024: Gearing up for offshore sailing
Top Kiwi sailors weigh in on the new offshore yachting event joining the Olympic program. A mixed two-handed offshore keelboat event has been added onto the programme for the 2024 Olympics but there are still a lot of unknowns, not least of which, what class of boat will be used. Posted on 11 Mar
Tokyo2020: Seven named for Tokyo
Seven sailors selected in four events for Tokyo Seven sailors selected today in the 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and Laser classes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Posted on 3 Mar
49erFX: Injury forces Kiwis out of Worlds
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have withdrawn from the upcoming 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world champs Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have withdrawn from the upcoming 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Melbourne after Maloney fractured her foot in training two days ago. Posted on 9 Feb
Father and daughter have the Wright stuff
Father and daughter Greg and Polly Wright make it a family affair at Queen Charlotte YC. It was a family affair at the Zephyr national championships at the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club this week, with Greg Wright claiming his second title and daughter Polly picking up the women's trophy. Posted on 7 Feb
Snow-Hansen and Willcox claim 470 nationals
Two DNC scores cost the pair the overall regatta win but still proved their pace. Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox claimed another 470 national title at the weekend but a couple of big scores in the middle of their regatta cost them the chance to win the regatta overall. Posted on 7 Feb
Perratt foils his opponents at Australian champs
The 19-year-old won 13 of 15 races at the Australian Windfoil Championships Lloyd Perratt knew he was going quick but he didn't really know how fast until competing at the recent Australian windfoil championships in Queensland. Posted on 7 Feb
Harken 660 - BOTTOMMarine Shield - Before & After - BOTTOM 728x90KYC - Baltic NZ 660 Race Crew