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Oceanbridge Regatta: 49erFX goes down to the wire - Day 3

by Eduan Roos/Yachting NZ 26 Feb 2023 21:05 NZDT 26 February 2023
Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs - 49erFX - Day 3 Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta - Torbay Sailing Club - February 26, 2023 © Adam Mustill Photography

Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs have turned the tables, on the overnight leaders, to win a thrilling 49er FX showdown at the 2023 Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta.

On the back foot after Saturday's racing, where they won the first race but saw Jo Aleh and Molly Meech claim the next four, Maloney and Hobbs found their form on Sunday to reel off four straight wins and claim victory by one point – backing up their triumph at the class national championships last week.

“We certainly didn’t expect to win all four races but we knew we needed something quite special today," Hobbs said.

"Yesterday was tough for us. We struggled with our boat set-up and made quite a few mistakes and today was just about identifying those mistakes, resetting and starting again.”

The duo now have their sights set on the start of the European season in Palma next month, leading up to the Sailing World Championships in The Hague later this year.

“We know there is still a lot that we need to improve on but we believe we have the potential to be competitive in all conditions. We just need to keep working hard in training – on our boat handling, fitness and getting a few of the last things together.”

In the 49er fleet, it was the opposite, with Scott McKenzie and Blake McGlashan taking a big early lead with three wins on the first day and holding on to win by one point over national champions Campbell Stanton and Will Shapland.

McKenzie and McGlashan finished fifth in their last two races to open the door to the chasing pack, but Stanton and Shapland could only snare two thirds, with Seb Menzies and George Lee Rush finishing the strongest, winning three of today's four races to finish third overall.

Sam and Pat Morgan, sailing in a borrowed boat after their mast snapped yesterday, also finished well with a win and two second places to take away some positives from the meet.

In the 29er class, Sean and Rowan Kensington completed a dominant display, winning seven of the nine races in the 17-boat fleet to win by a whopping 16 points.

Greta Pilkington came out on top in an enthralling battle in the ILCA 6, with two victories from eight races enough to see her get the gold after a tough day for overnight leader Olivia Christie.

Pilkington finished on 17 points, four ahead of Annabelle Rennie-Younger and eight ahead of George Lane.

She claimed victory despite having to discard an eighth place in the eighth and final race, with Rennie-Younger discarding a 10th.

Christie finished 12th, 17th and 11th in the three races today to finish fifth overall.

“It was quite a tricky day - stressful and tense at times but it was good to have some tight racing,” Pilkington said.

“My goal was just to focus on the process, rather than on the results, which I think worked quite well.”

Pilkington spent time with former Olympic gold medallist Jenny Armstrong after Saturday’s racing and her advice helped, Pilkington said.

Armstrong, who won 470 gold for Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is Yachting New Zealand’s ILCA 6 programme manager and women’s sailing manager.

“Jenny’s been a big help and a big inspiration whenever the fleet has needed her,” said Pilkington, who finished second to Rennie-Younger at the ILCA 6 nationals in January, with Christie third.

“We’re a close-knit group and there is definitely a lot of development coming through in the class, which is exciting to see.”

Meanwhile, Tom Saunders produced a perfect final day to win the ILCA 7 title, after winning all three races to beat rival George Gautrey by four points.

“It felt like a few things clicked out there today. Conditions were a bit lighter and it was good to see a range [of conditions] even though we only managed to get two days in [after day 1 was abandoned due to Auckland’s wild weather]," Saunders said.

“We have less than a month to go to Palma, so we’ll just keep working hard and hopefully improving.”

Cam Brown and Alex Morgan held off a late charge from Jed Potbury and Finn Balchin to win the 420 class by one point, while Derek Scott and Rebecca Hume won every race today to come from behind and clinch the 470 title.

New Zealand’s leading male windfoiler, Josh Armit, beat a group of top Dutch competitors to claim the iQFOIL 9M crown, after narrowly missing out at the class nationals a week ago.

“It’s been an excellent learning experience sailing against the Dutch because it’s hard to gauge your progress when you’re only training and competing in New Zealand,” Armit said.

“I enjoyed getting one back over them, too, especially with slightly tougher conditions today.”

Like many of his compatriots, Armit’s focus next turns to overseas.

“I’m pretty happy with how things have been going recently but once you get to Europe, it’s a whole new ball game.”

Max van der Zalm won the 8M fleet with four wins from six races, followed by Veerle ten Have and Jack Parr.

Earlier on Sunday, young Hugo Wigglesworth claimed the kitefoiling honours by two points from national champion Lochy Naismith, winning five of the weekend's nine races - including two of the three raced today.

Justina Kitchen won bronze.

Selected results from 2023 Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, hosted by Torbay Sailing Club.

420: 1. Cam Brown/Alex Norman 1 (6 UFD) 1 1 1 4 3 3 - 14 pts; 2. Jed Potbury/Finn Balchin 3 2 2 3 (4) 2 2 1 - 15 pts; 3. Joe Leith/Joshua Ferrissey 2 1 4 2 2 1 (5) 4 - 16 pts.

470: 1. Derek Scott/Rebecca Hume 2 2 1 (4 UFD) 1 1 1 1 - 9 pts; 2. Brittany Wornall/Sam Street 1 1 (2) 1 2 2 2 2 - 11 pts; 3. Adrian France/Marie France 3 3 3 2 3 (4 DNC) 4 DNC 4 DNC - 22 pts.

ILCA 6: 1. Greta Pilkington 4 4 2 2 1 3 1 (8) - 17 pts; 2. Annabelle Rennie-Younger 1 3 5 3 3 2 4 (10) - 21 pts; 3. George Lane 2 2 7 4 4 (10) 3 3 - 25 pts.

ILCA 7: 1. Tom Saunders 1 (2) 2 1 1 1 1 1 - 8 pts; 2. George Gautrey 2 1 1 2 2 2 (4) 2 - 12 pts; 3. Luke Cashmore 4 3 3 3 3 8 2 (11 UFD) - 26 pts.

29er: 1. Sean Kensington/Rowan Kensington 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 (5) - 9 pts; 2. Valentine Kayrouz/Cam McGlashan (9) 3 3 3 2 4 6 3 2 - 25 pts; 3. Will Mason/Lucas Day 4 (18 UFD) 4 2 5 6 3 4 1 - 29 pts.

49er: 1. Scott McKenzie/Blake McGlashan 1 1 1 3 (5) 2 3 5 5 - 21 pts; 2. Campbell Stanton/Will Shapland 3 2 3 4 2 (6) 2 3 3 - 22 pts; 3. Seb Menzies/George Lee Rush (6) 6 5 2 4 1 4 1 1 - 24 pts.

49er FX: 1. Alex Maloney/Olivia Hobbs 1 2 2 2 (3) 1 1 1 1 - 11 pts; 2. Jo Aleh/Molly Meech 2 1 1 1 1 (3) 2 2 2 - 12 pts; 3. Courtney Reynolds-Smith/Brianna Reynolds-Smith (3) 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 - 22 pts.

Kitefoil: 1. Hugo Wigglesworth 2 1 1 2 (3) 1 1 1 2 - 11 pts; 2. Lochy Naismith 1 2 2 1 1 2 (3) 3 1 - 13 pts; 3. Justina Kitchen (3) 3 3 3 2 3 2 2 3 - 21 pts.

iQFOIL 8M: 1. Max van der Zalm 1 1 (2) 1 2 1 - 6 pts; 2. Veerle ten Have 2 2 1 2 (4) 4 - 11 pts; 3. Jack Parr (3) 3 3 3 1 3 - 13 pts.

iQFOIL 9M: 1. Josh Armit 2 (3) 2 2 1 1 3 2 - 13 pts; 2. Joost Vink 1 (4) 3 3 4 3 1 1 - 16 pts; 3. Thomas Crook 4 1 4 4 3 5 (7) 4 - 25 pts.

Full results click here

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