Centreboard News


Gold, Silver & Bronze in Rio



It was a momentous day for the NZL Sailing Team in Rio yesterday when four New Zealand crews sailed their Olympic medal races in phenomenal sailing conditions under the spotlight of the world’s sports fans and media. Three kiwi crews stood on the podium yesterday, taking one gold and two silver medals adding to the sailing bronze won on Tuesday in Rio by Sam Meech. Messages of congratulations have been flooding in from fans in New Zealand and around the world. Four Olympic medals in sailing is not without precedence for New Zealand, but it has been 24 years since it happened, and the 2016 performance is equal to the previous best haul of gold, two silver, one bronze back at Barcelona 1992. New Zealand is one of only two nations to collect four medals here in Rio, the other being Australia. New Zealand has now won 22 Olympic sailing medals in total including nine gold, seven silver, and six bronze. New Zealand was represented in seven Olympic sailing events in Rio, and all seven crews finished within the top ten of their fleet and sailed the medal race.

The average age of the New Zealand sailing team in Rio is just 25 years-old, and yet the team featured two three-time Olympians – Jo Aleh and Peter Burling. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke took out the 49er event in style with a medal race win proving the fitting final flourish to an incredible four-year campaign. Already secure for gold on points the men enjoyed every moment of that race and then realised their dream of going one better than 2012 to win an Olympic Gold medal.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie captured everyone’s attention when they came back fighting from 7th on the table, to get back into the medal hunt. A solid tactical medal race performance was required to secure a podium finish, and they held their nerve to deliver what was required for the women’s 470 Olympic Silver medal.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech shone in the spotlight placed on the women’s skiff class which is one of two new events in the Olympic Games this year, and featured strong local hopes Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze. With four boats lying equal going into yesterday’s medal race, the last on the schedule, the breeze turned up the dial and it was all on for a grand finale.

It came down to the wire between the kiwis and the Brazilians, and the local crowd erupted on the beach when Grael and Kunze took the race by a mere two seconds.

Nacra sailor Gemma Jones was the youngest sailor and the only female helm in her medal race sailed on Tuesday. She and Jason Saunders won the Nacra medal race and missed out on the podium by only three points.

On Tuesday Josh Junior closed his first Olympic Games appearance in 7th overall in the Finn fleet. Yesterday Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox sailed the Men’s 470 Medal Race finishing 6th and closing the Rio Olympic Games in 10th overall.

NZL Sailing Team Results
GOLD Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er)
SILVER Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Women’s 470)
SILVER Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX)
BRONZE - Sam Meech (Laser)
4th - Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra)
7th - Josh Junior (Finn)
10th Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (Men's 470)


Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders sailed the race of their lives with a brilliant medal race victory in the Nacra class, but their fate was determined by the order in which the other nations crossed and they narrowly missed out on the podium and finish 4th.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have pulled out a stunning performance today. Lying 7th overall after setbacks during the week the women went out and won races eight and nine back to back in the women’s 470, and move up to lie 2nd overall going into tomorrow’s medal race.
Great Britain are so extended on points that Aleh and Powrie will do battle with crews from USA, France and Japan to decide the silver and bronze medals.

Things couldn’t be closer going into the 49erFX medal race and kiwis Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are in contention for podium finish with just the medal race remaining. After today the women’s skiff pair is amidst a four way pile-up at the top of the leader-board.
With one point separating 1st and 4th, and then a 28 point gaps, Thursday’s medal race will determine which of the four crews get the medals, and in which order.

Josh Junior was 4th in the Finn medal race and he wraps up the Rio Olympic Games with a 7th overall.

In the men’s 470 Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox have a place in the starting line-up for the Men’s 470 class. They go in lying 9th overall.

NZL Sailing Team Results
Sam Meech (Laser) Bronze Medal Laser
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra) 4th
Josh Junior (Finn) 7th


It has been an eventful day in Rio for the NZL Sailing Team with some great race results and some tough decisions. Winds were light and from the south; racing was postponed initially but got underway through the afternoon.

Women’s 470 – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were back in action after a scheduled rest day and they sailed two races on Copacabana course area outside the bay. Clearly sailing well, the kiwi pair raced the day’s opener to cross the finish first, only to find out they had been ruled too early to the start line. It means they carry 21 points for race six of the series. Aleh and Powrie didn’t let it affect their race seven performance, however, coming back strong with a 2nd place. They returned ashore philosophical about the on-water decision and remaining positive about the rest of the regatta. Asked about what happened Aleh said, “We sailed a pretty god race, we won across the line, and then our coach Nath told us we were over.”
“We knew we got a good start, one of those where who knows what it was, maybe a few centimetres. There is not really much you can do about that – the race committee have the final say on these things.” “We’re just trying to sail every race as good as we can – that is what we came here to do. We think we’ve actually done a pretty good job of that so far, but we’ve just had a couple of things that have swung the opposite way to what we’d like.
“We’ll just keep doing that for the rest of the races and see where it ends up.”

There are three more races possible in the women’s 470 qualifying series and then a double-points medal race providing Aleh and Powrie plenty of opportunity to post some low scores and improve, and the pair has the tenacity and resilience to do just that.
They’re now in 7th overall with ten points to close on the crew currently placed in the bronze medal position. Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, London silver medallists, are out in the lead after seven races.

Nacra – Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders
It was a pivotal day in the mixed multihull class where placings continued to change as the day unfolded.
The provisional standings now show what the top ten looks like going into the Nacra medal race – set to be sailed on Tuesday in Rio after tomorrow’s rest day.
New Zealanders Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders will go into the double-points quick-fire finale in 5th place on 79 points.
The Austrian crew, lying 3rd, are seven points ahead of the kiwis who posted two 13ths and a 2nd in today’s three races.
Men’s 470 – Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox posted their best results of the regatta so far with a 5th and a 2nd in their two races, and they pull up inside the top ten as reward.
Improving to 9th overall Snow-Hansen and Willcox climbed four positions today, from 13th overall at the outset.
“It was nice to have a few good results after a tough week,” said Paul Snow-Hansen.
“Today was light conditions, we were out a long way offshore and the waves were a bit choppy, not much breeze and we did a pretty good job of navigating the course and keeping the boat going and staying out of any big holes out there which was challenging.”
“We’re pretty happy with the day.”
Tomorrow they will be back in action with races 8, 9 and 10 for the Men’s 470 event scheduled if time and conditions allow.

Finn – Josh Junior
Josh Junior had a good day in the Finn class, where the top ten are now decided for Tuesday’s medal race. Britain’s Giles Scott has done enough to secure the gold medal with a 24 point gap over the fleet, but will still need to sail Tuesday’s race before standing atop the podium. New Zealand’s Junior had work to do today to make the top ten cut, but has done that easily by returning a 4th and a 6th. He lies 7th in the standings now, but has his eye on using Tuesday’s medal race to improve his final result for Rio 2016.
Speaking after racing today Junior looked back on his regatta so far and reflected; “Very frustrating, but you live and you learn, but I’ve still got an opportunity, so I will keep moving forward. “Ten points off 4th, so that would be pretty cool.”

Elsewhere, Laser sailor Sam Meech was on a rest day ahead of his medal race tomorrow. The 25-year old Olympic debutant is in 3rd position going into the race, which counts for double-points. Lying ahead of Sam Meech, in the lead, is Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic who will make history tomorrow as Croatia’s first ever medallist in Olympic sailing. The 30-year-old was 4th at the London Olympic Games and is likely to focus his race plan around ensuring Australia’s Tom Burton doesn’t take the gold medal – it will go to one or the other. If Meech finishes in the top five he will have secured bronze at least, with the silver possible, but a stretch. While he has a nine-point gap there are some big names behind Meech on the board including Robert Scheidt from Brazil – the 43-year-old with five Olympic medals to his name, and reigning world champion Nick Thompson from Great Britain. The Laser medal race is scheduled for 2pm in Brazil (5am in New Zealand).
Also resting today were the men’s and women’s skiff sailors who return for two more days of qualifying from tomorrow.

NZL Sailing Team current standings
1st Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) (1, 1, 5, 2, 8, 6)
3rd Sam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 13, 6, 12, 1)
5th Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) (9, 13, 7, 5, 4, 2, 4, 8, 12, 13, 13, 2)
3rd Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX) (6, 5, 4, 4, 5, 1)
7th Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Women’s 470) (21DSQ, 1, 4, 1, 12, 21UFD, 3)
7th Josh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD, 14, 14, 5, 3, 18, 2, 4, 6)
9th Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Men’s 470) (2, 10, 20, 15, 23, 5, 2)


The next best placed of the NZL Sailing Team is Laser sailor Sam Meech who has 7th place after three days of racing. Lying 3rd going into today the first-time Olympian said he was disappointed with his performance. He placed 14th and 17th in his two races and now has a rest day scheduled. Meech said, “Yesterday was really good I felt like I got good starts and executed my plan, but today was disappointing. It was the kind of conditions where I felt like I could go really well and I just didn’t get it right.” Still well inside the top ten a closer look at the leader board shows that Meech is closely bunched close on points with the sailors just ahead of him, and with another four qualifying races to go there is plenty of opportunity to regain ground.

Nacra 17
The first day of Olympic racing in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull was scheduled on the spectator friendly Pao course. Notoriously patchy, due to being situated in the lee of Sugarloaf in the south westerly conditions, today was extremely tough for sailors and the race committee.
The New Zealand crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders came through race one with a 9th place, then placed 15th in race two, which sees them lying 13th overall.
Three races were scheduled but only two were possible today. The Nacra fleet will be back racing tomorrow.

NZL Sailing Team current standings
2ndJo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Women’s 470) (6, 1)
3rdPaul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Men’s 470) (2, 10)
7thSam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6, 14, 17)
13thGemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) (9, 15)
20thJosh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD, 14, 14)


Two New Zealanders sailed on day two of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta including Sam Meech who has climbed into third overall with a couple of great races.
Lying 6th going into day two Meech sailed two solid keeper races placing 5th in the first of the day, then 6th in the next one. Discarding the 19 points he collected in race one, Meech has 14 points and now lies 3rd overall in the 46-boat fleet and just one point adrift of 2nd place.
“It was a good day I had great starts and went the right way most of the time so that was good,” said Meech when he came ashore.
When told he has climbed into 3rd place he said, “Fantastic, but its day two and it’s a long regatta so I can’t get too excited about it yet. Hopefully I’ll be in the same position on the last day and then I’ll be excited.”
Racing on the Ponte course further up the harbour, the Laser fleet reported reasonably consistent breeze today, and are expecting more when they move to the outside Copacabana course for day three tomorrow.
“We’re racing on Copacabana outside and the forecast looks very strong, especially for that course so I’ll try and eat as much as I can tonight,” he joked.
It was a tough opening day for NZL Sailing Team Finn sailor and Olympic debutant Josh Junior who found himself buried at the back of the fleet in race one to place 18th.
Then in race two Junior was among a group of four sailors penalised for being too early at the start line.
Junior sums up the day; “We had two races today in pretty shifty and light winds. Didn’t go so well for me I ended up with one near the back and then unfortunately got a UFD in the second race so not a good day, but you know, five or six more days to go so.”
Junior remained upbeat pointing out that there is plenty of racing yet to come, “It’s unfortunate for me to have a couple of bad ones but it’s not the end of the world and I’ll carry on – hopefully tomorrow is a bit better.”
He described the conditions on the Pao race course as typical; “The wind is incredibly shifty and if you get it wrong you get a bit punished and it’s very hard to sail back through the fleet.”
“Things can change, there is four more days of racing and get rid of one of those and start again.”
Junior will be back on the water tomorrow for Finn races three and four.
Tomorrow both 470 fleets get started which means Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie open their Rio campaign, as do men’s crew Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox.
The first of the new Olympic sailing classes, the mixed gender multihull Nacra 17, gets underway tomorrow too featuring kiwis Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders.
NZL Sailing Team current standings
3rdSam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6)
21stJosh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD)


Sam Meech has opened his first Olympic regatta sailing two races today on Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro to lie 6th overall in the Laser event.
“It’s fair to say I was pretty nervous before the first start, but as soon as the start gun goes its business as usual,” said the 25-year old who represents the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club.

“I had fantastic starts, which was great because that was my aim for the day.”
Meech is competing in the largest fleet of all ten Olympic events featuring 46 sailors (from 46 nations) going up against the likes of local legend Robert Scheldt, and Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, winner of the past two Laser World Championships.

In race one Meech came home in 19th place, and reported that the conditions on the Naval course were challenging in places; “We had good breeze, but it was really tricky. The outer loop of our course was insane, it was between 5 and 15 knots and it was really tricky to tell what was going to happen next.”

In his second race Meech took 3rd place lifting him up to hold 6th in the overall standings with 22 points at the end of the first day of competition. Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia and Julio Alsogaray of Argentina top the leader board both on six points.

Meech returns to the race track tomorrow for two more races and will compete over the coming week building towards the Laser medal race on Monday 15 August.

Tomorrow the Finn class get underway and another kiwi sailor will make his Olympic debut. Josh Junior, the 26-year-old from Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington, starts racing in the men’s heavy-weight dinghy.

NZL Sailing Team current standings
6th Sam Meech (Laser) (19, 3)
Full results here.


BREAKING NEWS: Tauranga sailor Peter Burling and teammate Blair Tuke will lead the New Zealand team into the Rio Olympics opening ceremony tomorrow. Silver medallists at the 2012 London Olympics and four times 49ers world champions, Peter and Blair were announced to lead the team into the opening ceremony, with Burling nominated as the official flag-bearer.


There is only 1 day to go before the racing starts, first up will be Sam Meech in the Laser Class on Monday 8th Aug with two races scheduled, the Finns start the day after and the Men's and Women's 470 and Nacra 17 (Jason Saunders) all start on Wednesday 10th Aug. Last to start will be the 49ers and 49erFX featuring Peter Burling and Molly Meech, who will start their racing on Friday 12th Aug. See the Fan Guide below for the full schedule.


The NZL Sailing Team Rio 2016 fan guide tells you all you need to know to get behind the Kiwi sailors heading to the Olympic Games, in particular our TYPBC sailors Sam Meech, Molly Meech, Jason Saunders and Peter Burling. The Fan Guide tells you who is sailing and when, the Sky Live coverage and sailor profiles, download it here.


Follow all the action using the links below:
Facebook here
Twitter here
Instagram here
Olympic World Sailing here
Full result here

You can watch the Olympics on Sky and Prime TV.

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