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Kiwi pair well placed at 470 world champs

Kiwi pair well placed at 470 world champs

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox wanted to see how they stacked up against the rest of the fleet at the 470 world championships in Greece and they are well in contention after the first day of racing.
The pair are competing in their first major regatta since last year's Rio Olympics so were looking forward to measuring themselves against their competitors after a long absence from racing. They registered three good results - third, seventh and sixth - to sit in eighth overall.
The Swedish pair of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom had a near-perfect day with a 1, 2, 1 scorecard sailing in the yellow fleet - the 72 boats are split into two fleets for the first two days of racing before they are seeded - and hold a three-point advantage over Mat Belcher and Will Ryan of Australia and Turkey's Deniz Cinar and Ates Cinar. But there is a considerable logjam at the top of the leaderboard with nine points separating the next 17 crews.
Among them are Snow-Hansen and Willcox who posted three consistent scores on a day when the thermal breeze built from 8-10 knots to 15-16 knots. Crucially, they don't have a big score on their card like some other teams meaning the three results are likely to be bankers as the week progresses - crews can discard their worst score of the week.
"It was a good breeze and good for racing," Willcox said. "We had a consistent day.
"We are placed in the top 10 and placed where we want to be this week. It's a long regatta and we are going to put our best foot forward each day from here. Exciting times ahead and we are looking forward to more racing tomorrow."
Snow-Hansen and Willcox have spent the last couple of weeks in Greece familiarising themselves with the conditions in Thessaloniki under the watchful eye of Nathan Handley who is helping them out as coach for this regatta. Handley is now working with 49erFX Olympic silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech but previously worked with Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie over their last two Olympic campaigns.
Aleh is taking a break from the 470 this year and Powrie has retired from Olympic sailing meaning Snow-Hansen and Willcox, who were second at last year's world championships in Argentina, are the only Kiwis competing this week at the 470 world championships.
Two more qualifying races are scheduled tonight (NZ time) before the fleets are seeded for six final series races before the top-10 medal race on Saturday night.
Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre claimed three wins to lead the women's 470 world championships.
Results after 3 races of the 470 world championships in Thessaloniki, Greece, overnight (NZT)
Men
1. Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 1 (2) 1 - 2 points
2. Mathew Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) (4) 4 1 - 5 pts
3. Deniz Cinar / Ates Cinar (TUR) (11) 2 3 - 5 pts
8. Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 3 (7) 6 - 9 pts
Women
1. Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) (1) 1 1 - 2 pts
2. Tina Mrak / Veronika Macarol (SLO) (3) 1 1 - 2 pts
3. Amy Seabright / Anna Carpenter (GBR) (11) 2 2 - 4 pts
• Pic: Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox were eighth overall after the first day of racing. Photo: Nikos Alevromytis / World Sailing

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