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Two NZ Crews in Top 3 in Sailing World Championships

Two New Zealand crews remain in the top three after the second day of the sailing world championships test event in Aarhus overnight (NZ time).

Tom Saunders is in contention in the 62-strong Laser fleet in third and Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are also in third in the Nacra with four more days of racing.

Saunders is one of a handful of New Zealand sailors looking to put pressure on Rio bronze medallist Sam Meech for the Laser spot but is also a training partner of Meech, who recovered from a difficult first day to climb nearly 20 spots on the leaderboard into 15th overnight. Meech recorded a 14th and a fourth at the same time as dropping his black flag from yesterday as his discard.

Saunders was 20th (currently his discard) and second overnight to lie only six points off Australia's Tom Burton in the lead.

"It's been pleasing to get a few consistent results on the board," Saunders said. "Today was a bit tricky - pretty windy with some big shifts which made it quite stressful and hard work on the upwinds, especially with such a big spread in our fleet. But there were some awesome waves downwind if you got it right and you could make some big gains.

"I just need to stay consistent from here and see where the points stand come the last few days."

Meech was left playing catchup after the first day, when he sat in 43rd following a black flag for being over the line in one race, and posted one good result overnight.

"It would be a big ask to get up into podium contention after the first three races," he said. "I would need to be close to the top three in all of the remaining races.

"It's been nice to come and see the venue which will be used for next year's [combined] world championships. I think it's the sort of venue we could get anything. So far we have had it with great racing conditions, even with some stronger winds and big waves, which has been nice."

Aarhus will host next year's combined world championships, when all of the Olympic classes compete.

Jones and Saunders have also been getting a good idea of what they can expect in 12 months' time but their main priority is to get to grips with the new foiling Nacra 17s that will be used at the Tokyo Olympics. The top crews received the new boats last month so it's been a big learning curve for all of the fleet.

Jones and Saunders started the second day in second but slipped one sport after a ninth, eighth and fourth. It's tight at the head of the field with the top five crews all within seven points of each other.

Of the other New Zealand sailors, Susannah Pyatt was 15th in the Laser Radial and Antonio Cozzolino 31st in the men's RS:X fleet.

Results and standings from the sailing world championships test event in Aarhus overnight (NZ time):

Nacra 17 (14 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA) 1 2 1 (15 DNF) 1 6 - 11 points

2nd: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 3 (10) 2 4 7 1 - 17 pts

3rd: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 2 1 3 (9) 8 4 - 18 pts

Laser (62 boats)

1st: Tom Burton (AUS) 3 2 (8) 1 - 6 pts

2nd: Matthew Wearn (AUS) 2 3 3 (3) - 8pts

3rd: Tom Saunders (NZL) 6 4 (20) 2 - 12 pts

15th: Sam Meech (NZL) 19 (63 BFD) 14 4 - 37 pts

Laser Radial (27 boats)

15th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 12 18 (19) 7- 37 pts

RS:X (46 boards)

31st: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) 19 34 27 (39) 25 27 - 132 pts


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