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Olympic Test Event: 'World-class' Josh Armit Makes His Move

Day 6 of the Olympic test event was also moving day for Josh Armit, with the rising Kiwi windfoil star surging seven places up the leaderboard to break into the top 10 courtesy of his first race win of the regatta.

Armit has had a somewhat subdued start in Marseille, but he hit his straps overnight with three top-five results in four slalom races to climb from 14th to seventh in the standings.

According to coach Nathan Handley, some tweaks to Armit’s board setup – and a simple game plan – made all the difference.

“It felt like not much was going right in those early days, and we knew we were a lot better than that. We were probably guilty of not having the right set-up,” Handley explained.

“That was the game plan today, to just go for it. He had nothing to lose, obviously, with where he was at overall coming into today – and Josh just went out and went for it.

“His confidence was back up, we felt like we had the board set up a lot better and he came away with some great results.”

Armit, who narrowly missed out on the podium at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Spain in April and impressed at the European championships in Greece in May, also locked in scores of 5, 2 and 7 either side of his "bullet" to be firmly in contention for finals racing.

While there is still daylight between him and the top-three competitors in the fleet, the format of the medal series in the class means any of the top 10 have a realistic chance of claiming silverware.

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With seven fleet races left, Handley is confident the 21-year-old Aucklander can make up more ground.

“Josh showed today that he is world-class and that [result] keeps him in the hunt.

“There’s a long way to go - there are a lot of races with this particular class, up to 20 – and it will be another big day tomorrow.”

In the women’s event, Veerle ten Have retained her spot in third with four top-10 results.

She trails Sharon Kantor by 17 points, with Brit Emma Wilson 16 points clear of the Israeli.

Also moving up the qualifying rankings - by two places to third - was George Gautrey in the ILCA 7.

Gautrey saved the best for last by winning the 10th and final fleet race to leapfrog both Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Ireland’s Finn Lynch.

The young Wellingtonian rallied from deep in the fleet after a nervous first day of competition and is now breathing down the neck of Olympic champion Matt Wearn in second.

Britain’s Michael Beckett leads, as he has done for much of the week.

"I feel like I’ve been getting back into it a little bit after paying the price for a slow start to the event. The pressure today of the top five all racing each other was pretty cool and pretty exciting to be a part of,” Gautrey said.

He is looking forward to tomorrow’s double-points medal race with nine other competitors.

“That tough first day means this medal race is going to be quite tight but that’s what we’re here for – to test yourself against the best in the world.

“It’s tight between me and Matty, so I’ll see what I can do to get in front of him and then, if it all works out, I’d be silly to not try to go for gold. I’ll take a good punt at it and see where we end up.”

It was a tough day for 49er pair Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie, slipping from first to third overall.

The Kiwis struggled to get off the start line and had to settle for scores of 8, 13 and 8 while Dutch duo Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken had a near-perfect day with back-to-back-to-back race wins.

“It was a pretty brutal day for us. Conditions were stellar - we had 8 to 12 knots sea breeze - but unfortunately, we couldn't quite punch off the start line and it put us back in the mid-pack where we were just fighting all day long,” McKenzie said.

“We're still in the fight though and we’re looking forward to tomorrow, to hopefully move up the leaderboard a little bit more.”

Also in third are Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson, who continued their consistent run of results in the Nacra 17 competition with two top-5s.

They are only five points off second with three fleet races remaining before the medal race.

Justina Kitchen was knocked out of the women’s kitefoil event at the semifinal stage but leaves the regatta satisfied with her overall ninth place and the valuable experience of racing at the same venue where Olympic sailing will take place in just over 12 months.

“I was starting really well but struggled to put together the second half of the race,” Kitchen said of her semifinal showdown.

“There were some great signs though and it was awesome to get some practise in semifinals [racing]. Hopefully, it's good practise for next year. I know exactly what I need to work on for future regattas.”


Results and standings from day 6 of the Olympic test event in Marseille:

49er (29 boats)
1st: Bart Lambriex/Floris Van De Werken (Ned) 5 19 2 (25) 2 3 1 1 1 - 34 points
2nd: Sime Fantela/Mihovil Fantela (Cro) 1 3 (15) 8 13 5 2 12 10 - 54 pts
3rd: Isaac McHardie/William McKenzie (NZ) 14 4 3 5 (20) 1 8 13 8 - 56 pts

49er FX (23 boats)
1st: Odile Van Aanholt/Annette Duetz (Ned) 3 6 3 (21) 1 1 2 6 6 - 28 pts
2nd: Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea (USA) 1 5 (15) 7 3 2 4 5 9 -36 pts
3rd: Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler 13 1 1 1 2 (14) 8 14 2 - 42 pts
17th: Jo Aleh/Molly Meech (NZ) 11 (22) 7 11 20 18 18 3 20 - 108 pts

Nacra 17 (18 boats)
1st: Gianluigi Ugolini/Maria Giubilei (Ita) 22 7 8 1 1 1 (9) 4 1 - 25 pts
2nd: Sinem Kurtbay/Akseli Keskinen (Fin) (7) 2 1 4 6 6 4 3 3 - 29 pts
3rd: Micah Wilkinson/Erica Dawson (NZ) 33 3 7 2 (11) 3 5 7 4 - 34 pts

ILCA 7 (42 boats)
1st: Michael Beckett (GBR) 2 5 2 4 7 1 (14) 5 2 3 - 31pts
2nd: Matt Wearn (Aus)1 7 5 10 5 2 3 1 6 (43RET) - 40 pts 
3rd: George Gautrey (NZ) (15) 9 12 3 1 4 5 3 7 1 - 45 pts

ILCA 6 (38 boats)
1st: Marit Bouwmeester (Ned) 2 2 11 (12) 2 7 2 4 7 1 - 38 pts
2nd: Anne-Marie Rindom (Den) 7 11 9 3 7 4 3 3 12 (19) - 59 pts
3rd: Chiara Benini Floriani (Ita) 1 9 (15) 5 10 2 10 8 13 3 - 61 pts
26th: Olivia Christie (NZ) 36 30 8 18 23 20 25 14 (37) 34 - 208 pts

Men's windfoil (24 boards)
1st: Nicolas Goyard (Fra) (12) 2 1 1 (25DNF) 1 6 1 1 10 1 5 - 30 pts
2nd: Grae Morris (Aus) 9 3 (24) (10) 3 4 1 2 7 2 4 3 - 42 pts
3rd: Nicolo Renna (Ita) 1 1 9 4 (25DNF) 2 3 6 (13) 9 3 4 - 44 pts
7th: Josh Armit (NZ) 8 19 (21) 17 2 (20) 12 7 5 1 2 7 - 100 pts

Women's windfoil (23 boards)
1st: Emma Wilson (GBR) 3 1 1 1 (8) 5 3 1 4 2 1 (8) - 27 pts
2nd: Sharon Kantor (Isr) 5 5 (11) 5 3 1 11 3 1 (15) 6 2 - 43 pts
3rd: Veerle ten Have (NZ) 6 3 5 2 (24DNF) (9) 1 2 9 5 9 9 - 60 pts

Men's kitefoil (20 boards)
1st: Axel Mazella (Fra) 1 (5) 2.2RDG 1 2 2 1 2 2 3 3 (4) 3 3 1 (21DNC) 2 2 1 - 26.2 pts
2nd: Connor Bainbridge (GBR) 2 4 3 (16) 4 3 4 3 1 1 (12) 5 4 4 (7) 2 1 1 3 - 40 pts
3rd: Maximilian Maeder (SGP) (14) 1 (16) 3 3 5 2 1 10 (21DNF) 2 1 1 1 11 1 - 2 1 3 2 - 42 pts
15th: Lukas Walton-Keim (NZ) (17) 14 13 13 (17) 14 14 11 14 6 (17) 16 12 11 8 10 - 156 pts

Women's kitefoil (20 boards)
1st: Lauriane Nolot (Fra) 2 1 (7) 1 1 (4) 1 1 3 1 (7) 1 2 4 2 1 2 1 - 21 pts
2nd: Eleanor Aldridge (GBR) 1 2 (11) 2 4 (9) 3 (6) 1 2 1 3 3 1 1 4 1 3 - 28 pts
3rd: Daniela Moroz (USA) (12) 5 3 3 2 1 (9) 2 4 3 (9) 2 5 2 7 2 2 1 2 - 41 pts
9th: Justina Kitchen (NZ) 6 9 (15) 10 8 7 10 11 (21DNF) (12) 5 6 8 8 10 12 3 5RET 4 -110 pts

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