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Sailing World Champs: First NZ Medal On Dramatic Day Of Racing

George Gautrey hopes establishing the colour of New Zealand’s only medal at the Sailing World Championships early tomorrow morning will be far more straightforward than it was winning it.

The 25-year-old ILCA 7 (Laser) sailor secured the country’s first podium spot in The Hague overnight (NZ time) on a dramatic final day of gold-fleet racing.

Starting in third overall - and looking for low scores in both remaining qualifying races - Gautrey was forced to watch helplessly from the side of the racecourse after being disqualified for a false start in the first race.

“Picking up a black flag [disqualification] was obviously a bit disappointing, but in the gold fleet you have to push the envelope, and I just got caught,” Gautrey said.

“At the time I was a bit gutted, I had my fingers crossed as they were going around, but I was still quite confident in the fact that I had a decent drop and still had one more race to get myself back into it.

“That's what you come here for, to feel that pressure and feel the weight of it all.”

Gautrey's consistently low scoring all week - his highest before the BFD was a 26 – and some good fortune kept him in medal contention heading into the final race.

A simple strategy was briefly discussed with coach Mark Howard.

“We spoke before the start about just getting a clean race. It’s been far too easy this event to have messy races – with a 70-boat fleet.

“I got a decent enough start, tacked onto port, and I could see the two guys I knew I needed to beat, Pavlos [Kontides] and Jean Baptiste [Bernaz]. Pavlos was all the way on the right and Jean Baptiste just on my hip.”

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Gautrey crossed the finish line in ninth with Cypriot Kontides in 21st and France’s Bernaz in 20th.

An hour after seemingly having his podium hopes dashed, Gautrey was guaranteed his second international silverware of the season – and his first at a world champs since a surprise bronze at the 2019 Laser event.

What's more, overnight leader Michael Beckett ended up near the back of the fleet in 66th in the second race, allowing the New Zealander to move into second overall.

“I’m pretty happy to have a medal locked up before the medal race. It's not a position I've been in before,” Gautrey said.

“It’s been a super long week, super tough. It's been quite hard to stay in it, but I've enjoyed it.”

Reigning Olympic champion Matt Wearn, on 71 points, is assured of gold with tomorrow's double-points medal race effectively a shootout for silver between Gautrey and Beckett.

Meanwhile, Tom Saunders narrowly missed out on a spot in the 10-boat finale after dropping one position to 11th with scores of 32 and 17.

The Kiwis’ final positions are enough, however, to ensure New Zealand will be represented in the class at next year's Olympic Games – with Gautrey and Saunders battling it out for the sole place on the start line over the coming months.

While the day ended on a high for Gautrey, teammate Josh Armit suffered heartbreak in his windfoil quarterfinal.

Needing a top-two finish to advance to the semifinal - and keep his medal chances alive - Armit was forced to do a penalty turn following an on-water decision that could have gone either way.

"Josh got a penalty turn after a port-starboard [right of way decision] coming into the gate with the Israelis,” coach Nathan Handley explained.

“Obviously, you never think you're in the wrong, but I thought it was a very marginal call. Josh had to do a turn and that was pretty much race over for him.”

Armit finished fourth in the quarterfinal and seventh overall.

Though disappointed to be eliminated, the 21-year-old has this season established himself as one of the leading male contenders in the class - with top-ten results at the Princess Sofia Regatta in April, the European championships in May, and last month’s Olympic test event in Marseille.

NOTE: You can watch a live-stream of Gautrey's medal race from 12.08am (NZ time) by clicking here or follow it on the live tracker by clicking here.

Results and standings from day 9 at the 2023 Sailing World Championships in The Hague.

49er (83 boats) 
1st: Bart Lambriex/Floris Van De Werken (Ned) 1 4 5 2 1 1 3 5 2 10 (13) 6 1 1 3 18 - 63 points
2nd: Sebastien Schneiter/Arno De Planta (Sui) 3 4 3 9 7 5 2 1 6 (25) 9 4 12 5 5 16 - 91 pts
3rd: Diego Botin/Florian Trittel (Esp) 1 1 5 3 8RDG 2.8RDG 1 1 2 8 12 7 4 (26BFD) 16 20 - 91.8 pts
4th: Isaac McHardie/Will McKenzie (NZ) 2 (15) 8 7 2 6 6 6 4 2 7 10 (26RET) 9 13 2 - 99 pts
23rd: Logan Dunning Beck/Oscar Gunn (NZ) 2 (29UFD) 12 10 2 1 4 17 3 20 14 20 14 19 22 - 160 pts
41st: Campbell Stanton/William Shapland (NZ) 16 5 (26) 16 10 20 22 14 13 18 2 14 13 16 14 - 193 pts
81st: Sam Bacon/Cailen Rochford (NZ) 12 29UFD 18 16 15 7 29DNC 29DNC 29DNC (30DNC) 30DNC 30 DNC 30DNC 30DNC - 304 pts

49erFX (59 boats)
1st: Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler (Swe) 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 2 3 19 (26BFD) 1 9 - 48 pts
2nd: Odile Van Aanholt/Annette Duetz (Ned) 3 10 7 1 10 (30DSQ) 1 1 8 7 11 9 2 2 12 - 84 pts
3rd: Olivia Price/Evie Haseldine (Aus) 1 4 2 3 2 5 3 10 9 3 12 (23) 4 10 20 - 88 pts
6th: Jo Aleh/Molly Meech (NZ) 4 7 3 13 5 2 12 1 10 15 10 11 6 (18) 7 - 106 pts
49th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith/Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZ) 21 14 25 24 23 22 23 28 22 23 24 19 25 (30) - 293 pts

Nacra 17 mixed (49 boats)
1st: Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti (Ita) 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 9 (12) 5 1 1 3 2 - 31 pts
2nd: John Gimson/Anna Burnet (GBR) 3 2 2 3 3 1 3 5 5 1 (20) 4 3 6 4 12 - 57 pts
3rd: Emil Jarudd/Hanna Jonsson (Swe) 2 7 3 4 6 4 6 1 (17) 2 7 1 7 5 7 4 - 66 pts
8th: Micah Wilkinson/Erica Dawson (NZ) 5 (26UFD) 7 3 2 5 3 4 4 7 6 11 8 10 2 16 - 93 pts

470 mixed (64 boats)
1st: Keiju Okada/Miho Yoshioka (Jpn) 1 4 1 6 3 2 5 1 (24) 3 14 10 - 50 pts
2nd: Jordi Xammar Hernandez/Nora Brugman Cabot (Esp) 7 13 4 4 15 5 (20) 4 3 8 15 8 - 86 pts
3rd: Tetsuya Isozaki/Yurie Seki (Jpn) 6 8 12 1 2 11 6 13 14 (21) 12 6 - 91 pts
53rd: Derek Scott/Rebecca Hume (NZ) 27 28 27 21 23 17 7 6 (32UFD) 14 22 - 192 pts
57th: Brittany Wornall/Sam Street (NZ) 29 24 12 19 26 (32UFD) 32RET 30 22 7 24 - 225 pts
60th: Annabelle Rennie-Younger/Blake McGlashan (NZ) 26 32 (33RET) 25 24 12 24 31 15 13 27 - 229 pts

ILCA 7 (138 boats)
1st: Matt Wearn (Aus) 11 11 6 5 1 3 2 7 25 (65) - 71 pts
2nd: George Gautrey (NZ) 15 16 3 4 16 1 1 26 (70BFD) 9 - 91 pts
3rd: Michael Beckett (GBR) 3 1 3 2 (70BFD) 2 5 8 2 66 - 92 pts
11th: Tom Saunders (NZ) 10 13 21 3 17 30 7 (34) 32 17 - 150 pts
89th: Luke Deegan (NZ) 43 23 (50) 30 7 34 25 45 15 28 - 250 pts
101st: Caleb Armit (NZ) 39 (56) 51 22 36STP 35 43 37 28 19 - 310 pts

ILCA 6 (109 boats)
1st: Maud Jayet (Sui) 21 15 (43) 1 1 2 2 7 3 13 - 65 pts
2nd: Anne-Marie Rindom (Den) 2 12 8 3 9 (24) 19 5 10 1 - 69 pts
3rd: Maria Erdi (Hun) 5 1 3 7 17 4 22 6 (49) 4 - 69 pts
71st: Olivia Christie (NZ) 19 43 17 (55) 14 29 22 10 17 24 - 195 pts 
84th: Greta Pilkington (NZ) 23 45 30 14 22 36 32 11 (56UFD) 41 - 254 pts

Men's windfoil (93 boards)
1st: Luuc Van Opzeeland (Ned) 1 5 1 3 (6) 1 3 (21) 5 2 (12) 6 9 4 1 1 - 40 pts
2nd: Sebastian Kordel (Ger) 9.3RDG 3 1 1 4 (31) (27) 1 1 3 6 3 (19) 7 2 2 - 39.3 pts
3rd: Nicolo Renna (Ita) (15) 3 3 5 (9) 5 1 1 1 1 (11) 4 3 1 3 - 28 pts
7th: Josh Armit (NZ) 7 (19) 9 (31) 6 9 7 3 3 16 (17) 2 17 10 4 - 89 pts
34th: Eli Liefting (NZ) (51BFD) 11 (27) 15 17 19 21 9 13 27 (38) 23 27 30 - 212 pts
35th: Thomas Crook (NZ) 15 9 21 (51BFD) 18 22.7RDG (35) 17 11 28 (45) 39 12 20 - 212.7 pts
59th: Patrick Haybittle (NZ) (51BFD) 15 (39) 33 31 39 31 23 23 3 1 5 6 (21) - 210 pts

Women's windfoil (88 boards)
1st: Shahar Tibi (Isr) 3 (10) 1 8 5 3 (11) 1 1 (15) 4 5 6 1 1 1 - 38 pts
2nd: Katy Spychakov (Isr) 5 2 5 3 (19) 5 (47BFD) 1 7 (28) 7 2 1 2 2 2 - 40 pts
3rd: Emma Wilson (GBR) 4 3 2 1 2 (7) (7) 1 3 (10) 1 1 3 6 3 - 27 pts
22nd: Veerle ten Have (NZ) (25) 18 10 17 8 9 (47BFD) 9 11 21 13 4 26 (37) - 146 pts
66th: Aimee Bright (NZ) 25 25 22 (38) 16 29 15 (39) 33 (36) 22 34 29 14 - 264 pts
82nd: Stella Bilger (NZ) 30 (40) 36 33 (39) 39 33 35 37 (39) 38 24 35 36 - 376 pts

Men's kitefoil (84 boards)
1st: Maximilian Maeder (SGP) 11 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 4 (8) 2 (9) 3 (7) 2 - 23 pts
2nd: Toni Vodisek (Slo) 1 1 1 3 (4) 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 (11) 4 (17) 3 - 22 pts
3rd: Axel Mazella (Fra) (16) 1 1 4 2 3 2 1 2 2 14 4 (19) 7 4 (20) - 47 pts
28th: Lukas Walton-Keim (NZ) 9 5 7 (15) 4 10 12 10 (29DNF) (13) 13 11 6 10 2 - 99 pts

Women's kitefoil (53 boards)
1st: Lauriane Nolot (Fra) (7) 1 1 2 (28DNC) 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 (4) 4 1 1 - 18 pts
2nd: Eleanor Aldridge (GBR) (13) (28DNF) 2 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 3 2 2 3 (7) - 24 pts
3rd: Lily Young (GBR) (28DNF) 2 2 1 2 (28DSQ) 2 3 (28UFD) 6 2 4 9 9 5 2 - 49 pts
24th: Justina Kitchen (NZ) 4 11 (28RET) 10 8 14 8 9 (17) 7 9 11 20 (21) 20 21 - 152 pts

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