Sailing: Triple gold for NZL team at EUROSAF regatta

New Zealand has sailed away with three gold medals at Vela Garda Trentino - the first of five regattas in the inaugural EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup.

The five day regatta wrapped up overnight in picturesque Lake Garda, Italy where yet another new format for scoring was being trialled.

A strong finish for the kiwi team sees gold medal performances from Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (Women’s 470), Andy Maloney (Laser) and Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (49er).

Furthermore New Zealand’s Nacra 17 crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders had their best regatta yet with a 4th place finish.

For Olympic Champs Aleh and Powrie this regatta marks the opening of their Rio 2016 campaign and they went into the regatta viewing it as a building and learning opportunity. The victory was in a relatively light fleet of just ten boats.

Going into the last day in 2nd position it was all to play for with the scoring format seeing each crew carry forward only their position in the fleet (ie. 2 for Aleh and Powrie) determining that the one race sailed on the final day was more heavily weighted in points than ever before.

Aleh reports; "Sailed a tidy last race to take out the regatta. Was a short and sweet ten minute race and we aced it. Good fun!"

Attendance in the Laser class was an entirely different matter and over 100 international Olympic campaigners have been battling it out on Lake Garda through the week, Andy Maloney the winner benefitting from the Garda scoring when he pulled off a race win today and edged out his rivals.

After the Laser final race, in which only the top six sailors earned a start, the final positions were somewhat turned on their head Andy Maloney lifting himself from 5th place to the top of the podium while previous leader Tom Burton of Australia ended the regatta in 5th overall.

In the 49er skiff event the top eight placed boats headed out for three short sharp ‘stadium style’ races today to determine the podium places, the kiwis once again winning the day and taking gold.

Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski were 4th, 2nd and 2nd in racing today, adding those points to their carry forward score of 3 because they were lying 3rd at the start of the day. It was enough to secure them the victory in the 24 boat fleet with a three point margin.

The Nacra 17 is new to Olympic competition set to debut as the mixed multihull class in 2016 and New Zealand’s pair of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders has had a solid week in Garda to finish 4th overall. The result bodes well for the future and Jones and Saunders proving they’re a crew to watch.

The next regatta in the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup is just over one week away; Delta Lloyd Regatta runs from 21-25 May, in the Netherlands.