London now looms large for busy Kiwi sailors

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 12:30 21/05/2012

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New Zealand's Olympic class sailors have finished Mad May with two medals from seven world championships but plenty of work remains ahead of the London Olympics.

The flurry of world championships in May for the Kiwis ended overnight (NZT) when Sara Winther finished 34th at the Laser Radial world championship off Boltenhagen, Germany.

Winther was 10th at last year's worlds in Perth, a result that confirmed her spot on the Olympic team, but she was unable to recover from back-to-back black flag disqualifications (for being over the start line inside the last minute before the gun) on the first day of the finals series, which saw her drop from 13th to 34th.

Consistency was the key in predominantly windy and shifty weather and though she had several top-10s acrioss the 12 races, including two seconds and a third, there were too many high numbers for her to be in contention. Lithuanian Gintare Sheidt claimed top spot in the 130-strong fleet.

Like most of the New Zealand team, Winther will enjoy a short break before the Sail for Gold World Cup regatta at the Olympic venue off Weymouth.

New Zealanders have won three minor medals at world championships this year; windsurfer JP Tobin won bronze in March, as did Laser exponent Andy Maloney earlier this month, while Peter Burling and Blair Tuke took silver in the 49er class last week.

Also inside the top 10 and within striking distance of medals were the women's 470 team of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, who finished fourth overall after being in medal contention throughout the regatta, while the Star crew of Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner finished seventh and qualified for the Olympics.

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