Kiwis up their game on second day of racing

SUZANNE MCFADDEN - BOATING NZ
Last updated 10:16 31/07/2012
Finn
www.london2012.com
New Zealand sailors have found their form on the second day of racing, with most looking good to progress to the medal round of competition.

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Dan Slater's win in Weymouth overnight has not only helped his Olympic medal chances, but played a part in the biggest upset in yachting so far.

The 36-year-old Kiwi convincingly won the third race in the Finn class, and is now sixth overall.  But the headline news in the Finns is the dominance of unheralded Danish sailor Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, and the struggle of three-time Olympic gold medallist and hometown hero Ben Ainslie.

Hoegh-Christensen, a concert promoter in his day job, has been consistently strong in the Finn fleet - with two wins, a second and seventh.  He holds an eight-point lead over Jonathan Lobert of France and America's Cup skipper Ainslie back in third.

A frustrated Ainslie joked that Hoegh-Christensen must be on "a hotline to Paul Elvstrom" - the legendary Danish sailor who won four straight golds from 1948 to 1960.

In the meantime, Slater is happy with his second day performance, beating Hoegh-Christensen by 30 seconds in race three.

"It was nice to get away out of the blocks and be able to sail my own race where as yesterday I got sort of got trapped at the start and forced to do things," he said. Slater was sixth in his second race of the day.

There was a star turn from another Kiwi crew today, with Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner recovering from a disappointing opening day to win their third race in the Star class.  They stole the lead off the Norwegians on the final leg, to win by 10 seconds.

"We sailed well, were going fast and got a few nice lanes and good starts; we were up there and sailed well down wind," Pepper said.

"It's the Olympics, it's so tight. You see it on the race course, everybody rounds the top mark within 20 seconds and it's all on down the run. There are 16 guys out here that can win a race and they're all very, very good, so we know it's going to be a tough regatta and just got to keep chipping away."

Pepper and Turner were 12th in their second race of the day to be ranked 10th overall.

The women's matchracing crew mirrored their first day, with another win and a loss, as they approach the halfway point of their round robin.

The 49er crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke began their Olympic campaign with a little too much enthusiasm, having to turn back after crossing the start-line early, but managed to recover to ninth in their opening race.  A seventh in the second race now has them in eighth place overall.

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Andrew Murdoch is ninth in the Laser class, while Laser Radial sailor Sara Winther struggled on her first day and is in 27th.

New Zealand Standings - Day 2

6th: Dan Slater (Finn) - 7, 12, 1, 6

8th : Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (49er) - 9, 7

9th: Andrew Murdoch (Laser) - 12, 8  

10th: Hamish Pepper & Jim Turner (Star) - 15, 7, 1, 13

27th: Sara Winther (Laser Radial) - 31, 23

Women's Match Racing: Round Robin - Two wins, two losses

- Boating NZ

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