NZ men's 470 crew start well in sailing

21:43, Aug 02 2012
Jason Saunders and Paul Snow-Hansen
STRONG SHOWING: New Zealand's Jason Saunders and Paul Snow-Hansen finsihed fifth in the men's 470 sailing class at the London Olympics.

The young New Zealand men's 470 crew have made a good start to their Olympic sailing regatta to be fourth overall, one point off third, after the first two races at Weymouth today.

Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders slowly got into their work, following an eighth in the opening race with a third to be handily placed.

With 11 points, they're one behind Sweden and eight behind the leaders, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell of Britain, who had a win and a second.

"I was expecting more nerves but we had a nice start so that relaxes you into it a bit," Snow-Hansen said. "Our regatta is ten races long, so it's just about being ranked up there."

The news was not as good for the 49er crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who dropped a spot to third overall.

They were ninth and 11th, the latter becoming a discard score, as the British duo of Stephen Morrison and Ben Rhodes won both races to leapfrog them into second after eight of 15 races. The multiple world champion Australian pair Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen maintained a handy lead despite also struggling today.


"We just didn't quite get it right like we did the last couple days and I think some of the other guys did quite well, but we're still all good," Tuke said.

Finn sailor Dan Slater (sixth and 15th) and the Star class crew of Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner (10th and eighth) couldn't make up ground and appear to be fighting for the minor placings.

Slater is eighth and the Star yachties seventh but there are just two races remaining before the medal race and in both cases the gap to the top three is sizeable.

JP Tobin had a pair of eighths to maintain sixth place overall in the men's RS:X, but he's now 11 points off third place with four races left until they sail for silverware. Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberghe continues to set a strong pace.

The women's match racing trio of Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt suffered losses to France and Finland to drop to a four-win, six-loss record, which puts them eighth of the 12 teams.

It was a lay day for the men's Laser class, in which Andrew Murdoch sits eighth, and the women's Laser Radial, in which Sara Winther is 27th, both fleets having completed six races.

Racing continues tomorrow with the exception of the women's match racing crew and Tobin in the men's RS:X, who have a rest day.

Medal hopes Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie get their regatta under way in the women's 470, the last of the 10 Olympic classes to hit the Weymouth waters.

Fairfax Media