Aleh and Powrie revel in heavy conditions

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 08:49 08/06/2012

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Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie demonstrated their prowess in strong winds by nailing another two race wins as they moved clear at the front of the women's 470 class at the Sail for Gold World Cup regatta in England.

The Kiwis, who won the final race yesterday, carded another two bullets today to make in three wins on the trot at the Olympic venue in Weymouth, turning their deficit to the French team of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron into a nine-point lead.

The Brazilian pair of Martine Grael and Isabel Swan moved into third while the early leaders, the British world champions Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, dropped to fourth at the Olympic dress rehearsal regatta.

''One more day of really windy racing before medal day, so we're looking forward to it,'' Aleh said after a day's racing that was severely disrupted by the weather. ''We love the windy weather.''

The Kiwi men's 470 pair of Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders could not maintain their tremendous form which saw them win four successive races, finishing third and 10th (their discard result) on the first day of finals racing to drop from the lead to third overall in the 45-strong fleet.

The world champion Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page reclaimed sole possession of the lead with 12 points, three ahead of Brits Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. The Kiwis have 20 points.

Andy Maloney (seventh) and Andrew Murdoch (eighth) both moved into the top 10 in the Laser fleet after strong opening races in the finals series; Maloney with a win and an 11th while Murdoch carded an eighth and fifth.

JP Tobin is also up a further two places to seventh in the men's RS:X following two fourths today. He's just eight points adrift of the bronze medal position.

After a slow start to the regatta, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke continue to creep closer to the medal race. They're 11th in the 49er class, two spots ahead of compatriots Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski.

At this stage, Josh Junior (19th in Finn) and Natalia Kosinska (17th in women's RS:X) will be struggling to make the top 10, something Kosinska desperately needs as she aims to win the last remaining available spot on the New Zealand Olympic team.

The women's match racing crew helmed by Stephanie Hazard came through the repechage group with five wins from six races to qualify for the quarterfinals in seventh spot. She'll face Claire Leroy of France.

There was no racing today for Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner in the Star - they remain 11th - or Sara Winther in the Laser Radial silver fleet. She remains 41st overall.

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Racing has been postponed till midday tomorrow local time due to the weather forecast. As the sailors were leaving the venue today, gusts on the harbour wall reached 53 knots. The regatta concludes on Sunday (NZT).

- Stuff

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