Maloney - Meech - and Wings Fly Way Out in Front!
Diego Botin and Iago Lopez’s (ESP) overnight 14 point lead was shattered by a culmination of bad results and tight performances from their rivals.
John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and Joel Turner and Iain Jensen (AUS) kept things together, remaining at the front of the pack and now share the lead on 42 points. But for Botin and Lopez, a U flag penalty, a tenth and an 18th allowed the British and Australian teams to advance, leaving them one point behind.
Last to arrive back on-shore, last to take their sails down and last out of the boat park, Botin and Lopez looked deflated on the slipway. After their bright start they received a thorough debrief from their coach upon conclusion of the third day. All is not lost. They remain in contention; teachings will be applied and tomorrow is another day.
For Turner and Jensen, their short term partnership, is a one off for Miami with Jensen’s usual helm Nathan Outteridge missing out for personal reasons.
“It’s the first time I’ve sailed the 49er without Nathan for a long time,” said Jensen. “Joel’s doing great and he’s picking some clever shifts out there and we’re doing a lot better than we expected considering we only had three days in the boat together before this.”
Routine, rhythm and reliability are three buzz words for Outteridge and Jensen. The pair sailed together as teenagers, winning the ISAF Youth Worlds, and a partnership in the 49er was inevitable.
Seven years after forming, three 49er world titles and an Olympic gold medal later, Miami is the first time Jensen has been without his formidable helm in the Men’s Skiff, “If you sail with someone for years, like I have with Nathan, you get stuck in your routine. It’s always the same but if you sail with someone else it forces you to problem solve differently and that’s beneficial for when you go back with the other person.
“The roles are still the same with Joel as with Nathan. There are subtleties with the way he [Turner] sails and the way Nathan steers and approaches things. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just the individual style.”
Whilst the partnership is flourishing in Miami, when teased with the question – reckon you’ll stick with Turner? – Jensen replied, “Joel’s doing an awesome job and I think he’ll be a force in the 49er for years to come, he’s 19-years-old and got a bright future but in the next couple of years I might just stick with what I know.”
Outteridge will be flying in on Thursday, ensuring his crew sticks to what he knows and to enjoy the Miami racing from the coach boat.
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In sailing, the odds being in your favour is a treat, and Maloney and Meech have the trick so far in Miami. Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) have opened up a 25 point lead in the 49erFX after completing a wild day 1, sailing splendidly on day 2 and then dealing with everything that was thrown at them on day 3.
The Kiwis were just one of eight teams to complete the single race on the first day and they are reaping the rewards. Their discard is a 21 and they hold a comfortable advantage after nine races.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are second overall on 62 points whilst Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom (NED) sit third on 90 points. Every team on the water today put up a fair sum of points, and in a 40 strong fleet with plenty of sailing left, the regatta is hardly done.
Maloney and Meech certainly won’t be resting on their laurels with six fleet races and Saturday’s Medal Race ahead of them but things are certainly going their way.