11 Aug 2016

Late disqualification rattles NZ crew

1:40 pm on 11 August 2016

A blow has been dealt to sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie's medal hopes after a late disqualification saw them fall from second to 10th overall after the opening day in the 470 event.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie on Guanabara bay, 2015.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie on Guanabara bay, 2015. Photo: Yachting NZ

The pair scored a sixth and a win to initially sit second overall, but a protest decision scrubbed their sixth finish from the books.

Austria protested the New Zealand crew over a port starboard (right of way) incident which occurred soon after the start of the race.

Their coach, Nathan Handley, said the girls were "gutted" about the decision.

"The girls truly thought they did not infringe," he said.

"However, they sailed very well today and will take that knowledge with them into day two of competition. There is a lot more racing to come yet."

Aleh previously said she enjoyed the wet and windy conditions.

"We like that sort of tricky racing, it should have been a better day really because in the first race we had a bit of a stuff up but it was nice to finish off with a good race and know that we can put it all together," she said.

Their male counterparts, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox, are third overall after a second and a tenth place finishes in today's two races.

"We've trained here for years actually and we've never had it like this," said Snow-Hansen.

"You had to have your eyes out the boat, there were crazy rain showers coming through the course - a few snakes and ladders - so we took a bit of a hit now and then, but also gained so we'll take that for the first day."

Sam Meech has slipped to seventh in the Laser after recording a 14th and 17th today.

He said it was a day of struggles.

"Yesterday was really good - I felt like I got good starts and executed my plan, but today was disappointing," he said.

"It was the kind of conditions where I felt like I could go really well and I just didn't get it right."

The Nacra 17 crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders scored a ninth and a 15th to be 13th overall.

Finn sailor Josh Junior is 20th after four races in his class.