Alex Maloney and Molly Meech made their move on the second day of the World Cup regatta in Hyeres, posting two wins from three races to jump into second overall in the 49erFX.
The Olympic silver medallists started the day in 15th but crucially found some clear air off the back of some better starts to get themselves back into contention.
Norway’s Helene Naess and Marie Rønningen hold a handy nine-point advantage over Maloney and Meech but it’s still early in the regatta.
A number of other New Zealand crews are well placed, with Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox third in the men’s 470, Sam Meech fourth in the Laser and Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders fifth in the Nacra 17.
Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn had their struggles on day two but are fifth in the 49er and all three New Zealand Laser sailors are in the top nine in the 69-boat fleet.
Maloney and Meech set the tone for the day by winning the first race sailed in light winds.
"It was a good day for us and overall we’re happy with how it played out," says Maloney.
"We had better starts than yesterday which was a massive work-on and makes this game a lot easier.
"It’s always a good feeling getting a few race wins so we will aim to get a few more but it’s more important to be consistent, especially in a 40-boat fleet with close racing."
It’s tight at the top of the men’s 470 fleet, with only three points separating Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi from Japan in first and Snow-Hansen and Willcox in third.
The Kiwi crew, who raced with a poppy on their sail to mark Anzac Day, had a long day and sailed only one race - they placed fifth - before race management called time.
"We share our race course with the Finns, who were delayed due to a lack of wind in the morning," says Willcox.
"We finally got racing around 5pm and only had enough time for one race.
"The breeze was light and fickle and it was tricky tactically. We are happy with the way we are sailing and confident in our boat speed. It has been a high-scoring regatta so we are happy to have three keepers on our scorecard. We are looking to keep the good times rolling."
Sam Meech did that in the Laser.
The Olympic bronze medallist is one of the most consistent sailors in the highly-competitive Laser fleet - he collected silver at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma a fortnight ago - and won the first of two races overnight (NZ time) to move up to fourth overall.
Tom Saunders is also well placed in seventh, especially as his discard is a 14th at the moment, and Andrew McKenize is ninth after placing 12th and 24th in the two races.
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders didn’t have the best start to the day when they received a black flag disqualification for being over the start line in the first race but backed it up with two top-10 results to move up to fifth overall.
"Unfortunately we got caught out with a black flag so we ended up watching the first race and saving our energy," says Saunders.
"We ended up having a good second race - when we were third - and made a good comeback in the third race - to finish eighth.
"We were actually pretty happy with how we sailed today. We had reasonable speed and went the right way on the course. These conditions don’t usually suit us too much so we are pretty happy with how we are sailing in light winds now and feeling comfortable."
It’s something Jones and Saunders look like they will get plenty of practice in for most of the remainder of the regatta with light winds forecast.
Results after the second day of the World Cup regatta in Hyeres, France, overnight (NZ time):
Men’s 470 (40 boats)
1st: Tetsuya Isozaki / Akira Takayanagi (JPN) (13) 1 2 - 3 points 2nd: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergström (SWE) 3 (4) 1 - 4 pts 3rd: Paul Snow-Hansen / Daniel Willcox (NZL) 1 (11) 5 - 6 pts
Women’s 470 (36 boats)
1st: Noya Bar-Am / Nina Amir (ISR) 2 (21) 1 - 3 pts 2nd: Mengxi Wei / Haiyan Gao (CHN) 6 1 (16) - 7 pts 3rd: Silvia Mas Depares / Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP) 7 (9) 2 - 9 pts
14th: Courtney Reynolds-Smith / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) (24) 14 6 - 20 pts
49er (40 boats)
1st: Dominik Buksak / Szymon Wierzbicki (POL) 3 5 1 (19) 8 - 17 pts 2nd: David Gilmour / Joel Turner (AUS) 2 2 (27) 1 13 - 18 pts 3rd: Yannick Lefèbvre / Tom Pelsmaekers (BEL) 7 12 4 3 (17) - 26 pts
5th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 4 3 6 (32) 22 - 35 pts 11th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 19 (34) 5 18 5 - 47 pts
49erFX (39 boats)
1st: Helene Naess / Marie Rønningen (NOR) 4 3 3 5 (13) - 15 pts 2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 8 (31) 1 14 1 - 24 pts 3rd: Klara Wester / Rebecca Netzler (SWE) 10 2 4 8 (31) - 24 pts
Finn (40 boats)
1st: Jonathan Lobert (FRA) 2 3 (41 DNF) 2 - 7 pts 2nd: Nicholas Heiner (NED) 1 (11) 1 9 - 11 pts 3rd: Jorge Zarif (BRA) 5 1 6 (10) - 12 pts
12th: Andy Maloney (NZL) 8 (14) 14 12 - 34 pts 13th: Josh Junior (NZL) 16 9 9 (21) - 34 pts
Laser (69 boats)
1st: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 1 1 7 (27) - 9 pts 2nd: Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) (18) 2 9 3 - 14 pts 3rd: Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 2 5 (26) 7 - 14 pts
4th: Sam Meech (NZL) 7 (20) 1 9 - 17 pts 7th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 12 4 (14) 8 - 24 pts 9th: Andrew McKenzie (NZL) 22 7 12 (24) - 41 pts
Laser Radial (64 boats)
1st: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 4 2 (19) 2 - 8 pts 2nd: Paige Railey (USA) 1 1 7 (32) - 9 pts 3rd: Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU) 7 6 1 (12) - 14 pts
27th: Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 24 (33) 15 27 - 66 pts 47th: Olivia Christie (NZL) (64) 45 35 31 - 111 pts
Nacra 17 (30 boats)
1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA) 2 1 (15) 4 - 7 pts 2nd: Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR) 1 6 (31 UFD) 3 - 10 pts 3rd: Iker Martinez / Olga Maslivets (ESP) 3 (10) 8 1 - 12 pts
5th: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) 10 (31 BFD) 3 8 - 21 pts 13th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) (31 UFD) 19 2 10 - 31 pts
Ful results can be found here