Sailing: Champs from NZ competing

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Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The 49er and 49erFX World Championships starting tomorrow will feature five New Zealand entries including Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

Racing will run over six days in Marseille, France.

With more than 150 entries across the Men's 49er fleet and Women's 49erFX fleet, more than 300 sailors, including 10 New Zealanders, are converging on the French venue. Silver medal specialists Burling and Tuke (2011 and 2012 49er World Championship silver and 2012 Olympic silver) will be looking to go one better this year. Fresh from victory at the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup in San Francisco earlier this month, the pair also won the 49er European Championship title in June at Denmark.

Tuke says: "We have been very careful in making sure that our batteries are recharged after the super busy month in San Francisco, but now it's time to start ramping it up for the regatta."

Organisers have named an experimental format including theatre-style racing on the final day. Tuke says that has little impact on their game plan.

"It doesn't really change what we do. We showed at the European Champs that we perform well under pressure so we get quite excited by the medal races. But we need to make it there first though. We will just give next week our best shot and see what happens ... If we sail well we will be towards the front of the fleet."

Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech are the Kiwi crew to watch in the 52-strong Women's 49erFX fleet. They are currently ranked world number one.

Men's 49er (98 boats): Peter Burling and Blair Tuke; Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski; Ben Goodwin and Sam Bullock.

Women's 49erFX (52 boats): Alex Maloney and Molly Meech; Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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