Sailing: Olympic duo in class of their own

By Stuart Whitaker

Add a comment
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have gone into the record books winning four consecutive Olympic 49er World Championships. Photo / Jesus Renedo
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have gone into the record books winning four consecutive Olympic 49er World Championships. Photo / Jesus Renedo

Peter Burling (Tauranga) and Blair Tuke (Kerikeri) have won their fourth consecutive Olympic 49er World Championship after successfully defending their crown in Clearwater, Florida.

It brings their unprecedented string of regatta victories to 24 straight.

At the same regatta Tauranga's Molly Meech and sailing partner Alex Maloney finished the 2016 World Championships in eighth overall in the 49erFX having at one stage held the lead.

Not even a hand injury, suffered by Tuke early in the event, was enough to derail the pair.

Going into the final day, Burling and Tuke were 28 points ahead of the pack and yesterday used the day's first two gold fleet races to open enough of a points lead to secure the 2016 49er World Championship.

A massive 45 point margin was required to get into this uncommon, unassailable position before sailing the last 25-boat gold fleet race and the final top 10 double points medal race.

They went on to place 12th in the final gold fleet race and then third in the medal race and take the title by 41 points.

"We were really happy to go out there with a pretty healthy lead going into the day, but still a bit of work to do," said Burling. "And we're absolutely stoked to go out there and finish it off with a couple of races to spare. It's always a pretty nice way to do it."

As world sailing has moved towards adding extra weight to the last race of a fleet racing regatta, with the introduction of the medal race, Burling and Tuke defy statistics and deliver the improbable.

"It's been really challenging, a big range of conditions," said Tuke. "We've sailed in up to 20 knots with big waves, and light tricky stuff so it's been a real mix of conditions and we're happy with how we've been going across the board."

Four consecutive 49er World Championship titles is something not seen before and the achievement places Burling and Tuke firmly into the record books.

They now draw equal to Nathan Outteridge's accomplishment of four 49er World titles (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012).

Perhaps even more impressive is their mounting tally of consecutive regatta victories which now reaches 24 straight Olympic 49er class regatta wins including this year's 2016 New Zealand 49er National Championship and now the 2016 49er World Championship.

Being able to perform and finish at the front across all conditions, superior boat handling, tactical brilliance and great teamwork are among their campaign assets which set them apart from their rivals.

The FX women raced three gold fleet races on the regatta's last day with Maloney and Meech placed 11th, 12th and fifth, putting them in seventh overall going into the final medal race. They crossed the line in ninth, eighth overall.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 24 May 2017 08:00:53 Processing Time: 645ms