Sailing: Duo win regatta ahead of Rio

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Peter Burling and Blair Tuke celebrate yet another win in the 49er class.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke celebrate yet another win in the 49er class.

Tauranga's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from Kerikeri have recorded yet another regatta victory to their mounting tally with a win in the 49er class at Kiel Week 2016 in Germany.

Going into yesterday's medal race, the Kiwis had a 26-point lead, rendering them unassailable, and they went on to take their 27th straight regatta win.

"It's obviously nice to take another victory in some pretty challenging conditions here in Kiel, but for us, it's our last big event before Rio, so it's really pleasing to take the win," Burling said.

Not everyone they'll face this August in Rio was racing, but a strong fleet totalling close to 40 boats battled it out over 14 races. Burling and Tuke won six of those races.

Asked whether there is any room for improvement left in the final build-up to Rio, Tuke said: "We'll take some learnings out of this week.

"We had a really challenging week - it was nice today that we finally got some good breeze with flat water offshore, but predominantly it's been quite light and tricky, just like we're going to see in Rio.

"So we're happy we came here; it's been some great practice."

Burling said no regatta victory came easily.

"It's really challenging every time we win and that's why we race the 49er - you know if you get it wrong, you get bad results.

"We made it tough for ourselves getting an OCS [on course side] early on in the week.

"We're really happy to bounce back from that and make it a good event."

Tuke said that while they would celebrate this win, they remained focused on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"We'll enjoy it. Hamish (Willcox), our coach, is here.

"It's onwards and upwards towards Rio for us, but now we will celebrate this.

"It's always good to take a regatta win and it's been a great week here in Kiel.

"We've enjoyed our time; great hospitality and it's another stepping stone for us looking forwards towards Rio."

Burling and Tuke are part of a 12-strong team of New Zealand sailors who are now in the final countdown to Rio 2016.

Tauranga's Laser rep, Sam Meech, will be the first of the New Zealand Olympic sailors to start racing on August 8.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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