Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Burling and Tuke win another top yachting award

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WORLD CHAMPIONS: Peter Burling, left, and Blair Tuke have won the major Yachting New Zealand award for the fourth consecutive year. PHOTO/photosport
WORLD CHAMPIONS: Peter Burling, left, and Blair Tuke have won the major Yachting New Zealand award for the fourth consecutive year. PHOTO/photosport

The accolades just keep coming for Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The Olympic gold medallists, Team New Zealand crew and World Sailors of the Year winners picked up the highest honour in New Zealand yachting for a record fourth consecutive year.

Burling (Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club) and Tuke (Kerikeri Cruising Club) stamped their mark even deeper in New Zealand's sailing history books with the acclaimed 49er skiff duo named the winners of the 2016 HRG Sailor of the Year at the Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards on Friday night.

There really was no other contenders to match the two hugely popular sailors following a dominant Olympic campaign which culminated in Rio gold this year.

Burling and Tuke made history last year when they won the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy for the third time - a feat no other individual or crew had ever achieved since it was first awarded in 1963.

Now they have pushed that record just a little further out of reach, with their names to be engraved on the historic trophy for the fourth time.

Burling and Tuke delivered a dominant Olympic campaign, culminating in an astonishing regatta at the Rio Olympics to take the gold medal by 43 points, the biggest winning margin across all the classes in Rio.

The New Zealand pair were assured of a medal after 11 races, the gold medal after 12 races and they won the 49er medal race to secure the Olympic victory in impressive style.

In the nomination period they won two 49er World Championships, as well as being unbeaten in all major regattas in the four-year build up to the Olympic Games.

In between they played key roles for Team New Zealand in the America's Cup qualification points series, with Burling helmsman and Tuke a key member of the crew.

There were plenty of other accolades for the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club and its famous alumni of sailors.

The club was awarded the Yachting New Zealand President's Award for outstanding achievements from this club over the past year. The club has fostered the talent of four New Zealand sailing Olympians this year and continues to produce hard working, results-driven sailors.

Medallists and siblings Sam and Molly Meech, Burling and Jason Saunders all grew up together learning to sail down at Sulphur Point.

Yachting New Zealand Performance Awards for 2016 were awarded to Burling and Tuke, Molly and Sam Meech and Saunders

- Bay of Plenty Times

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