Duo rejoin for Harbour regatta


Blair Tuke and Peter Burling will reunite to contest the Oceanbridge Sail Auckland regatta on the Waitemata Harbour next month.

The event, which organisers described as New Zealand's only ISAF Grade 1 Olympic and Paralympic Class regatta, will also provide a launch pad of sorts for the new campaigns of the New Zealand sailing team, particularly those Olympic medallists aiming to do it again at Rio in 2016.

However, since winning silver at the Olympics in July, Tuke and Burling have been racing in different disciplines - Tuke in the Sydney to Hobart aboard Kerikeri boat Rikki, the Tauranga-born Burling training with an America's Cup team and also racing the Moth class [see below] - thus it wasn't confirmed whether the pair will remain together to contest the 49er class at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Also expected to be at Oceanbridge were Olympic gold medallists, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, while another highlight will be seeing the new Olympic women's 49er FX class being raced competitively for the first time in New Zealand, which currently boasts the No1 world ranked 49er FX team of former Kerikeri lass, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech.

Racing was set to take place from approximately 11am to 4.30pm, Saturday to Tuesday, February 2-5, on the Waitemata Harbour in the vicinity of Bean Rock. The event - being hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club at Okahu Bay - will feature all the Olympic and Paralympic class boats, and invited classes: 420, 29er, OK, 12' skiff, Access 303, Access Liberty, Kiteboard racing and more.

In other news, Tuke's 49er partner, Peter Burling cleaned up the 2013 Australian Moth Championships Regatta in New South Wales last week. During the 15 race series staged over six days, Burling dominated by winning 10 of his races and only finishing outside the top six in just one race. He eventually concluded the regatta 14 points clear of second placed Scott Babbage with reigning Moth world champion Joshua McKnight third.

While not a world championship regatta, the fleet in Wangi totalled nearly 70 boats and was an entirely world class one including Australians' Joshua McKnight (2012 Moth World Champion), Tom Slingsby (2012 Olympic Laser Champion), Nathan Outteridge (2012 Olympic 49er Champion helm) and Iain Jensen (2012 Olympic 49er Champion crew).

Burling, a 2012 Olympic silver medallist in the 49er skiff class, has become a strong enthusiast of the exciting foiling Moth class having owned one for a few years, and he successfully combined Moth racing with his 49er campaign during his long-term build up to the 2012 London Games.

The International Moth is an 11-foot long, high performance dinghy sailed single-handed as a fast and exciting hydro-foiling dinghy which appears to fly above the water, and provides spectacular racing and plenty of wipe outs.

The 2013 Moth World Championships are in Hawaii in October.

- Northland Age

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