Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have landed another big psychological blow on their rivals ahead of the Olympics, taking out their fourth straight world title in Florida today.
The Kiwi pair produced a typically dominant display at the tricky Clearwater venue, securing the title with two races to spare. Not even a hand injury, suffered by Tuke early in the event, was enough to derail the pair who taped up and pushed on.
Going into today Burling and Tuke were 28 points ahead of the pack and this morning they 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 ten 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," Burling said. "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."
Today's win sees Burling and Tuke equal their Australian rival Nathan Outteridge's record of four 49er world titles. Outerridge, the skipper of America's Cup syndicate Artemis, and his partner Iain Jensen, finished fifth in Florida regatta.
Listen: Peter Burling talks to RadioSport.
Perhaps even more impressive is the Kiwi duo's mounting tally of consecutive regatta victories which now reaches 24 straight Olympic 49er class regatta wins. This sort of accomplishment is particularly impressive in a sport where venue, conditions and large fleets make consistency on this level incredibly difficult to achieve.
While prioritising their Olympic campaign towards Rio 2016 both Burling and Tuke compete in a combination of sailing disciplines including their commitments with Emirates Team New Zealand, which seems, for them, to be beneficial in cross crediting knowledge and skill.
"Blair and myself have got a pretty busy schedule coming into the Games and through to August and it's something that we've been putting a lot of thought into. A lot of planning has gone in to how the next six months are going to unfold for us," said Burling.
"We're really looking forward to the challenge and it's going to be good fun."
The women's 49erFX crew of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech finished eighth overall, after struggling with the changeable conditions at the Clearwater venue, which produced strong breeze and big waves early on before throwing in a few light air days.
Spain's Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos took out the world title ahead of Maiken Foght Schutt and Anne-Julie Schutt of Denmark, with Germany's Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz claiming the bronze medal.
In the Nacra 17, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders capped off their regatta with a second place in their last race. Disappointed to miss out on the top ten medal race cut after yesterday, the NZL Sailing Team pair today sailed one race against the remainder of the fleet, and they conclude the regatta in 14th overall.
"We've learnt a lot with equipment here, and we won't make the same mistakes again so I think there is a lot of things we can change to get back to what we think is our best level," said Saunders after yesterday's competition.
Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson, New Zealand's up and coming pair in the Olympic mixed multihull class, were 18th in today's race and wrap up the regatta in 19th overall.
New Zealand's final results
1 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL Sailing Team)
36 Logan Dunning Beck & Jack Simpson (Aon Fast Track Squad)
38 Markus Somerville & Josh Porebski
42 Isaac McHardie & Trent Rippey (Aon Fast Track Squad)
8 Alexandra Maloney & Molly Meech (NZL Sailing Team)
19 Erica Dawson & Ellie Copeland (Aon Fast Track Squad)
14 Gemma Jones & Jason Saunders (NZL Sailing Team)
19 Olivia Mackay & Micah Wilkinson (Aon Fast Track Squad)