Rio 2016: Burling and Tuke win opening two races

By Yachting NZ

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have returned a perfect scorecard on day one of Rio 2016 and take the early lead in the 49er event.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech also got underway today with two solid keeper results in the 49erFX event which makes its debut here in Rio. Mollys brother Sam Meech holds onto 6th place in the Laser.

Things didnt go as well for both kiwi 470 crews, with Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie relinquishing their lead.

Light winds meant postponements across all fleets, and some scheduled races were not completed.

49er

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have opened their Rio 2016 Olympic campaign with two race wins to lead the 49er class after day one for the skiffs.

The New Zealand Olympic Team co-captains looked composed and confident pouncing on a late error from Denmark in race one to take the gun in the first race.

In race two they came through on the second downwind run choosing the faster track to the bottom mark and clearing out on the chasing pack for a convincing 40-second victory.

Two wins places them firmly at the top of the board on two points on a day when some other prominent sailors, including the Australians and the British, struggled.

Light winds today meant the fleet was kept ashore until after 2pm, but Blair Tuke said he didnt mind the delay, "Weve been watching all the other classes race now for a few days so we were really keen to get into it this morning, and we had to wait just a little bit longer but that was okay."

"Finally, when the souwester came it was nice, it was shifty on the close-in course near the beach, but we managed to get a couple of low scores so were really happy with the day."

Burling agreed, saying, "Were really happy to get a couple of low scores on the board and not walk away with anything big and just to get into the series, you know, weve been waiting a long time to get racing, and weve been really enjoying ourselves out there and I think that showed today."

Family and friends of the pair were on the beach. "It was good to have Petes parents there and my whole family - all dressed up and giving us yahoos and stuff it was really cool and we definitely enjoyed the extra bit of support from the kiwis on the beach."

Behind Burling and Tuke on the leader board are Jorge Lima and Jose Costa of Portugal on eight points, while Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel are just one further adrift. The 49er fleet continues racing tomorrow.

49erFX

Predictions for the womens skiff class have been that competition will be extremely tight, and after two races, they certainly are.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech sailed two good races on Olympic debut, returning a 6th in race one and a 5th in race two lying 6th on the leader board, but tied on points with Ireland in 5th, and only two points off the early leaders Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd of Canada.

Molly Meech said, "It was really cool to get out there and start racing today - it was just really fun to get going."

"We had a pretty consistent day, on each beat we were gaining a boat so that was quite nice and getting a feel for it - I think we shook a few of the nerves off a bit today."

"Itll be cool to get back out tomorrow."

Womens 470

After a long wait ashore the womens 470 fleet managed one late race on day three of competition.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have slipped out of the lead and back to 6th position disappointed with a 12th place in todays race however, good results in the days to come could see them improve again.

They hold 18 points and are just behind the French and the USA crews who both have 17 points, with Japan and France just ahead and both on 15 points. The British Sailing Teams Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke take the overall lead on 12 points.

Mens 470

Things didnt go well for Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox in the Mens 470 class today. They also sailed just one race late today finishing near the back of the pack in 23rd and coming ashore in the fading light. They are now lying 13th overall.

Laser

Returning to competition after a rest day Sam Meech and the Laser fleet was sailing on the outer course in the large rolling swells making for challenging racing.

Meech placed 13th in his first (race seven of the regatta) and then improved with a 6th in the second race of the day which sees him holding 6th overall in the largest of the Olympic sailing events.

He will also sail again tomorrow.

Elsewhere

Two New Zealand crews - Josh Junior (Finn) and Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra) were on a scheduled rest day today. They will both be back in action again tomorrow.

NZL Sailing Team current standings

1stPeter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) (1, 1)

4thGemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) (9, 15, 7, 5, 4, 2)

6thAlex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX) (6, 5)

6thJo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Womens 470) (21DSQ, 1, 4, 1, 12)

6thSam Meech (Laser) (19, 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 13, 6)

13thPaul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (Mens 470) (2, 10, 20, 15, 23)

15thJosh Junior (Finn) (18, 24UFD, 14, 14, 5, 3)

Full results are available on the Rio 2016 website: https://www.rio2016.com/en/schedule-and-results

On tomorrows schedule;

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech - 49erFX - Races 3, 4, 5 & 6

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke - 49er - Races 3, 4, 5 & 6

Sam Meech - Laser - Races 9 & 10

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders - Nacra 17 - 7, 8 & 9

Josh Junior - Finn - Races 7 & 8

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie - W470 - Reserve day

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox - M470 - Reserve day

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand

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