Just when you thought it was safe to take your eyes off the water ... sailing and kayaking will dominate New Zealand's Olympic agenda tonight.

Kayaker Lisa Carrington starts her bid to become the first Kiwi woman to win two golds at the same Games while Sam Meech aims to snare our first sailing medal in Rio.

Carrington hopes to defend the K-1 200-metre crown she won in London four years ago and add the K-1 500-metre title. The 200m heats begin at 12.38am.

The 27-year-old's parents, Glynis and Pat, and two older brothers, Shaun and Brett, flew to Rio over the weekend to join her partner, Michael Buck.

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"As a family we're tremendously proud of the young woman and the dedication she has to be the best she can be," said Glynis Carrington. "We find it all really interesting to watch. It's such a big sport in Europe, bigger than rugby because of the population.

"At events over there she's regarded as a celebrity, people are hunting her down for autographs and mobbing her. It's crazy."

Sprint canoe coach Gordon Walker said Carrington and the other five members of the Kiwi kayaking team will need to be mentally flexible on the fickle waters of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

"You really have to be adaptive and go on your instincts. You can't assume it's going to be perfect water."

Carrington faces a tough challenge from a clutch of paddlers headed by defending Olympic champion Danuta Kozak of Hungary.

She hasn't lost a race in the shorter distance in five years, but Walker says that's no reason to relax.

"It isn't about the rest of the world catching up, it's about her trying to be as good as she can be. It's incremental - she makes lots of small steps, and she is very, very constant."

Meech, competing at his first Olympics, is ranked third heading into the Laser class medal race, contested by the 10 top-ranked sailors in the fleet.

They bring their points tally from the 10 qualifying races into the decider, but the medal race will carry double points.

Meech is on 77 points, with a handy nine-point buffer over the fourth-placed Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz. Robert Scheidt and Nick Thompson are one point back on 87.

The only way the Tauranga sailor can be overtaken by one of the 4th-6th ranked boats is if he finishes five places below one of them in the medal race.

So if Meech finishes in the top five, he is assured the bronze medal.

Meech can't catch Croatian leader Tonci Stipanovic (57 points) but could claim silver if he finishes six spots ahead of second-placed Australian Tom Burton (67). The medal race gets underway at 5.05am.

Still on the water, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke continue their apparently inexorable march towards a medal. They seem set for silver at worst halfway through the 12-race 49er regatta.

In the women's 470, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie will need something special to climb back into medal contention after today's second disqualification.

Back on land, Natasha Hansen takes on Germany's Kristina Vogel in the next knockout round of the women's cycling sprint.

And the women's Black Sticks will be hoping to make up for the heartbreak suffered by the men in today's agonising 3-2 loss to Germany when they take on Australia in the quarter-finals at 1am.

Kayak: Women's K1 200m heats, semifinal (if qualified) - Lisa Carrington, 12.38am
Cycling: Track - Women's sprint 1/8 finals - Natasha Hansen v Kristina Vogel (Germany), 1am
Hockey: Women's quarter-final - NZ v Australia, 1am
Kayak: Men's K1 1000m heats, semifinal (if qualified) - Marty McDowell, 1.06am
Cycling: Track - Men's Omnium - 1km time trial 1.21am, 250m time trial 7am, 40km points race 8.23am - Dylan Kennett
Cycling: Track - Women's Omnium - 10km scratch race 1.59am, 3km individual pursuit 7.30am, elimination race 9.17am - Racquel Sheath, Lauren Ellis.
Sailing: Men's 49er - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Race 7 4.05am, Race 8 5.05am, Race 9 6.05am.
Sailing: Men's 470 - Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox, Race 9 4.05am, Race 10, 5.30am
Sailing: Women's 49er FX - Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, Race 7, 4.05am, Race 8 5.05am, Race 9 6.05am.
Sailing: Women's 470 - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, Race 8 4.05am, Race 9 4.15am, Race 10, 5.40am
Sailing: Laser men's medal race - Sam Meech, 5.05am - medal chance