Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Sailing: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke back to work

Gold medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke back to work at the Team New Zealand base. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Gold medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke back to work at the Team New Zealand base. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Kiwi 49er pairing Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are back at work with Team New Zealand less than two weeks after their gold medal winning exploits in Rio.

The duo, who have spent much of the year on the road gearing up towards the Olympic regatta, re-joined the team earlier this week, with Burling going for his first full sail in the AC50 test boat today.

Burling, who will be at the helm of Team New Zealand's race boat in Bermuda next year, said while it has been an exhausting month for him, he was keen to get on the water as soon as possible to check-in with how things are going with the testing programme.

"It was good to get out and see what the boys have been up to. Before we left for the Games I managed to get on for a 10-minute sail before the breeze died, so this was only my second sail," he said.

"If you had have said when we left that the team would have got this far with the testing we'd be pretty happy. But there's no real benchmark of where you've got to get to, you've just got to get as fast as you can before the Cup."

Burling and Tuke will be back in competition mode next week for the next round of the America's Cup World Series in Toulon.

Tuke admits the turnaround is shorter than he would have liked, but when he took on the challenge of juggling an Olympic campaign with his Team New Zealand commitments, he accepted it would mean a demanding schedule.

The pair missed the last stop on the circuit in Portsmouth as it clashed with their Olympic preparations.

They return to a crew under pressure to deliver in Toulon, after Team New Zealand surrendered their lead in the overall standings with a fourth place finish in Portsmouth.

Tuke said given the re-jigged crew were restricted to just one training session on the water in Portsmouth before racing started, the results were to be expected.

"I think any of the teams if they had have changed around as many of the guys as we did they would have struggled. But I think in the long run it's probably good to change things up, everyone learns each other's roles a bit more and as far as next week is concerned, we just have to do the best we can."

The sailing restrictions in place before the World Series events will also make life tough for Burling and Tuke, with little time for the pair to refamiliarise themselves with the finer points of getting a foiling catamaran around a tight racecourse.

"It has always been hard - every event we've done. A lot of the other guys do training in pretty similar boats, whereas we haven't had much opportunity to do so, so it a real challenge - but we like challenges," said Burling.

Before Burling and Tuke join their Team New Zealand crew-mates on the plane to Europe on Monday, the pair will be honoured with a victory parade in Tauranga - Burling's hometown - on Friday, alongside other local Olympic heroes including Sam and Molly Meech, Mahe Drysdale and Luuka Jones.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 11 Dec 2016 11:34:25 Processing Time: 662ms