Tauranga's Jason Saunders and Aucklander Gemma Jones moved from sixth to fifth in the final double-points race in the Nacra 17 class at the Olympic test event in Rio.

The Nacra 17 medal race was bumped from Sunday's schedule and was the first to hit the medal race course yesterday.

With the crews behind them in the standings unable to catch up on points, Jones and Saunders had nothing to lose, and the Kiwis put it all on the line for the best outcome possible.

Unfortunately, they pushed the limit a little far and, concerned they'd hit the start too early, went back for a penalty turn before charging back through the fleet to cross the line in fourth and end the regatta in fifth overall.


"It was definitely eventful," said Saunders of the medal race. "We started and we thought we were over the start line, so we went back and we were pretty much on the back foot from there, but we fought really well in the race and actually got into second at the last top mark. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite hold it in the last downwind. But it was a good race from us all in all."

"The races that have gone well, and we've got a lot of top threes in our placings over the week, but it's just getting rid of the bad races and we'll be right up there I think."

Saunders said there will be a lot they can take away from the week of racing.

"I think we've learned more about the Rio conditions, you know we really feel like Rio can throw anything at you so you've got to be a pretty complete sailor and have a good set of skills for different conditions. We really like sailing here so we're in a positive mindset going forward for next year."

Jones (21) and Saunders (24) paired up to sail in the mixed multihull class in 2013 when it was announced as the multihull event for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This year they finished fourth at the Nacra 17 world Championships sailed in Arhus, Denmark in July.

Earlier in the weekend, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke took 49er gold in front of a beach crowd at the Olympic sailing venue on Guanabara Bay.

They adopted a conservative game plan in the medal race, covering the only crew with the potential to steal the overall win from them.