Tauranga sailors are among the best Olympic class sailors in the country, with a strong Tauranga representation in New Zealand's sailing team.
Peter Burling, brother and sister duo Sam and Molly Meech as well as Jason Saunders are all Tauranga sailors who are part of the 11-strong team that is looking forward to representing New Zealand at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Three sailors added to the top-tier of Yachting New Zealand's high performance programme this year include 49er combination Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn as well as Finn sailor Andy Maloney.
Rounding out the team are Finn sailor Josh Junior, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX), Sam Meech (Laser), Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra 17) and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er), who last year announced their intention to defend the gold medal they won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Selection for the NZL Sailing Team is determined by a top-10 result at the year's pinnacle event.
"I think we've got a super strong team. I'm pretty excited," Tauranga's Sam Meech said.
At the end of last year Meech had some health issues, suffering a slipped disc and a meniscus tear within days of each other, contributing to what he describes as a rough start this year.
The knee injury happened just after Christmas and with World Cup Series regatta in Miami, held between January 27 and February 2, fast approaching Meech, who is one of the world's best Laser sailors, had to decide pretty quickly if he would compete.
He strapped up his knee and went for it and having come away from that event with a silver medal had no regrets.
"It was worth going in the end," Meech says.
"If I didn't go to that event it would've been a really long time between events. It would have been a really long gap."
Soon after he returned he had surgery on his knee was now getting ready to head overseas next month to begin his European season, along with most of his teammates.
The focus will switch to Japan in July and August as the sailors train and compete at the Olympic venue.
"I think the team's going to go really well."
New Zealand has already qualified spots in six of the 10 Olympic classes for the Tokyo Games.
"The buildup to the Olympics turns up a notch this year," Yachting New Zealand high performance director Ian Stewart said.
"The focus clearly goes on Japan, and August's Olympic test event will be a good dress rehearsal. It's an opportunity for us to better understand the Olympic venue but also build on the values of the NZL Sailing Team and how we are going to operate at the Olympic Games.
"We are an inclusive and open team and have exemplary people involved. We look forward to welcoming more members into the NZL Sailing Team on the back of some good results in 2019."
A feature of New Zealand sailing at the moment is the depth in a number of the Olympic classes, including the 49er which has four world-class combinations who have all been working closely together.
The 2019 NZL Sailing Team:
49er: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke; Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn.
49erFX: Alex Maloney and Molly Meech.
Laser: Sam Meech.
Finn: Josh Junior; Andy Maloney.
Nacra 17: Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders.