Peter Burling's golden run continues. Already seen as one of the great young sailing talents in this country -and earmarked as a future America's Cup skipper - Burling added to his credentials with an impressive win in the New Zealand A Class Catamaran championships yesterday.
It comes on top of his recent victory with Blair Tuke in the 49er class at the Sail Auckland regatta.
Against a stellar field off Takapuna Beach, including seven-time world champion (and America's Cup sailor) Glenn Ashby, the 23-year-old was in dominant form, winning three of the four races and finishing third in the other race.
"It feels pretty good to be honest," said Burling, who has limited experience in the A Class boats, having only sailed them over the last week. "I had a great battle with Glenn - he has won the worlds so many times and he is like the guru of this class. It was a pretty good experience out there and you learn a lot."
Burling was typically modest - and to the point - when asked about the secret of his sudden success in the A Class boats: "You just wind them up, put them under pressure and then hold on," says Burling. "I have been going pretty quick in practice over the last few days, though I have also broken just about everything on the boat.
"They are pretty fragile boats; you need to be quite careful."
Ashby finished second (one win, two seconds) and Andrew Landenberger rounded out the top three. Tuke and Chris Nicholson had unhappy days, both withdrawing midway through with gear failure.
However Burling was also quick to downplay the significance of his success.
"This isn't the week you really want to win," laughs Burling. "It would be a lot nicer to win next week when the world title is on the line."
The A Class world championships start with a practice race tomorrow. Two races a day are scheduled through to next Saturday, with one on the final day (Sunday).
In total there are eight entries from Emirates Team New Zealand in the world championships. As well as Burling, Tuke, Nicholson and Ashby, Ray Davies and three members of the design team (Pete Melvin, Luc Dubois and Nat Shaver) are all competing. Another big name is Australian Olympian and member of the 2013 Artemis America's Cup campaign Nathan Outteridge.
Dean Barker was a late scratching, choosing to withdraw from the world championships to concentrate on Team New Zealand's preparation for the Extreme Sailing Series which starts later this month. In all there are 11 countries represented, Britain, United States, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Germany and Switzerland.