Back on tack
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke started a new campaign in style by taking out the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta today. The pair pulled it off against what was described as the strongest New Zealand 49er fleet ever along with a handful of international crews by winning six of the 11 races off the Royal Akarana Yacht Club to finish 14 points ahead of Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie. The duo are expected to notch a few more over the next 18 months before soon heading to Europe to measure themselves against the rest of the 49er fleet, starting with April’s Princess Sofia regatta in Palma; and with the Tokyo Olympics looming. Burling put the win down to memory muscle kicking in: “It’s been a little like riding a bike; a lot of things come back really quickly... you need to put in a lot of time and that’s we’ve been doing over the last four or five months. Elsewhere, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders took out the Nacra 17 title, Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox dominated the 470, with Sam Bullock dominating the kiteboarding while Dave Ridley edged the Laser and Annabelle Rennie-Younger won the women's Laser Radial.
Another former Kerikeri high School student also enjoyed success over the weekend, Alex Maloney with Molly Meech claimed silver for taking second in the women's 49erFX division of the World Cup Series regatta in Miami on Sunday. However, Maloney said she and Meech felt they "gave it away" in their medal race after being overtaken on the final day by Olympic champions Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze from Brazil. The New Zealanders went into the medal race with a handy 12-point lead only to get caught out on the wrong side of a big wind shift in the light conditions and finished ninth today. The Brazilians profited from being in clear air and their second in the medal race was enough to lift them into the gold medal position. The two boats are likely to be major rivals over the next 18 months ahead of the Tokyo Games.