Finn sailor, Dan Slater, heads off for another mid-winter training sail off Takapuna Beach ahead of the Pre-Olympics in Weymouth
New Zealand will field its largest ever sailing team at the 2012 Olympic Regatta, following the announcement of two further crews.
Three more sailors have been confirmed to the London 2012 New Zealand Olympic Sailing Team.
Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner in the Men’s Keelboat (Star) and Dan Slater in the Men’s One Person Heavyweight Dinghy (Finn), were confirmed by the New Zealand Olympic Committee selectors.
'We’re honoured to be named to the New Zealand Olympic Sailing Team' said Star sailor Jim Turner after his selection. 'It’s an important milestone to tick off on our way to the big one'.
Although London 2012 will be Turner’s first Olympic regatta, he is not new to the high performance sailing world with six world championships to his name. The new combination in the Star Class with Pepper is proving successful with the crew proving competitive and on-pace at recent events.
Turner continued; 'Every time we sail we are learning something and getting better. From now on it’s all about Weymouth and the games themselves'.
Both Hamish Pepper and Dan Slater have represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games in the past and are still at the top of their sport.
Pepper sailed in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) to a 10th place finish at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, seventh place finish at Athens 2004, and then ninth at Beijing 2008 in the Star Class.
Dan Slater raced at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the 49er skiff class with current Olympic 470 coach Nathan Handley and finished eighth before switching to the Men’s One Person Heavyweight Dinghy (Finn) for 2008 and finished 12th. This season, Slater has had two fifth place finishes at World Cup regattas, and a good track record of previous results from the 2012 Olympic venue.
'In many ways, the Weymouth venue is similar to Murrays Bay where I learned to sail and have been sailing since I was 10years old' Slater said. 'It feels close to home'.
The sailors were nominated and selected following performances at this month’s World Championships and ongoing ISAF Sailing World Cups results.
There are now fifteen sailors attending the London 2012 Olympic Games, representing New Zealand in nine of the ten Olympic sailing disciplines. The team includes: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er), Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (Women’s 470), Andrew Murdoch (Laser), Jon Paul Tobin (RS:X), Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders (Men’s 470), Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt (Women’s Match Racing), Sara Winther (Laser Radial), Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner (Star) and Dan Slater (Finn).
New Zealand has qualified in a 10th class, the Womens Windsurfer, but as yet no nomination has been made. Yachting NZ CEO, David Abercrombie told Sail-World that 'to date no decision has been made regarding selection of the women's RS:X.
'Sail for Gold in Weymouth will be the last opportunity for any of the women sailors to demonstrate to the selectors that they have reached a level of performance worthy of Olympic selection.'