Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won the Mens High Performance Skiff (49er) Medal Race and the Bronze medal at the Weymouth and Portland 2011 International Regatta sailed at the 2012 Olympic venue at Weymouth, England.
The medal comes on the final day of the Olympic Test Event for the NZL Sailing Team, and rounds out a solid showing from the team which includes four top four finishers in the nine events New Zealand contested.
In all but two of those nine events New Zealand made the top ten gaining valuable medal race experience.
'Peter and Blair have sailed well right through the regatta and it was really nice to see them take the medal race win and then stand on the podium,' says Team Director, and 49er Coach, Jez Fanstone. 'It is a great result for them, but in typical fashion they want to do even better.'
'Overall I’m pretty happy with how the team has performed here in Weymouth - it's been about gaining knowledge and experience,' Fanstone continues. 'While it’s disappointing in some ways not to convert the fourth place finishes into podium finishes it demonstrates that we are really close, and it will really put the fire in the bellies of those guys.'
'Review of our performance here in Weymouth will come over the next few weeks and we’ll be looking to learn the lessons on where we can improve further.'
Burling and Tuke secured the podium finish in style, crossing the finish line seven seconds ahead of their nearest rival in the final pressure test medal race sailed in 10-11 knot winds.
The kiwis are the youngest combined pair among the fleet including representatives from the top 24 nations in the world in the men’s Olympic double-handed skiff, with New Zealand’s helm, Burling, the second youngest sailor in the fleet.
Burling and Tuke, who are coached by Jez Fanstone, have benefitted from an alliance with the Australian’s with whom they trained and competed against earlier this year for Sail Sydney and Sail Melbourne Regattas. Another highlight this season was a bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta in the Netherlands in May.
The Bronze medal is a terrific achievement for the young pair who got together following the 2008 Olympic cycle in which Burling represented New Zealand in Qingdao, China in the Men’s 470 class sailing with Carl Evans. Tuke’s talent was honed in the Splash class with a Splash and a 29er world title among other achievements in his CV.
The battle for gold was an epic one going the way of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen of Australia who had to finish two places ahead of the Spaniards, who have two Olympic medals in their drawer, in the last race. After 16 races the two top placed boats were on equal points the gold awarded to the Aussies as they were the better finisher in the medal race.
The Star class also concluded the regatta overnight and New Zealand’s Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk finished sixth overall with some familiar big names ahead of them. The kiwis placed fifth in last night’s medal race. Brazil’s Robert Scheldt and Bruno Prado sailed away with Star class gold convincingly winning with a 20 point margin.
Dan Slater finished seventh overall in the Finn class improving his standing by one with a solid medal race where he crossed the line second. Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie took out the gold with a massive 31 point margin.
In a few short months the world of Olympic class sailing will descend upon Perth, Western Australia for the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on from 3 – 18 December 2011.
In Perth all ten Olympic class sailing events will contest their 2011 World Championship titles – at a combined event which happens only once every four years in the pre-Olympic year.
Unlike this week’s regatta in Weymouth, the December event isn’t restricted to one entry per nation so a full NZL Sailing Team contingent and other New Zealand representatives will compete.
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships is also the first opportunity for New Zealand to earn national qualification and secure a spot for the country in each of the Olympic events for the Olympic Games 2012.
Weymouth and Portland 2011 International Regatta
New Zealand’s final results
Bronze - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke: 49er (11, 16, 3, 3, 1, 3, 9, 5, 3, 3, 2, 4, 1, 6, 21 medal race: 1)
4th - Andrew Murdoch: Laser (4, 5, 2, 3, 11, 4, 8, 12, 9, 2, medal race: 7)
4th - Jon-Paul Tobin: RS:X Men (6, 6, 9, 16, 5, 11, 2, 4, 21, 1, medal race:1)
4th - Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie: 470 Women (21, 11, 2, 26 BFD, 3, 3, 17, 4, 1, 7, medal race: 1)
6th - Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk: Star (5, 2, 15, 7, 10, 22DNS, 5, 7, 6, 3, medal race: 5 )
7th - Dan Slater: Finn (13, 18, 5, 2, 28OCS, 4, 7, 9, 6, 12, medal race: 2)
10th - Natalia Kosinska: RS:X Women (12, 10, 4, 7, 7, 11, 12, 14, 19, 8, medal race: 9)
15th - Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders: 470 Men (17, 16, 4, 13, 15, 33OCS, 4, 16, 11,33DSQ)
22nd - Sara Winther: Radial (11, 26, 26, 21, 15, 25, 18, 8, 10, 50DNF)
The Weymouth and Portland 2011 International Regatta is an official London 2012 Test Event and part of the London Prepares series.
Racing runs from 2nd – 13th August with medal races scheduled over the final three days starting with the Men’s and Women’s RS:X on 11th August. All ten of the Olympic events are being contested with each nation able to send just one entry to each event.