NZL Sailing Team members, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, report on the just concluded Olympic Test Event where they sailed in the 49er class at Weymouth, England:
It was a real buzz to stand on the podium after winning Bronze at the Olympic test event, one year out from London 2012. We’re back in NZ now – missed the snow in Auckland, but it’s still plenty cold enough.
Perfect balance and concentration through the manoeuvre - event media - Olympic test event - Burling/Tuke Blair Tuke
We finished in the top 6 in 11 of our 15 qualifying races, before winning the Medal race to secure Bronze. A very satisfying result, especially since this was our nominated pinnacle event for the year.
It was our first chance to race in the smaller fleet similar to the Olympics – each country can only send 1 boat and there will only be 18 49ers at the Olympics. We were one of only 3 crews in our medal race who were not in the 49er medal race at the China Olympics - the fleet is pretty experienced.
We had a couple of really windy days during the regatta -testing our gear, technique, fitness and skills to the max. We mainly raced on the inshore courses (the Nothe and Portland harbour) which were really close to the shore, great for spectators. 4-lap, 30 minute races in breezy conditions meant multiple manoeuvres, exhausting especially for Blair pulling the gennaker up and down. We were one of only a few boats not to capsize, but still have plenty to work on to improve leading up to our next international regattas in Australia. The Perth ISAF 49er Worlds in December 2011 is our first chance to qualify NZ for a place in the 49er class for the 2012 London Olympics.
All smiles after winning the 49er medal race - event media - Olympic test event - Burling/Tuke Blair Tuke
Being part of a small NZL Sailing team was a fun experience. We met for dinner, along with daily briefings – but we stayed in our own house a short bike ride to everything we needed. The NZL sailing team had a couple of containers at the venue – one set up as a work shop, and the other for chilling out in.
The plan from now is to take a few weeks off to recuperate and freshen up (our NZ-based 49er will stay in the shed which mightn’t be a bad thing with it being so cold, while our racing 49er has been packed in a container heading for Melbourne). The time will disappear quickly with debriefs, planning the next stage, maintaining fitness, organising ... shipping containers/support boats/accommodation/flights/cars etc – all absolutely essential to keep us moving forward for a successful medal winning performance at the 2012 Olympics.
A huge thank you to Jez (our YNZ coach), David Slyfield (in charge of our program - keeping us on the straight and narrow) and our parents.
To all our supporters – we hugely appreciate your ongoing support.
Cheers. Peter and Blair
Sending it downwind with NZL chasing GBR - YNZ - Olympic test event - Burling/Tuke Blair Tuke
Very close 49er racing at the top mark - Photo by YNZ - Olympic test event - Burling/Tuke Blair Tuke
NZL 49er Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are support by ... - Olympic test event - Burling/Tuke Blair Tuke