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NZ 49er Nationals: Dunning-Beck & Gunn beat Olympic Champions

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 23 Feb 2019 20:33 PST 24 February 2019
Logan Dunning-Beck and Oscar Gunn - 49er - Day 3 - Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, February 2019 © Michael Brown, Yachting New Zealand

Kiwi 49er crew Logan Dunning-Beck and Oscar Gunn have given the Yachting New Zealand Olympic selectors a headache, after they beat the Olympic Champions, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke for the New Zealand 49er title, at Murrays Bay SC.

Although Burling and Tuke won the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta two weeks ago, which was their first 49er championship together since winning the Gold medal at the Rio Olympics, with a race to spare.

Their form was such, winning six of the eleven races, that it seemed the duo had hardly missed a beat despite their absence of over two years

During Burling and Tukes sojourn from the Olympic skiff, several crews kept campaigning hard, and the competition has closed up, and would appear to have passed the Olympic and America's Cup Champions. To underline their class, Dunning-Beck helmed the New Zealand entry in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, losing by the narrowest of margins in the final mark rounding of the final race of the series.

Adding to the selector's woes is the fact that Dunning-Beck and Gunn qualified New Zealand for the 2020 Olympic Regatta with a seventh place in the 2018 Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. In some countries that is sufficient to earn automatic Olympic selection. In the regatta in Denmark, Dunning-Beck and Gunn led the series for several races, before running up a series of double digit places in the tail end of the regatta.

Although the actual regattas on which Olympic selection will be based have not been publicly announced but are expected to include the upcoming World Championships in Auckland in late 2019, along with the European championships and maybe a further regatta in Enoshima, the Olympic venue, if multiple entries from one country are allowed.

Adding complexity to the selection is the performance of the top five Kiwi crews in the series - each of who was able to record top three places and sail consistently at a high standard beating all but one of the Australian entries.

The pair went toe toe with the Olympic Champions clocking up 8pts from the days racing compared to Burling/Tuke's 7pts - from two race wins and a fifth place. That scorecard was enough to give Dunning-Beck and Gunn a 5pt margin over Burling and Tuke.

The Australian crew of Will and Sam Phillips sailed well on the final day, until the final race, when they recorded their worst place of the series - an 8th place - which became their discard. They went into the final day tied on points for the lead, and dropped back to be 1pt behind Burling and Tuke to finish 3rd overall.

In the 49erFX class sailed in conjunction with the 49er event, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech scored two wins, dropping back to their worst place, 4th in the final race, which was won by one of the two Australian crews at the regatta Angelika Kohlendorfer and Lisa Farthofer who finished fourth in the series. Australian crew Tess Lloyd and Jamie Ryan finished second overall in the series.

For full results click here

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