27 Jun 2017

All hail the helmsman: Who is Peter Burling?

9:59 am on 27 June 2017

With an America's Cup to add to his already groaning trophy cabinet, who is Peter Burling - the calmest person on the water?

Peter Burling (Emirates Team NZ) 35th America's Cup - Opening Media Conference,

Peter Burling at the opening news conference for the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Photo: Photosport

The 26-year-old Team New Zealand helmsman today became the youngest person to win the race for the Auld Mug.

Look back at RNZ's live coverage of the winning race and reaction here.

He has appeared in three Olympic Games and became the country's youngest ever games sailor when he competed in China at the age of 17.

Burling, and his current sailing partner Blair Tuke, won silver in the 49er skiff at the 2012 London Olympics, and the pair have had a dream run in the class, taking four consecutive world championships starting in 2013.

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke celebrate winning gold at the Rio Olympics.

Peter Burling, left, and Blair Tuke celebrate winning gold at the Rio Olympics. Photo: AFP

The pair won all 28 major regattas in the class between London and the Rio Olympics last year.

At Rio they won a gold medal and were New Zealand's Olympic flag bearers.

Burling grew up in Tauranga and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Auckland.

He started sailing young and began winning not long afterwards. He finished second in the under-16 Optimist nationals at age 11 in 2002 and and competed in the world championships in Texas the same year.

He went on to win numerous open and age group world championships in the 49er, Moth and 420 classes, and was the skipper for Team Korea at the last America's Cup in San Francisco.

Burling sails for the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club.

Peter Burling and Blaire Tuke

Blaire Tuke, left, and Peter Burling led the New Zealand contingent into the stadium in the Rio Olympics last year. Photo: Supplied / NZ Olympic team

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