20 May 2019

Burling and Tuke win European title

12:36 pm on 20 May 2019

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have taken big step in their comeback to try and defend their Olympic title when they won the 49er European championships in Weymouth, England.

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling (R) and Blair Tuke (L).


It was the pair's first international title since their return to the 49er circuit and they did it in only their third event.

The gold medal came on the back of Andy Maloney's silver at the Finn European championships in Athens yesterday and New Zealand's Laser squad, which includes world number one Sam Meech, begin their European championships in Porto tomorrow.

Burling and Tuke went into the final day holding a 17-point lead over their nearest rivals but they almost saw that slip away in the final gold fleet race.

They found themselves near the back of the fleet in 22nd place in the light conditions as Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell scooted away, but clawed their way back impressively to finish ninth and maintain a nine-point lead.

It was a significant result because the wind had died completely by the time the top-10 medal race rolled around preventing any further racing.

"It's really pleasing for Pete and I," Tuke said.

"It has been a really long week, lots of races in a variety of conditions. There was quite a lot of wind at the start so we are pretty tired but really stoked to come away with the win from the European championships.

"This has been our third event in a month or so, so we have had a lot of 49er racing lately. We managed to get a few things working a little bit better here. We executed at a better level and got some really nice scores on the board early on and managed to continue that on to the end of the week. It's pleasing to be back on the top of the podium."

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling (R) and Blair Tuke (L).


The rest of the New Zealand 49er squad weren't that far off with Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn finishing seventh, Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey 12th and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie 15th and were the top under-23 team.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech just fell short of claiming a medal in the 49erFX. The Olympic silver medallists were third in today's medal race and finished fourth overall.

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders rounded out their racing in the Nacra 17 by finishing second in the medal race and seventh overall.

A handful of crews will compete at next month's World Cup Series final in Marseille but most now switch their attentions to Japan and the Olympic venue for training and racing.