Kiwi 49er sailors rise to the occasion

23:35, Jul 31 2012
Andrew Murdoch competing in the Mens Laser dinghy. He sits in 13th place after four races, needing to climb three places over the next six races to qualify for the medal race.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke rode out the chaos of wind, waves and tide to surface near the top of the 49er fleet on a testing day for New Zealand's Olympic sailors. 

The young, but experienced Kiwi crew opened the day with a race win, clocking boat speeds of up to 20 knots downwind in their performance skiff.

"The breeze built a lot in the first race and we were a little bit over powered but the whole fleet was," said Burling after racing.

They followed up with a seventh place finish in the next race, and sit second overall after four races.

"We're pretty happy and still have a few things we want to iron out for later on in the regatta," he said.

JP Tobin learned a valuable first-up lesson in his maiden Olympic experience, notching up a 15th and a 4th.


"In the first one I just got a bit stuck really and just got a bit dictated to by the guys around me. But the second race I changed that around and got into the leading group; once you're in there it can be anything top five or so.  You've just got to get clear in this fleet," said Tobin, who sits in 9th place with eight races remaining before the medal round.

After their fifth race overnight, the Finn and Star classes were able to discard their worst score so far.  Dan Slater promptly dropped his fifth race result - a 17th - and then followed it up with a disappointing 11th.   He is still 7th overall with four races remaining before the top 10 progress to the double point medal race.

Star sailors Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner improved their overall standing with two solid results (5th and 6th) and are now 8th overall, only three points behind the fourth-placed boat.

In the women's match racing, Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt continued their consistent form, winning their first race and losing their second against the only yet undefeated team, Australia. At the halfway mark of the round robin, they are ranked 6th equal.

Tonight will see the first day of racing for Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders in the Men's  470, and a rest day for the Finn and Star. The Women's Match Racing continue with two more round robin matches, while the 49er, RS:X Men, Laser and Laser Radial have two more races each .


New Zealand standings - Day 3

2nd: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (49er) - 9, 7, 1, 7

6th: Women's Match Racing- Round Robin: Three win, Three loss

7th: Dan Slater (Finn) - 7, 12, 1, 6, 17, 11

8th: Hamish Pepper & Jim Turner (Star) - 15, 7, 1, 13, 6, 5

9th: JP Tobin (RS:X)-  15, 4

13th: Andrew Murdoch (Laser) - 12, 8, 17, 18

23rd: Sara Winther (Laser Radial)- 31, 23, 21, 15

Boating NZ