Burling and Tuke reunite for Sail Auckland
Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke get back in the 49er together for the first time since Weymouth this weekend as they provide one of the headline acts for Sail Auckland on the Waitemata Harbour.
The pair have largely gone their separate ways since the Olympics - Burling skippered Team Korea in the America's Cup world series and won the Australian Moth nationals, while Tuke took part in the Sydney-Hobart race and tasted success at the New Zealand A-class catamaran championships in Christchurch.
However, they have been training together as part of the New Zealand team for this year's Youth America's Cup, which will be raced in AC45s in San Francisco from September 1-4, just before the AC72 America's Cup racing.
And they'll begin their 49er skiff campaign for Rio 2016 at Sail Auckland, New Zealand's biggest Olympic class regatta from Saturday-Tuesday, which features more than 200 crews from 10 countries and is hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club.
The 49er men's fleet also features Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski, who are aiming to push Burling and Tuke during the next four years. They finished sixth at last year's world championships.
The five male crews will be joined on the start line by three female teams in the new 49er FX Olympic class, which is making its competitive debut in New Zealand.
Young Kiwi sailors Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are currently ranked No 1 in the world after winning back-to-back at the Sail Melbourne World Cup regatta and also Sail Sydney.
Their brothers, Andy Maloney and Sam Meech, are also competing this week, as currently the top-two ranked Laser sailors in the country.
They're among a 21-strong fleet where Maloney, bronze medallist at last year's world championship, is favoured.
Though they are the only women's 470 sailors registered, Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are faced with a competitive regatta against some internationally accomplished men.
Paul Snow-Hansen, fifth at the Olympics with Jason Saunders, is now sailing with Daniel Willcox. The pair were teammates at the 2004 Optimist world championships where they finished second and fourth, respectively.
Back again in the 470 is Carl Evans, Burling's 2008 Olympic 470 teammate. Now 22, Evans is sailing with James Turner whose recent accomplishments include a silver medal at the 2012 470 junior world championships.
Saunders has left the 470 to sail a catamaran with Gemma Jones. In lieu of the new Olympic mixed multihull class Nacra 17's, they will be racing the F-18 at Sail Auckland.
There will also be interest in Andrew Murdoch's performance in the Finn class, the Laser veteran having moved up to the heavyweight dinghy after his second successive fifth-placed finish at the Olympics last year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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