Team New Zealand lifts for podium in China

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:03 05/05/2014
Peter Burling
YOUNG SKIPPER: Peter Burling.

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Peter Burling gained a podium on his Team New Zealand debut as the Kiwis kept the heat on the leaders in the Extreme Sailing Series in China.

The 22-year-old skipper, taking the helm from Dean Barker, earned Team New Zealand a third-place finish in a rollicking final day at Qingdao.

With gusts of up to 25 knots blasting across the course the 12-boat fleet was split into two groups of six for safety reasons.

That wasn't enough to save Swiss outfit Alinghi major damage after they were T-boned by Red Bull Racing and forced out of the final races.

But Alinghi were granted a redress and won the regatta from fellow Swiss outfit Realtime.

Burling, with Blair Tuke at his side in a young crew, did enough to get Team New Zealand past Oman's The Wave and into the medals.

Their result in this third event on the eight-regatta circuit, was enough for New Zealand to hold third place overall.

The action now switches to the Russian city of St Petersburg late next month.

"We're pretty stoked to get on the podium," Burling said.

"I think going into today there was a bit of a battle between three of us to get into second position, and I suppose there's a little disappointment that we couldn't get there.

"Coming into . . . the week we would have been pretty happy getting a third, so as the week goes on you seem to up your expectations - but overall we're really happy to come away with a podium and keep in contact with the top guys on the overall series rankings."

Britain's JP Morgan team, fronted by Sir Ben Ainslie, were the best crew today, claiming two wins in the difficult conditions, but that could only lift them to seventh after a poor week.

Importantly the Kiwis made up ground on The Wave overall, although Alinghi remain four points clear of the New Zealanders.

2014 Extreme Sailing Series (after 3 of 8 events)

1 – Alinghi (SUI) 28 points

2 – The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 26

3 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 24

4 – Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 22

5 – Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 15

6 – Groupama sailing team (FRA) 12

7 – Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 11

8 – JP Morgan BAR (GBR) 10

9 – SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 9

10 Oman Air (OMA) 8

11 GAC Pindar (AUS) 3

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