New Zealand sailors win five of six in Helsinki

Last updated 08:04 12/07/2014
Blair Tuke and Peter Burling
ON FIRE: Blair Tuke, left, and Peter Burling won three out of three races today as they look to defend their European 49er title in Finland.

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New Zealand's reigning world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had a day to remember out on the water after claiming three wins from the three gold fleet races at the 49er and 49erFX European Championships in Helsinki.

Fellow world champions Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech also turned in a strong showing with two wins from three races to move within one point of the overall lead.

In near perfect sailing conditions, Burling and Tuke proved dominant and now boast an eight point lead over the rest of the 49er fleet.

"We had good boat speed all day and that got us out of trouble even when we found ourselves on the wrong side of the shifts," Tuke said.  

"We picked up a penalty at the start of race one but still managed to find our way through to the front. And then getting a port tack start over the fleet was like winning a race all by itself."

Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen bounced back after a poor opening day.

The Kiwis' long-time rivals hold second overall after today's racing, while Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign from Great Britain are well placed in third.

Maloney and Meech moved from seventh to within striking distance of the overall lead after winning their first two races, although a seventh in the final race of the day dampened their spirits somewhat.

Only Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen of Denmark are ahead of the Kiwis on the leaderboard after their impressive showing.

With another day of finals before Sunday's theatre style medal races, the New Zealand sailors still have plenty of racing to look forward to before the medals are decided at what is billed as the second most important regatta for the class this year behind the ISAF World Champs in September.

Meanwhile, light winds struck Athens for the second day of racing at the 470 European Championships where both the men and women managed just one race.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie had a disappointing 17th, which has dropped them back to fifth place overall in the provisional standings, while Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox are 34th after a 22nd.

In France, it was the penultimate day of the 2014 Nacra17 European championships at La Grande Motte and it didn't go the way Kiwis Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders would have wanted.

The New Zealand pair were 8th, 24th and 29th in the three races, putting them 20th overall (in a total fleet of 70 boats) and out on the top ten medal race for tomorrow.

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