New Zealand sailors eye Helsinki double gold

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:25 13/07/2014
Peter Burling
Getty Images

THAT'S GOLD: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have retained their European 49er title in style in Helsinki.

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New Zealand's sailors are eyeing double gold at the 49er and 49erFX European Championship in Helsinki with both Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, leading going into the final day.

Despite an average result in the opening race of the day, a 16th, Burling and Tuke came back firing and scored two bullets (race wins) in the following two races as the breeze built on the gold fleet course.

The Kiwis, who are defending their 2013 European title, have opened an 11-point lead over Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, the crew who pipped them for the gold medal at the London Olympics.

''Another good day for us,'' Tuke said. ''We started out the day with a 16th reminding us just how difficult gold fleet racing can be when you don't execute 100 per cent.

"We bounced back nicely winning the next two and with the discard coming into play, we carry straight firsts through the gold fleet racing.

"Three more races tomorrow for the top 10 boats, in a theatre style format. It's still all to play for.''

Continuing the Kiwi charge, Maloney and Meech took the overall lead in the 49erFX class after they placed second, fifth and fourth in today's racing.

Their lead is just one point over Denmark's Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen.

Like the men they have three races scheduled for tomorrow, set to be run 'theatre style' - which means short courses and fast-paced action.

At the 470 European Championships in Athens, Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have climbed from fifth into third place after day three of racing.

The women sailed three races in winds of 15-18 knots with a challenging short wave chop on the race course; Aleh and Powrie placed 11th, fifth and third and now have 27 points.

Austria's Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar lead with 17 points, while Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Britain are second, a point behind.

In the men's 470 fleet, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox are 33rd.

Meanwhile, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders finished 19th at the Nacra 17 European Championships in France. Spain's Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco took the title.

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