Sailors Burling, Tuke retain European 49er title

Last updated 08:01 14/07/2014
Peter Burling
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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 top sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke retained their European 49er title in style in Helsinki today.

Two wins and a third were more than enough for Tuke and Burling to claim the title after they held an 11-point lead going into the final day.

They got a break in the opening race today when their closest rivals, Australian Olympic champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen suffered problems in the first race.

Jensen was lost overboard and Outteridge then capsized to finish last, effectively handing the title to the smooth sailing Kiwis.

Burlin and Tuke, who have been snapped up by Team New Zealand, have not lost a major 49er championship since finish second to the Australians at the London Olympics in 2012.

They won 10 of the 16 races in Helsinki.

"We're stoked to win," said Tuke. "It was another great day for us today. We loved the racing here, especially the theatre-style racing we did today. It was just awesome sailing.

"It is an awesome way to finish off what has been a really solid week for us here in Helsinki. We came out with intent this afternoon, wanting to wrap it up as quickly as possible- doing that after race two. After a few quick congrats we got back into it and won the last race to top it off."

Germany' Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel claimed silver and Great Brtiain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign the bronze with the Australians missing out on the podium, slipping to fourth.

Next stop for the Kiwis and many of the other top teams in the 49er and 49erFX is Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic test regatta next month.

Meanwhile New Zealand's world champion 49FX women's crew of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech had to be content with a bronze medal in Helsinki.

Denmark's Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen retained their European title, finishing sixth and then winning the next two in the final three races of the championship.

The kiwis finished with a 3, 9, 6 in their three quick-fire races today returning.

Sharing the same 60-points total with the Brazilians, Maloney and Meech missed the silver medal on count-back.

In Greece, world and Olympic champion Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie closed the gap on the leading crews at the 470 European Championships.

A second and fourth today left the Kiwis in third place but they have now just six points off the top of the table.

In the men's fleet, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox climbed to 23rd after an eight and a 23rd today.

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