Kiwis Burling, Tuke claim gold at test regatta

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 12:56 09/08/2014
49er land
BUDA MENDES / Getty Images

SAILING AWAY: Boats sail on the course in Rio at the Mens 49er Class earlier this week.

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Two of New Zealand's world champion yachting crews have shown their liking for the next Olympics venue with gold and silver medal performances at the test regatta in Rio de Janeiro.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke took the 49er title and Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech claimed silver in the women's 49erFX today.

A consistent final day that saw them place second, fifth and fourth in the three races was enough for  Burling and Tuke to take the gold from Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

It continues a remarkable run by the Kiwis who have not lost a regatta since claiming the silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

To achieve a hard-fought win at the next Olympics venue has boosted their confidence even further

"Obviously we're really stoked to take the win here. We're on a pretty good streak at the moment and we're pleased to keep that going," Burling said.

"We've been spending a bit of time learning the conditions. We're happy to come away from those tricky conditions with a nice win.

"We felt that the luck went around and that everybody got lucky and unlucky on occasions so we're happy with the day."

Signed on by Team New Zealand for the next America's Cup campaign, the pair are successfully juggling their commitments, eager to get an Olympics medal in Brazil in 2016.

"We've been doing a lot of racing this year in pretty big fleets in Palma, Hyeres and the Europeans. This has been the first time we've really got down to an Olympic sized [fleet] and that was one of the positives of the week and it was really good to win in that right size and depth of fleet," Burling said.

Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze sailed strongly all week to claim the 49erFX gold. Maloney and Meech felt the regatta had been invaluable for their long-term preparations in this exciting new Olympic class.

The scene is set for a fascinating medal race finale in the Women's 470 tomorrow. New Zealand's Olympic and world champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are one of three crews on 15 points and sharing the lead going into the final double-points race.

The will battled with Americans Anne Haeger and Bri Provancha, and the British crew of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark for the medals.

Andrew Murdoch finished sixth in the Finn fleet, a result matched by Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders  Nacra mixed multihull class.

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