Kiwi sailors in action at world championships

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 11:10 08/05/2012
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
Getty Images
RAMPING UP: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand in action.

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Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have made an excellent start to the 49er world championship to be fifth after the opening day of racing off Zadar, Croatia.

The 74-strong fleet has been split into three groups for the qualifying stages and the New Zealand sailors made a top start, with two second-placings sandwiching a seventh to be second in the yellow fleet and fifth overall.

Burling and Tuke are looking to go one better than their silver medal at last year's world championships off Perth as they ramp up their preparations for the Olympics.

Burling said it was nice to have three keepers (good scores) from the first day, which was dominated by light winds - sometimes under six knots and very shifty. They are expecting more wind tomorrow.

The other Kiwi crew in the fleet, Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski, also made a good start in the yellow fleet with two fifths and an eighth to be 12th overall.

At the Star world championship off Hyeres, France, Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner have moved up a spot to seventh after finishing eighth in the only race on the third day.

With 31 points they are just six off fourth, but the top three crews have opened up a small gap. Brits Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, who won today's race, have claimed the lead by a point from Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada.

Pepper and Turner need to finish in the top four nations, which have not already qualified for the Olympics, to earn a spot at the Games - they're on track after the opening three days - then it's just a matter of convincing the Yachting New Zealand selectors that they're worthy of sending.

Meanwhile, Andy Maloney continues to be the best of the Kiwis after eight qualifying races at the Laser world championship in Boltenhagen, Germany.

Maloney was fourth and 11th in the two races on the fourth day as he remained sixth overall, with the next best New Zealander being Sam Meech in 21st after a 20th and fifth today.

Andrew Murdoch, New Zealand's Olympic selection and a four-time medallist in the Laser at world championship level, continues to struggle in Germany and is 28th overall.

Australian gun Tom Slingsby has won four of the eight races to be a runaway leader as he chases a fifth world championship title.

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