Olympic medalists lead NZ's youth Cup bid

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:41 08/02/2013
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke

ON THE WATER: Members of New Zealand's Youth America's Cup team (from left) Peter Burling, Jason Saunders, Sam Meech and Blair Tuke. Not pictured: Guy Endean, Jono Spurdle and Andy Maloney.

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Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will spearhead New Zealand's assault on the inaugural Youth America's Cup in San Francisco.

The pair, who have been so dominant in the 49er class, will transfer their skills to the AC45s for this regatta which will be sailed between the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup competitions.

The Kiwi effort will be a collaboration between Yachting New Zealand and Team New Zealand.

TNZ have a direct entry into the youth regatta and the Kiwis have come up with a powerful seven-man squad.

Burling will be skipper and Tuke the tactician, with a crew of six sailing.

Olympic 470 sailor Jason Saunders is in the mix, as is Andy Maloney, who won a bronze medal in the highly competitive Laser class at last year's world championships.

Former Laser world youth champ Sam Meech, match-racer Jono Spurdle, and Guy Endean who had involvement in TNZ's round the world campaign complete the list.

The regatta, to be raced September 1-4, is for sailors aged between 19-24 and is designed to build talent for America's Cup involvement.

Burling is no stranger to the radical 45-foot catamarans, having been involved in one of the America's Cup world series regattas in San Francisco last year in the wake of his Olympic success.

Burling skippered a Korean syndicate AC45 then but will be keen to be back in New Zealand colours for this high-profile event.

"I'm really confident that we have a great group of guys together," says Burling.

"We've had great input from some of the Emirates Team New Zealand guys including Joey Allen and Glen Ashby which has been awesome. Plus we've had the bonus of some training time on an ETNZ AC45 already, which is invaluable." 

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- Fairfax Media

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