NZL Sailing Team: Olympic skiff Class World Championship double

2013 49er and 49erFX World Championship

New Zealand’s Olympic class sailors have pulled off an unprecedented result at the 2013 49er and 49erFX World Championships which wrapped up overnight in Marseille, France with two world titles and a silver medal.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have secured their first ever 49er World title, while Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have won the inaugural 49erFX world title. And Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski have won silver in the 49er.

'It’s amazing, Pete and I are really, really happy' says Blair Tuke. 'We’ve worked hard for this not just over the past year but since we started sailing the 49er together. To do it today it and have the other boys in second place and the girls win their world title makes it extra special.'

And 21 year-old Alexandra Maloney is delighted to be crowned 49erFX champions; 'Definitely really happy with how it went this week, it was really close right until the end so it’s exciting.'

This is 22 year old Peter Burling (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) and 24 year old Blair Tuke’s (Kerikeri Cruising Club) first world title in the 49er and it comes in a full-strength world class fleet including reigning Olympic champions and multiple world title winners Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen of Australia, who finished fifth.

After light and tricky conditions over the opening half of the regatta Burling and Tuke, as well as Hansen and Porebski came to the fore on the penultimate day and hit the water for today’s three theatre style medal races in first and second place. But with double points on offer for each race anything could happen.

Tuke explains how the day panned out for them; 'We went out and won that first race which was pretty cool and then we just made one small mistake which put us back in ninth which closed that buffer up we had back to about ten points and put the pressure back on for the last race, but we came back well to get second and claim the world title was really awesome.'

2013 has been a stellar year for Burling and Tuke who have won the 49er European title, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup title and now the 49er World title.

'I think probably for Pete and I this one is the most special. The 49er is our priority and we’ve won this world champs. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was also really special… working alongside, not just Pete and I but also a lot of other guys made that pretty special, but to do all three of them with the European Champs as well it’s really cool.'

New to the Olympic programme for 2016 the 49erFX women’s skiff has attracted a number of accomplished international sailors and for New Zealanders Alexandra Maloney (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) and Molly Meech (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) to secure the 2013 world title is a massive achievement.

The young pair holds the ISAF World number one ranking after top three placings at all the major international regattas they’ve contested in 2013 including gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres and a bronze at the 49erFX European Championships in Denmark in June. Today’s world title puts the icing on the cake for Maloney and Meech who both only recently stepped out of the youth classes.

Like the kiwi men Maloney and Meech went into today’s medal races with the overall lead. Competing in a fleet of ten boats with double points on offer they raced away with a second a fifth and a fourth to secure the world title by a huge 20 point margin from silver medallists Martine Soffiati Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil.

Meanwhile world championship silver is also a career topping result for 20 year old Marcus Hansen (Royal Akarana Yacht Club) and 21 year old Josh Porebski (Worser Bay Boating Club). The NZL Sailing Team pair has had a strong season with top ten results at the major internationals but this is far and away their best performance to date.

The team were supported in France by top New Zealand Olympic coaches Hamish Willcox (men’s coach) and Nathan Handley (women’s coach). Handley was also coach to Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie who took out the 2013 Women’s 470 World Championship earlier this year.

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'I’m really proud of all the team and these results are testament to the hard work they have put in.' says Olympic Programme Manager Jez Fanstone.

'We wanted to hit the ground running after the London 2012 results to carry that momentum forward,' he continues.' With three Olympic class world titles in 2013 for the NZL Sailing Team it’s a great start to the four year cycle.'

49er and 49erFX World Championships
New Zealand’s final results

Men’s 49er -95 boats
1st Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL Sailing Team)
2nd Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL Sailing Team)
66th Ben Goodwin and Sam Bullock

Women’s 49erFX – 53 boats
1st Alex Maloney and Molly Meech
24th Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland