Olympic Silver Medalists report on a successful start towards Rio 2016

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on their way to winning the 2013 Open European Championship in the 49er class

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke report on their recent successful European campaign, which culminated in winning the Open European Championships in the 49er class


A successful start to our new 49er Olympic campaign towards Rio 2016, winning the 49er European Champs in Denmark last week.

There was a good variety of conditions - light to moderate wind , shifty, close to shore, even some rain which made the temperature more like our NZ winter.

Our build-up went smoothly, with a good hit-out at the 'coaches regatta' just prior to the event.
Ed Smyth was our coach for this regatta - thanks Ed.

Day 1 we started the regatta rather slowly being 35th out of the 90 boats after 2 races in very unstable winds.

Day 2 was better coming off the water in fifth overall – a protest hearing in the evening for an on-water incident that day resulted in us being DSQ and dropping back to 25th.

Day 4 we scored 2,1,3,7 in 4 gold fleet races - moving us into the lead.

SAP 49er and 49erfx Europeans
Day 6 Finals ....

The format for this regatta had 3 seven minute double-point stadium races programmed for the top 9 boats to decide the medals. Lots of points up for grabs.

Our 'Stadium', a 500m x 200m rectangle marked out with boundary buoys, was just off the sea wall with a large knowledgeable crowd.

In race 1 we were over at the start - meaning we had to go back and start again, then Peter's trapeze hook dislodged at the top mark causing a capsize. Blair smashed his watch, and lost some skin and sunglasses while Pete was acting as a sea anchor out the back of the boat … so dead last for Race 1, and our regatta lead had gone.

After boat repairs and a quick turnaround we won the second race - putting us tied on points with the leading Brits, with the French and German boats both just within reach of our lead.

In the final medal race we managed to lead the British right around the track giving us the overall regatta win.

It was great to hear the NZ national anthem playing at medal ceremony.

There was some great footage from this regatta - with a camera on our boom.

See the links at the bottom ...

We're now back in NZ till the 8th Aug when we head to San Francisco to compete in the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup.

A huge thank you to those who got behind our Thrillpledge fundraising campaign for this team - we really appreciate your support.

We're hugely looking forward to the AC45 catamaran racing with our team of 7 kiwi sailors.
We have a month in San Fran, 3 weeks lead-up to familiarise ourselves with the AC45 catamaran and fine-tune our crew work.

The regatta itself is from 1-4 Sept.

Following this we head direct to Europe for 2 more 49er events including our World championships which are in Marseille, France 24 - 29 Sept.

On the way home Pete drops in to Hawaii for the Foiling Moth Worlds.

Good news also is that Pete comfortably passed his three Engineering papers in the first semester.

Thanks to Murray and the team at 'Deaker on Sport' for having us on his TV show last night.

Great to be able to talk live about our 49er sailing and the upcoming Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Fran.

Busy times but we are stoked to have started our new campaign with a win and are very much looking forward to the challenges over the next few months.

Cheers, Pete and Blair.

Regatta footage links ...
Pre medal race interview (need facebook for this) .... http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152025904269972&set=vb.225362449971&type=2&theater!click_here

An hour’s coverage of the 3 x 7 minute long 49er medal races which were double points and not discardable ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7jnO7ws7Hk&feature=youtu.be&t=1m45s!click_here

After race onshore interview ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H2Cu2EUIdhk!click_here

Lots of other video of regatta, links ... http://www.youtube.com/user/49erSailingOffical?feature=watch!click_here