Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won the 2015 49er World Championship in Argentina today making it three consecutive world titles in the Olympic skiff class and extending their unprecedented unbeaten run to 22 victories in a row.
In the women’s 49erFX New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech finished eighth overall.
Burling (24 years old) and Tuke (26 years old) had this victory in the bag with a race to spare after opening an unassailable 29 point gap after three morning races over the Alonso brothers from Spain, who struggled today.
The kiwis, described by commentators as being in a class of their own, placed fourth in the medal race to seal the deal and end the 16-race regatta 34 points ahead of anyone else.
“We’re absolutely stoked to take another title,” says Peter Burling. “This one has been a really tough week and I think both Blair and myself are pretty tired now which shows how tough it’s been, but we are really stoked to take another title and I’m sure it will set in over the next couple of hours.”
Today the gold fleet sailed three finals races in the morning in which Burling and Tuke placed 13th, eighth and eighth.
“We didn’t sail super well today, which we were a bit annoyed about, but at the same time the guys that were close to us sailed worse so we ended up with a pretty huge lead again which is really nice,” says Blair Tuke.
“It’s really nice to win our third world title, and all in a row,” adds Tuke.
It was a good day for the reigning Olympic champion crew of Outteridge and Jensen who sailed themselves back into medal contention during the morning to edge out the Spanish for the silver medal.
For Burling and Tuke, taking the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games has motivated the pair that is unrelenting in their focus and drive towards an end goal to go one better and win Olympic Gold at Rio 2016.
Since being beaten by Outteridge and Jensen in London, (who are also campaigning towards Rio 2016), the NZL Sailing Team crew has won every 49er event they’ve sailed.
Earlier this month the pair took out the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of outstanding achievements in the world of sailing, named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for 2015.
Tuke says, “Being named ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year last week was pretty special and we had our heads down concentrating on this trying to get the best prepared we could, so we’ll sure enjoy it with our coach Hamish [Willcox] and the rest of the kiwis here. Then we’ll look forward to getting back to New Zealand and sharing it with family and friends.”
The prestigious Award is decided by a vote which saw them pitted against sailors across all disciplines of the sport including Ian Walker, (skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race winning entry), Giles Scott (GBR’s latest phenomenon in the Finn class) and Loick Peyron (off-shore sailing superstar), and the kiwis were humbled to be announced the winners.
Scheduling of events in the twelve months leading into the 2016 Olympic Games means that Burling and Tuke will defend this world title in less than three months with the 2016 49er and 49erFX World Championships taking place in mid-February in Florida, USA.
Before then Burling and Tuke return home for the New Zealand summer and will attend the 2015 Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards in Auckland next Friday.
Burling says, “We’ve got a few months at home over the summer now so it’s going to be great . It’s a cool time of year to be back in NZ and we really enjoy being in NZ over the summer so we’re really looking forward to getting home.”
Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech have finished eighth in the 49erFX World Championship. In today’s morning races the kiwi women placed second, 14th and 19th to go into the 49erFX medal race lying ninth overall improving to eighth after finishing third in the medal race.
“I think everyone was a bit up and down, quite a big mixture of people winning races,” says Alexandra Maloney. “The fleet is getting tougher and it was really good competition out there.”
Molly Meech adds, “Moving on from here obviously Rio’s the big goal for next year.”
“And the buildup events like the Worlds in Clearwater and then Hyeres, so trying to get on the podium in those events.”
Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) took overall victory in the 49erFX and their first world title after a very close battle with defending champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA). These two close rivals entered the medal race on equal points and went on to finish first and second on the water in a grand finale in Argentina this afternoon.
Burling and Tuke’s year in the 49er
1st – 2015 49er World Championship
1st – 2015 South American Championship
1st -2015 Rio Olympic Test Event
1st – 2015 49er Rio International Sailing Week
1st – 2015 49er European Championship
1st – 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth
1st – 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
1st – 2015 Princesa Sofia Regatta (Palma)
1st – 2015 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
1st – 2015 New Zealand 49er National Championships
Meanwhile racing in Oman for the 2015 Laser Radial World Championships moved into day two and another two races were added. NZL Sailing Team representative Sara Winther placed 11th and ninth today to lie 20th overall in the 100-strong fleet.
2015 49er and 49erFX World Championships – New Zealand’s current standings
For full results click here
49er (61 boats)
1st Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
41st Isaac McHardie and Trent Rippey
50th Markus Somerville and Aaron Hume-Merry
61st Logan Dunning-Beck and Jack Simpson
49erFX (44 boats)
8th Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech
2015 Laser Radial World Championship (100 boats)
New Zealand’s current standings
For full results click here
20th Sara Winther (16, 11, 11, 9)
44th Susannah Pyatt (5, 32, BFD, 14)
Coming up soon…
2015 Finn Gold Cup
Dates: 24-29 November 2015
Venue: Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Featuring: Andrew Murdoch, Josh Junior and plenty more local and international sailors
Laser Radial World Championships
Dates: 20-26 November 2015
Venue: Al Mussanah, Oman
Featuring: Sara Winther, Susannah Pyatt