Two golds for NZ at World Cup regatta

New Zealand’s Olympic class sailing world champions have started 2014 in the same place they spent most of last year – the winner’s circle.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won the 49er class at the year’s first European stop of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series while Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were also victorious, in the women’s 470 class, as the regatta ended in Palma, Spain today.

Burling and Tuke won with some comfort while Aleh and Powrie came from behind to overhaul the French crew of Camille Lecointre and Helene DeFrance in a tense medal race.

Three other Kiwi crews finished in the top-10; Andy Maloney was fifth in the Laser, Sam Meech was 10th in the same class and Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox were sixth in the men’s 470.

Despite an average first day, Burling and Tuke hit the lead in the 49er skiff class on day three and only extended from there. They were sixth, first and eighth in their three medal races.

The pair have won every major 49er regatta they’ve contested since claiming Olympic silver in 2012, including last year’s world and European championships.

“It was really fun. We sailed really well and did what we had to do in the first race after the lead we’d created throughout racing this week,” Tuke said.

”We then managed to get a win and it wasn’t such a great final race but it was a lot of fun.”

With the French crew seven points ahead heading into the final race, Aleh and Powrie needed to pile on the pressure. They did, blitzing the medal race before watching the struggling French cross in sixth.

“The French were seven points clear of us and we knew we had to get three points between us to beat them.

We stayed really close and came out of the start better, from there we just tried to sail the race, get away and get boats in between and we just managed to get enough boats in,” Aleh said.

“It took us a while to fire, we were a bit slow at the beginning but we’ve come right by the end.”

The New Zealand team now heads to Hyeres, France, for the next World Cup regatta from April 19-26.

NZ results: Women’s 470 (47 boats): Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – 1st.Men’s 470 (78 boats): Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox – 6th.Men’s 49er (79 boats): Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – 1st, Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski – 33rd, Ben Goodwin and Sam Bullock – 53rd.Women’s 49erFX (49 boats): Alex Maloney and Molly Meech – 11th.Finn (92 boats): Josh Junior – 16th, Andrew Murdoch – 24th.Laser (144 boats): Andy Maloney – 5th, Sam Meech -10th, Thomas Saunders – 26th, Andrew McKenzie – 65th.Women’s RS:X (56 boards): Natalia Kosinska – 12th.Nacra 17 (73 boats): Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders – 14th.

– © Fairfax NZ News

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