18 Aug 2015

Burling, Tuke top in Rio

1:30 pm on 18 August 2015

New Zealand Olympic silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke dominated day three of the test event in Rio, racking up three wins from four races to take the overall lead in the 49er class.

49er stars Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on the water in Rio

49er stars Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on the water in Rio Photo: Sailing Energy

While Burling and Tuke lead the Olympic class halfway through the fleet racing series of the regatta - a warm-up for next year's Games in Rio - their team-mates also gained some other good placings.

Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are fourth in the Nacra 17, with Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech also fourth in the 49erFX, while Josh Junior improved to sixth overall in the Finn class.

New Zealand's reigning Olympic and European 470 champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were also seventh in the 470.

The day brought more tricky conditions with light winds - too light for any racing on the three outer course areas. All fleets completed at least one race, with the 49ers sailing four.

"It was a tricky day out there on the close course right under the Sugar Loaf so we're really pleased to come away with three good results," Burling said.

"We had a bit of a tough one in that second race when we ended up about 12th. We thought we were in really good shape up the first beat, and then just got one thing wrong and we pretty much ended up right at the back and then we were battling through the fleet for the rest of the race to get back to 12th."

"We had two races yesterday which were good for us, just a nice solid start, and it was good to get out and put the hammer down today and get three firsts."

"Not such a great race in the second one (they were 12th), but it was pleasing the way we bounced back and were able to take two more firsts. We're happy but we also know there's plenty more work to do this week."

Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech compete in the 49erFX in Rio

Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech compete in the 49erFX in Rio Photo: Sailing Energy

Despite the forecast for stronger breeze on the three outside courses, that didn't eventuate and the 49erFX, Laser and Finn fleets played a long waiting game until the inner course areas came free and they each sailed one race in light breeze late in the day.

Maloney and Meech weren't fazed and they added a solid keeper score with a fifth place. The skiff women are now fourth overall and will be back on the water on the fourth day.

Nacra 17 sailors Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders in Rio

Nacra 17 sailors Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders in Rio Photo: Sailing Energy

Jones and Saunders relinquished their early lead in the mixed multihull Nacra 17 class, but remain well placed in fourth overall at the end of racing with a total of six races now on the board.

They started the day with a win in the 17-strong class, and added a tidy 3rd in the second race. Placing 13th in the final race pushes their net points total out to 21 with Germany, Netherlands and Australia edging ahead of the New Zealanders.

The Nacra fleet have a reserve day scheduled on the fourth day, allowing Jones and Saunders and their rivals and day to recuperate off the water before racing again in Rio.

After a long day offshore waiting for wind the Finn fleet came inside the bay to complete one race late in the day in Rio.

New Zealander Josh Junior had a good result with a fourth to climb to sixth overall.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in action in Rio

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in action in Rio Photo: Sailing Energy

It hasn't been such a good regatta so far for Aleh and Powrie.

But they remain seventh overall after a fifth and a ninth in their two races , though they're on equal points with the Spanish crew in sixth.

"It wasn't too bad," Powrie said. "We didn't quite feel that we had the boat up to speed today, which didn't help, but it was more making a few calls that were not quite the smartest options! It was however a good learning day, so happy enough with that, and looking forward to trying again tomorrow!"

"We'll just keep chipping away and try and keep improving."

The men's 470 fleet also sailed two races on day three, with New Zealand pair Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox placing 17th and 12th to lie 15th overall after four races.

Like the Finns and 49erFX the Laser fleet had to wait for a free inside course to sail just one race - New Zealand's Andy Maloney placed 23rd and is now lying 12th.

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