13 Feb 2016

Tuke and Burling off to winning start in Florida

10:15 am on 13 February 2016

New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have got their 49er World Championships off to a winning start in the opening race of the regatta in Florida.

New Zealand 49er sailors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling.

New Zealand 49er sailors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 49er fleet, featuring close to 70 boats, sailed just one heat in blustery, wavy conditions which increased as the day progressed.

The women's 49erFX skiff fleet, now in the final build-up to their first ever Olympics, were scheduled to sail after the men, but their racing was abandoned.

Taking the win in their first fleet race, Burling and Tuke share the early lead in the Championship with Denmark's Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen who took the gun in their heat.

"Today was day one of the 49er World Champs and it was a pretty big forecast last night," said Burling after reaching shore.

"I think there was a fair bit of tension this morning as to whether we'd actually get out there for a race today because we've all seen how choppy and tricky it gets out there when the breeze gets up."

"We were really fortunate that it was light enough this morning to get out there for a race."

"We're really happy to take a win in that first race. We got off the line pretty well and managed to keep it upright," he continued. "I think a fair few guys were swimming and doing a fair bit of damage to their gear and we're really happy to get a solid one under our belt to start with."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.