Pete Burling and Blair Tuke returned to 49er sailing like they had never been away.
They won six of the 11 races at the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta to finish 14 points ahead of Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie, with Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey a further eight points behind in third.
“It’s been great,” Burling said. “It’s been a little like riding a bike; a lot of things come back really quickly. At the end of the day you need to put in a lot of time and that’s we’ve been doing over the last four or five months.”
The Olympic and four-time 49er world champions made a habit of winning in the last Olympic cycle and started their new campaign in style, against arguably the strongest New Zealand 49er fleet ever, as well as a handful of international crews, and it will be a result that many around the world will take notice of.
Burling and Tuke will soon head to Europe to measure themselves against the rest of the 49er fleet, starting with April’s Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, Mallorca.
The majority of New Zealand’s top sailors will also compete in Palma, including Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders who took out the Nacra 17.
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox dominated the 470, winning seven of the eight races, but there were some encouraging signs from new women’s combination Susannah Pyatt and Brianna Reynolds-Smith who were second overall.
Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta final overall leaders
49er (16 boats)
1st: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) – 17 points
2nd: Isaac McHardie / William Mckenzie (NZL) – 31 pts
3rd: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) – 28 pts
49erFX (4 boats)
1st: Ben Paterson / Sean Paterson (NZL) – 12 pts
2nd: Crystal Sun / Olivia Hobbs (NZL) – 28 pts
3rd: Emma French / Emma Stenhouse (NZL) – 13 pts
Nacra 17 (4 boats)
1st: Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders (NZL) – 13 pts
2nd: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) – 21 pts
3rd: Erica Dawson / Henry Haslett (NZL) – 22 pts
470 (7 boats)
1st: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) – 7 pts
2nd: Susannah Pyatt / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) – 19 pts
3rd: Kidong Park / Shin Sang Min (KOR) (8 DNF) – 20 pts