Will this be the day Tuke and Burling get Beaten

It’s been almost an entire quadrennial since Peter Burling and Blair Tuke stood anywhere but the top of the podium after a regatta.  They stood second in London, joyful of their Silver Medals but determined to improve the result.

Since then it’s been 17 victories in a row, a record for any 49er sailor of any era, one that is in jeopardy on the final day of racing at the 2015 49er European Championship in Porto.  Just a day ago, the record looked set to continue, with Burling and Tuke having a solid day in Gold fleet when nobody else could and clearing almost 20 points into the lead.

49er championships are long, however, and Burling and Tuke have long maintained it’s not been as easy as it’s looked.  On the second day of their gold fleet, they did not excel, tough they did not exactly stumble.  Instead, they muddled along with middling result, looking like normal gold fleet 49er sailors do when they each are up against the best in the sport every day.  They finished the day in first, but their lead had dwindled to 7 points, just clearing London 2012 Gold medalists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and Brit test event representatives John Pink and Sturart Bithell, Stuart also a Silver medalist from London in the 470.

Then the day reached up and bit them a bit, when a three way protest between the top three teams in the regatta brought things to a boil.  The media room was intense as all three teams reviewed the live broadcast of the incident and then took it to the jury room.  Rarely has one seemingly inconsequential mark rounding gotten so much scrutiny from so many amazing sailors.

The jury deliberated for almost an hour in the incident.  In the end both the New Zealanders and British were disqualified from the race, pushing Pink/Bithell back to 8th while Burling/Tuke are still in the hunt, only five points back in 3rd.

Over the past 30 months of Burling and Tuke dominance they have won by wide margins and small, they’ve won world Championships and local events, they’ve even won the Intergalactics where the crews race the final double point race and they’ve won a South American’s where they missed the first day of the regatta accepting the ISAF Sailor of the Year Awards, but they have never had to come back and beat Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen head to head on the final day.  49er.org ran a poll on whether the Kiwis would claim another victory here, and 75% of the fan base assumed they would.  That was before they had to make a come back to do it, which will not be so easy.

Join us for the final day live broadcast of the 2015 European Championship from the mouth of the river Douro in Porto, Portugal for three 25 boat medal races and a medal race in the river itself to decide the championship.  Racing starts at 10:25 local time with the medal race at 15:30.  Fantastic conditions are expected with another typical Porto day of clear skies, large swell, and strong winds.

11/07/15 - Porto (POR) - 49er Europeans Porto 2015 - Day 6 - © Ricardo Pinto
11/07/15 – Porto (POR) – 49er Europeans Porto 2015 – Day 6 – © Ricardo Pinto

Burling-Tuke Win List

  • 2013 Sail Auckland
  • 2013 49er Euros
  • 2013 49er Worlds
  • 2014 NZL 49er Nationals
  • 2014 Sail Auckland
  • 2014 ISAF sailing World Cup Palma
  • 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
  • 2014 49er Euros
  • 2014 Aquace Rio test event
  • 2014 49er Worlds
  • 2014 49er South Americans
  • 2014 49er Intergalactics – Rio
  • 2015 NZL 49er Nationals
  • 2015 Sail Auckland
  • 2015 Princesa Sofia Regatta (Palma)
  • 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
  • 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth