Burling says Tokyo medal race the closest he's ever seen

New Zealand sailor Peter Burling says he’s never witnessed a race as close as the one that saw New Zealand win a silver medal in yesterday’s Olympic 49er final.

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Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are hoping to take some time to reflect on a year that brought an America's Cup victory and Olympic silver medal. Source: 1 NEWS

Burling and Blair Tuke came agonisingly close to defending their Olympic gold medal from Rio five years ago.

After coming third in the medal race, the New Zealanders were tied on points with Great Britain.

But the British won the tie-breaker, edging out the German boat by a matter of inches, to finish ahead of the Kiwis in Enoshima.

Agonising finish leaves Tuke, Burling with silver, GB snatch gold

“Obviously it was pretty close to swinging our way, but in saying that it’s been an incredibly tough week and incredibly enjoyable racing against some pretty strong competition,” Burling told 1 NEWS.

“We’re pretty stoked to still walk away with a silver medal, but it’s just such a fine margin at the end of what’s been seven days of pretty intensive racing.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen one this close.”

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are now New Zealand's most successful Olympic sailors. Source: Associated Press

The notoriously busy pair now have a rare couple of weeks off to relax, before they head back to the world of SailGP.

“We’re certainly proud of how the last few years have gone and the different things we’ve taken on, it’s been a heck of a journey,” Tuke said.

“We’ve loved it, in saying that we felt we were prepared to a high level to try win a gold medal coming here so there’s still that disappointment.

“But it’s been an awesome journey. It’s time now probably to put the feet up a little bit, obviously we’ve got some Sail GP and the rest of the season coming up, but in between that time to reflect and enjoy it.”

The silver medal win sees them surpass boardsailor Barbara Kendall as the country’s most successful Olympic sailors.