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Peter Burling, Blair Tuke experience mixed opening day at 49er World Champs


Kiwi sailing duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have battled through wild winds and a capsized catamaran to collect mixed results on the opening day of the 49er world championships in Auckland.

Peter Burling (L) and Blair Tuke (R) sailing in the 49er class. Source: Photosport

A storm that swept through Auckland yesterday threatened to ruin any chance of racing with winds exceeding 50 knots out on the courses.

As a result, event organisers made an early call to suspend racing for the women's 49erFX class as well as the mixed crew Nacra 17, but a decision on the 49ers was held off until later in the day, which eventually led to racing at 5pm in southwest winds of approximately 13 knots.

That saw Burling and Tuke hit the water in one of three fleets with the four-time world champions and Olympic gold medallists quick to make a statement.

The Kiwi pair won their opening race by an impressive one minute, 23 seconds over the Danish crew of Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht Jensen.

Tuke and Burling looked to be adding a second win to their tally in the following race with the winds increased by about 10 knots but a capsize while they were at the front of the pack proved costly.

They finished 11th in that race and now sit 11th overall.

"It was a big pitchpole mid-gybe, which is not ideal," Tuke explained. "It was pretty gutting. There were quite gnarly waves down by Browns Island and good puff. We are good enough to gybe in that stuff, it was just execution.

"It's pretty frustrating because we were going so nicely, but it's still alright and there's still a long way to go in qualifying so we will bounce back."

The other Kiwi boats to feature on the water included fellow 49er crew Isaac McHardie and Will McKenzie, who are lying 19th overall after an 11th and a fifth in their two races, and Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn in the yellow fleet who are 21st.

Racing continues today from 11am NZT.