49er crusader Ben Remocker checks in from Porto and the Europeans.
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, and since then, it’s been 16 victories in a row, a record for any 49er sailor of any era. But their run 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, pushing themselves into a nearly 20-point 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 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 Stuart Bithell, Stuart also a Silver medalist from London in the 470.
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, but they have rarely had to come back and beat Nathan Outteridge head to head on the final day.
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.