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Another Kiwi crew on top of 49er fleet at Kiel Week


Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey lead after the first day att Kiel Week. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing
There was the familiar sight of a Kiwi crew on top of the 49er standings at Kiel Week today but it wasn't the pair the sailing world has got used to.

With Olympic and world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke involved with Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup in Bermuda, Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey are presently carrying Kiwi hopes in the skiff.

The pair had an excellent day on the water in Kiel, winning two races and claiming a fourth in the other to lead the standings ahead of multiple world and Olympic champion Robert Scheidt and his fellow Brazilian Gabriel Borges. What made it significant was the fact the conditions were very light and shifty, making consistency very difficult to achieve.

Burling and Tuke dominated the 49er in the last Olympic cycle, winning all but one regatta they sailed between the London and Rio Olympics, but are undecided about whether they will return to the 49er after the America's Cup. The pair will consider whether a tilt at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is realistic following a break after the America's Cup.

In the meantime, a bunch of young 49er crews are staking a claim to be Burling and Tuke's successors, with Porebski and Rippey presently at the head of the pack. They finished in the top 10 at two World Cup regattas this year and will be looking to continue their strong run in Kiel.

Kiel Week is one of the biggest regattas outside of world and European championships and, apart from those involved in Bermuda with the America's Cup, most of the world's top sailors are in Germany this week.

Tonight (NZ time) is the last day or qualifying for the 69 boats in the 49er fleet before the top 25 move through to the gold fleet and five races before the double-points medal race.

There are also 48 in the 49erFX fleet and Olympic silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were in third after the first day of racing, collecting one first, a fourth and a 17th.

"We did a lot right on the race course today and Molly and I feel like we can take a lot forward going into tomorrow," Maloney said.

"One of our goals for this event was getting off the start line and being able to control our space on the line and afterwards with a good lane. Tomorrow we are going to look at being a bit more assertive again and just owning the start line and having good performances around the course."

Porebski and Rippey are chasing consistency, and more breeze is forecast which should make life easier for the fleet.

"We really want to go out and get four good races tomorrow and keep in touch with the front, and hopefully stay in the lead," Rippey said.

Olympian Andrew May was 16th after the first day of racing in the 2.4mR Para World Sailing Championship after posting a 17th and an 18th.

New Zealand results and standings at the Kiel Week regatta in Germany overnight (NZT):

49er (69 boats)

1st - Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) (4) 1 1 - 2 points

2nd - Robert Schiedt / Gabriel Borges (BRA) 1 2 (7) - 3 points

3rd - Erik Heil / Thomas Plossel (GER) (15) 1 3 - 4 points

49erFX (48 boats)

1st: Victoria Jurczok / Anika Lorenz (GER) (26) 1 1 - 2 points

2nd: Annemiek Bekkering / Marieke Jongens (NED) 1 3 (6) - 4 points

3rd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 4 1 (17) - 5 points

2.4mR Para World Sailing Championship (41 boats)

16th: Andrew May (NZL) 17 18 - 35 points.

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