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Burling and Tuke within striking distance in Palma

The wind came out to play at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma overnight (NZ time) and, ominously for some of their rivals, it also signalled the emergence of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke into the top five of the 49er fleet.

The four-time world world champions are sailing their first international 49er regatta since winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and got off to a slow start. But they were seventh, first and third in today's three races, the first in gold fleet racing for the 49ers, to jump up eight places overall into fifth.

They still have some work to do to catch leaders Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell from Great Britain with one more day of gold fleet racing before the top-10 medal race but it has been an encouraging return to top-level Olympic class sailing.

They aren't the only Kiwis in contention in Palma. Andy Maloney continues to lead the Finn class with Josh Junior third, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are second in the 49erFX, Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox are third in the men's 470 and Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are sixth in the Nacra 17.

There was always going to be a lot of interest in how Burling and Tuke fared in their return to international 49er sailing and they got off to an inauspicious start, hitting the mark in their first race on their way to 18th and backing it up with a 23rd. Since then, they have returned results all in the top 10, including two race wins.

One of those came today in the strong and cold mistral wind that blew offshore from Palma. It proved challenging for many sailors, especially as wind speeds varied from 6 to 26 knots during the same race for the Laser and Nacra 17 classes.

"We had a good day out there for the first day of gold fleet racing," Tuke said. "Obviously we had a bit of ground to make up after qualifying but it was nice to get out there and put three low points on the board.

"We got off to a pretty difficult start in qualifying. It was really light and choppy and we struggled on day one a little bit with unforced errors and bad races but since then we have been improving and learning all the time.

"Hopefully we can bang out three more good ones tomorrow. We still have some catching up to do and we will have to sail really well if we want to get to the front but we are looking forward to going out there and executing some more good races. There's still plenty to play for."

It's the same in a number of other classes, including the Finn. Andy Maloney holds an 11-point lead over both Giles Scott of Great Britain and Josh Junior after banking a sixth and 14th in his two races today but admitted it was challenging in the conditions.

"It was difficult to find a perfect pattern with the shifts and therefore quite hard to always get it right today," Maloney said. "Josh and I both fought hard today and it's really exciting to be in the hunt going into the final day of gold fleet racing."

Snow-Hansen and Willcox continued their climb up the men's 470 leaderboard into third on the back of a 12th and fifth in today's two races. The Swedish pair of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom have a handy 14-point lead over the British pair of Luke Patience and Chris Grube, with the Kiwis a further six points behind.

"It was another solid day for us in the cold NW wind," Snow-Hansen said. "We were a bit sticky in the first race but battled for every point around the course. Big snakes and ladders so happy to come out with a keeper.

"Between races we got the boat moving faster with the help of [coach] Andrew Brown and had a much easier race up the front end. From here we just need to keep fighting for every point and sail cleanly."

Results after day 4 of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma overnight (NZ time):

49erFX (66 boats)

1st: Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 7 6 1 1 9 6 1 2 3 (11) 9 3 - 47 points
2nd: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 6 1 9 2 8 3 9 10 (14) 8 2 9 - 66 pts
3rd: Charlott Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) 1 2 4 (25) 4 8 2 1 1 13 24 8 - 68 pts

49er (108 boats)

1st: Dylan Fletcher / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 3 3 1 6 2 5 (10) 4 1 - 25 pts
2nd: Yago Lange / Klaus Lange (ARG) 1 5 (17) 2 1 6 5 2 11 - 33 pts
3rd: Diego Botin Le Chever / Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) 5 8 9 (13) 5 2 1 7 2 - 39 pts

5th: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 18 (23) 1 5 7 3 7 1 3 - 45 pts
13th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 3 11 8 8 3 3 12 18 (20) - 67 pts
17th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 8 4 11 8 20 5 (22) 9 14 - 79 pts

Silver fleet
35th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 4 9 15 23 19 9 12 12 (32) - 102 pts

Nacra 17 (59 boats)

1st: Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 2 5 3 9 1 7 4 3 (12) 5 10 3 - 52 pts
2nd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) (16) 4 5 1 7 8 3 7 4 2 12 9 - 62 pts
3rd: Vittorio Bissaro / Maelle Frascari (ITA) 7 5 3 2 3 2 (31 UFD) 16 13 1 1 10 - 63 pts

6th: Gemma Jones/ Jason Saunders (NZL) 1 7 1 5 2 2 15 11 (17) 11 11 12 - 78 pts
29th: Liv Mackay / Micah Wilkinson (NZL) 12 10 13 11 7 1 13 (31 UFD) 26 31 DNC 31 DNC 31 DNC - 186 pts

Finn (86 boats)

1st: Andy Maloney (NZL) 4 1 1 1 3 12 6 (14) - 28 pts
2nd: Giles Scott (GBR) 13 1 2 5 12 (14) 4 2 - 39 pts
3rd: Josh Junior (NZL) 1 7 1 (16) 1 9 7 13 - 39 pts

Men's 470 (73 boats)

1st: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 3 5 (10) 2 5 8 3 3 - 29 pts
2nd: Luke Patience / Chris Grube (GBR) 9 6 (13) 5 4 4 5 10 - 43 pts
3rd: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) - 8 7 (38 BFD) 9 6 2 12 5 - 49 pts

Women's 470 (45 boats)

1st: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) (13) 1 2 2 4 9 1 13 - 32 pts
2nd: Hannah Mills / Edilidh McIntyre (GBR) 3 4 4 (12) 5 2 5 11 - 35 pts
3rd: Tina Mrak / Veronika Macarol (SLO) 4 12 3 (34) 3 12 8 1 - 44 pts

39th: Susannah Pyatt / Brianna Reynolds-Smith (NZL) 17 43 (46 UFD) 17 31 37 36 32 - 212 pts

Laser Radial (118 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 1 1 1 1 5 7 13 (60 RET) - 29 pts
2nd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 12 1 2 (26) 3 11 7 12 - 48 pts
3rd: Erika Reineke (USA) 6 3 3 (21) 6 9 21 3 - 51 pts

Silver fleet
62nd: Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) (46) 7 33 41 37 12 4 2 - 139 pts
69th: Olivia Christie (NZL) 35 10 37 37 (38) 32 4 2 - 157 pts

Full results here


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