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Burling, Tuke close to 4th Euro sail title

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/04/2016

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke look set for another 49er sailing title after extending their lead in the European championships in tricky conditions off Barcelona.

The New Zealand crew had placings of third, 17th and second in puffy winds on the second last day of racing.

They opened out their advantage over second-placed Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen by seven further points to 41 with four races to go, including the double-points medal race.

Burling and Tuke are seeking a fourth consecutive European title to go with their fourth straight world crown earlier in the year.

Victory would continue an amazing streak for the pair, who have strung together 24 straight regatta victories in the double-handed skiff class since finishing second behind Outteridge and Jensen at the 2012 London Olympics.

In the 49erFX, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech sailed themselves back into podium contention, climbing from ninth overall to fourth.

Maloney and Meech were the most-consistent pair in the fleet with a second and two fourth placings as some of their rivals struggled in the conditions.

With 69 points, they are eight behind Spain's Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos in third place.

Leading the event are Italians Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich on 50 points.

There was a milestone race win for two members of Yachting NZ's Fast Track Programme for up-and-coming sailors, Erica Dawson and Ellie Copeland, late in the afternoon.

Dawson and Copeland will go into the final day 11th overall and a chance to make the top-10 medal race.

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