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Emirates pair get off to flying start

Emirates Team New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke laid down a marker after dominating yesterday's opening day of racing for the double-handed 49er fleet at the Summer Olympics in Rio.

The 2015 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award winners came from behind to win both races contested on the waters of Guanabara Bay in steady 8-10 knots of breeze to carve out a six-point advantage on the leaderboard.

In second are Portugal's Jorge Lima and José Costa followed by Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel in third.

Burling and Tuke's America's Cup rivals Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, of Artemis Racing, who won the gold medal in the 49er class at the 2012 Olympic regatta in the United Kingdom, find themselves in eleventh after getting their title defence off to a wobbly start with finishes of thirteenth and eighth.

Burling and Tuke, silver medal-winners at the previous Games, did not enjoy the best of starts on the windward-leeward racecourse but managed to work their way to the front.

In the opening race the Kiwis rounded the first top mark in fifth but with superior boat speed sailing downwind managed to snatch the lead away from Beijing 2008 49er gold medal-winner Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lübeck of Denmark.

The Danes regained the lead on the very next leg before Burling and Tuke put themselves back in front on the final run and shut the door tight on the chasing pack.

Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski, of Poland, and Japan's Yukio Makino and Kenji Takahashi took second and third in the first race.

Second race saw Burling and Tuke round the first top mark in fourth after another luke warm start and trail leaders Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern until the final beat where they passed their Irish rivals and covered them the rest of the way to post a second straight bullet for the day.

Seaton and McGovern finished second and Germany's Heil and Ploessel third.

England's Giles Scott, another America's Cup sailor competing in Rio, leads the single-handed Finn class.

The Land Rover BAR sailor has two bullets under his belt so far and holds a nine-point advantage over second placed Vasilij Zbogar, of Slovenia, with Hungary's Zsombor Berecz a further 13 points adrift in third.

All Olympic fleet racing events consist of either a 10-race or 12-race qualifying series with competitors permitted one discard.

The top ten teams with the lowest overall score at the conclusion of the qualifying series will advance to the Medal Race where the points are doubled.

In control: Burling, right, and Tuke work their way through the fleet in Rio (Photograph by Gregorio Borgia/AP)

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Published August 13, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 13, 2016 at 1:06 am)

Emirates pair get off to flying start

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