Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn have won their first big international regatta together, taking out the 49er class at Kiel Week in Germany.
The pair, who have been sailing together for the last two years, have threatened at times, picking up World Cup Series silver medals in Hyeres and Enoshima in 2018 and they also led at last year's sailing world championships in Aarhus for a handful of days before eventually finishing seventh.
They went into last night's (NZ time) medal race in second but their second in that top 10 showdown was enough for them to finish ahead of Poland's Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski, with James Peters and Fynn Sterritt of Great Britain third.
It was another good week for the New Zealand 49er squad with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke fifth and Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie 11th. Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey won silver fleet and there were also some encouraging results from youngsters Jackson Keon and Scott McKenzie (40th) and Sam Bacon and Henry Gautrey (50th) in the 82-boat fleet.
Kiel Week is one of the world's biggest regattas, featuring myriad classes, and over the nine days 4000 sailors from 60 nations competed in more than 1900 boats. The 49er fleet for the 125th edition of the regatta was particularly strong, making for some very worthwhile racing.
Dunning Beck and Gunn emerged from qualifying in good shape, banking six scores in the top five, and then keeping things consistent in gold fleet racing when the breeze dropped. They went into the medal race only one point behind the Poles but, given nine of the 10 boats could win gold, it was all to play for.
"The last two days were really stressful and I think everyone was up and down so it made for an interesting regatta," Gunn said. "It was a pretty tricky week. The second half in gold fleet was pretty shifty. In qualifying we had some good breeze so kept the scorecard clean and held on to the end.
"It doesn't mean anything in terms of [Olympic] qualification but it means a lot to win a big event and we're happy with it."
Burling and Tuke were particularly impressive in the early stages of the regatta, and were in first after winning two races in qualifying. They had their chances in the medal race, and were in a medal position halfway through, but had to settle for fifth and fifth overall.
"It was an awesome week of racing in Kiel," Tuke said on Instagram, "some of the best conditions we have raced in for a long time. We always enjoy the event in Kiel but this year was the best yet with the amazing run of weather we had.
"Not the result we were after with fifth place but we didn't sail well enough at the business end to be at the front."
The 49er squad, like the rest of New Zealand's top Olympic class sailors, will now switch their attentions to Japan for a training block and series of regattas as they get used to the venue to be used for next year's Tokyo Games.
Results and standings from the Kiel Week regatta in Germany:
49er (82 boats)
1st: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 2 5 4 1 4 5 10 5 7 (24) 4 - 47 points
2nd: Lukasz Przybytek / Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) 7 6 5 4 1 4 1 (15) 11 3 10 - 52 pts
3rd: James Peters / Fynn Sterritt (GBR) 11 6 3 5 3 12 (29 BFD) 1 6 4 2 - 53 pts
5th: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 3 1 8 3 1 2 6 14 14 (15) 8 - 60 pts
11th: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 2 3 7 3 6 3 8 13 (24) 17 STP - 62 pts
29th: Josh Porebski / Trent Rippey (NZL) 5 15 (28 DSQ) 6 9 8 4 3 1 - 51 pts
40th: Jackson Keon / Scott McKenzie (NZL) 4 8 13 15 16 12 (23) 15 6 - 89 pts
50th: Sam Bacon / Henry Gautrey (NZL) 14 25 18 18 7 11 15 (28) 22 - 130 pts
- Pic: Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn's second in the medal race was enough for them to take the title. Photo: Kieler Woche.