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Peter Burling

Top sailors heading to Sir Peter Blake Regatta

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Competitors at the upcoming Sir Peter Blake Regatta won't have trouble seeing how far it's possible to go in the sport of sailing.

Olympic and four-time world 49er champion and America's Cup winner Blair Tuke will be on hand for the opening morning of the two-day regatta, and it's hoped teammate Peter Burling will also join him, and Stu Bannatyne and Daryl Wislang, who this year won the Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team, will be present at prizegiving.

For many, The Sir Peter Blake Regatta is the first major regatta they have participated in and that's highlighted by the fact the Optimist green fleet is usually the largest of all the classes with more than 100 entries.

Others, though, will want to get their name on the Sir Peter Blake Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the outstanding sailor of the weekend. In 2005, that happened to be a 14-year-old Burling (pictured) and others include two-time Olympic medallist Jo Aleh (2004), Olympic bronze medallist Sam Meech (2006) and more recently Josh Armit (2015) who has won two world titles in the past 18 months.

"It's quite an illustrious alumni," said Mark Orams of the Torbay Sailing Club who together with the likes of Peter Montgomery was a key individual in setting up the regatta to honour the memory of Blake who was killed in 2001. "Peter Burling won as a 14-year-old, so it shows this regatta is a breeding ground for youngsters who have the potential to go on to international success."

The main objective of the regatta, though, is fun and it's part of the reason why more than 600 sailors are expected to compete at the Torbay Sailing Club on December 1-2.

It's seen as the world's largest centreboard regatta and caters for a whole swathe of classes, from Optimists and O'pen Bics to Starlings and Sunbursts. In fact, the regatta is open to all centreboard, monohull, multihull yachts and sailboards complying with their class rules provided four or more of any class enters by the closing date.

Entries close on the evening of November 28, except Optimist green fleet which is open until Friday evening. It is possible to enter up until Saturday morning but will incur a late fee. See here for the entry form and notice of race

Olympians often take part and last year Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders competed in the Nacra 17 alongside a handful of international crews.

This year, Zhik are offering one youngster competing at the Sir Peter Blake Regatta an awesome chance to go sailing with New Zealand’s current top 49er crew, Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn, and a $150 Zhik voucher.

Sir Peter Blake Memorial Trophy honours list

2017: Josh Hyde & Caleb Armit
2016: Sean Herbert
2015: Josh Armit
2014: Scott McKenzie
2013: Jackson Keon
2012: Nick Egnot Johnson
2011: Markus Somerville
2010: Jayvee Buchanen
2009: Jayvee Buchanen
2008: Scott Barnes
2007: Sara Winther
2006: Sam Meech
2005: Peter Burling
2004: Jo Aleh
2003: Daniel Willcox
2002: Marco Grael