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25 January 2007, 10:57 am
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Auckland Match Racing Cup 2007
Auckland, New Zealand

Defending champion Dean BARKER (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew topped the leaderboard of the ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup after the second day of racing was completed on the Waitemata Harbour. Behind BARKER the race for the three other semi-final slots is wide open.
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'We are happy with the day's results,' said BARKER, who notched up five victories in six matches today. 'We managed to win a couple of close ones and we felt we were sailing well.'

Very powerful tides continued to play a major role in the racing today, but a stronger and more steady breeze 'took some of the random factor out of it,' BARKER noted. In contrast, the opening day yesterday was marked by very light, shifty breezes, which, combined with the tides, turned some of the matches into a lottery.

Fight For The Semis

With BARKER's crew clear ahead on a 9-3 record, the race to make the semi-finals is still wide open. Local young gun, Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) and his Blackmatch team is tied with world #3 Matthieu RICHARD (FRA) on 8-4. MINOPRIO gave notice of his giant killer abilities at the recent ISAF Grade 3 New Zealand Match Race Championship, where he finished fourth behind a trio of hot America's Cup crews.

'Getting to the semi-finals is the first objective,' he said. MINOPRIO recorded two wins against James SPITHILL (AUS) and his Luna Rossa America's Cup team today, but was still berating himself for losses through lapses in concentration. 'We don't want to lose races through silly mistakes and we have made two of those so far,' he said.

RICHARD, said the racing was very close and was taking nothing for granted at this stage. He said the strong tides were definitely a factor. 'But, it is part of the game here in Auckland. We knew that. It changes a lot of things about how you approach the starts and in the general tactics. It makes it interesting.'

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Adam MINOPRIO lies second
after twice beating James
© Ivor Wilkins/
Offshore Images

Tables Turned On SPITHILL

SPITHILL carved his formidable reputation on the world match racing scene as a young firebrand and gave a wry smile at finding the tables turned with a younger generation now coming after him. 'It's not so good,' he said of his double defeats to MINOPRIO's crew. 'Those guys are doing really well. They have been sailing together a long time.'

With a score of 7-5 (equal with British world #2, Ian WILLIAMS), SPITHILL is still very much in contention for a semi-final slot. 'We have made a few mistakes, but I am fairly happy with where we are,' he said. 'We are still learning all the time and there is still a lot of sailing to go.'

The Race Committee completed six flights of racing today, finishing the first round robin and three flights of the second round robin. Ten teams from seven nations are competing in the Auckland Match Racing Cup. The regatta format features two round robins, followed by a semi-final and final on the weekend. Racing in the second round robins continues on the Waitemata Harbour tomorrow.

Round Robin Standings

1. Dean BARKER (NZL), 9-3
2. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 8-4
3. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), 8-4
4. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 7-5
5. James SPITHILL (AUS), 7-5
6. Takumi NAKAMURA (JPN), 5-7
7. Simon DICKEY (NZL), 5-7
8. Eugeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), 4-8
9. Simon MINOPRIO (NZL), 4-8
10. Brian ANGEL (USA), 3-9

Isabel Carlyon (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Dean BARKER leads in Auckland:© Ivor Wilkins/Offshore Images
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