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23 January 2007, 10:09 am
Final Countdown
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Auckland Match Racing Cup 2007
Auckland, New Zealand

The world's top skippers have begun to arrive in New Zealand as the countdown to the ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup begins, with less than two days to go until racing starts. The event, which is being hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, will start on the Waitemata Harbour this Wednesday 24 January and run until Sunday 28 January.
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Commodore of the Squadron, John CRAWFORD, said he was looking forward to a great week of racing, 'Skippers have come from as far as Russia, Japan and the United Kingdom to compete. It is a great competition for spectators with the racing just outside the Squadron at Westhaven,' he said.

At 15:00 on Sunday 28 January, the public will have the opportunity to see the world-class skippers including favourite America's Cup contenders - Dean BARKER (NZL) and James SPITHILL (AUS), world #2 Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and world #3 Matthieu RICHARD (FRA), up-close at the cup presentation outside Soul Bar in the Viaduct Harbour.

Auckland City Mayor, Dick HUBBARD, said the Auckland Match Racing Cup is not only a significant event on the international yachting calendar, but events like this are important to Auckland for their ability to reinforce the positive reputation generated by previous international regattas such as the America's Cup and the country's world-class marine sector.

Great Showcase

'In addition to providing Aucklanders with the opportunity to view the world's best yachtsmen in action for the last time before the America's Cup, I am confident that the Auckland Match Racing Cup will attract considerable direct and indirect expenditure from a variety of sources including racing teams, sponsors, spectators, international media and visitors,' he said.

Racing starts at 10:00 each day and features 20 minute round robin races and approximately 25 races a day. The semi-finals for the cup will be on Saturday 27 January and finals will take place on Sunday 28 January.

The public is invited to watch the racing at a purpose-built grandstand at the Harbour Bridge-end of Westhaven Marina. There is free car parking and food and drink stalls available here. Spectators can go to www.aucklandmatchracingcup.co.nz for location details, directions and latest information.

Isabel Carlyon (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Dean BARKER is looking to defend his title:© Ivor Wilkins/Offshore Images
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