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11 January 2007, 10:53 am
Two Weeks To Go
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Auckland Match Racing Cup 2007
Auckland, New Zealand

The ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup starts in just two weeks' time, with leading America's Cup stars Dean BARKER (NZL) and James SPITHILL (AUS) featured amongst ten world class skippers appearing in New Zealand from 24-28 January.
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The public will be able to watch the intense quick-fire yacht races featuring ten world class skippers free of charge and just metres from the action by coming down to the Harbour Bridge-end of Westhaven Marina, Auckland.

Great Chance For Spectators

Attractions will include a purpose built grandstand, food and drink stalls, free car parking and the opportunity to see some of the world's top sailors competing in the ISAF Grade 1 event including BARKER of Emirates Team New Zealand and SPITHILL of Italian team Luna Rossa.

Racing starts at 10:00 each day and features 20 minute round-robin races and approximately 25 races a day.

Semi-finals will take place on Saturday 27 January and finals will take place on Sunday, 28 January. The event has a lucrative $US 50,000 prize pool. Spectators can go to www.aucklandmatchracingcup.co.nz for location details, directions and latest information.

Cup Preview

Event organizer, Dave STEWART, said it is the last chance to see team members from two of the teams tipped to win the America's Cup regatta before they compete in Valencia, Spain.

'The eyes of the international sailing world will be on Dean BARKER and James SPITHILL and their respective teams. There will be a lot of anticipation and excitement surrounding their races, which will make for a great atmosphere down at Westhaven,' he said.

Other skippers competing in the event include Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), who are currently first and second respectively on the World Championship leaderboard, and Kiwi brothers Adam MINOPRIO and Simon MINOPRIO.

BARKER Ready To Go

BARKER, who will skipper the Emirates Team New Zealand boat and is the defending champion, said he is looking forward to the upcoming racing, 'It is always fantastic to have the opportunity to race in home waters against some of the best match racers in the world.

'The event itself is a great competition and this year it is particularly significant as it is the perfect opportunity before the America's Cup to check how some of the competition is developing,' he said.

Mayor of Auckland City, Dick HUBBARD, said the event is an annual highlight of Auckland's event calendar bringing lasting economic benefits to the area.

'Events like this are important for Auckland as part of establishing ourselves as a world class city - these events in turn bring revenue to the whole of Auckland through people coming from around the world to be part of the yachting event,' he said.

The public will also have the chance to see BARKER, SPITHILL and all the other world class skippers at the closing ceremony outside Soul Bar on the Viaduct around 15:00 when the winner sails in after the final race on Sunday 28 January.

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