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28 November 2006, 09:29 am
BARKER Wins Fourth Title
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New Zealand Match Racing Championship 2006
Auckland, New Zealand

A spectacular final in Auckland ended with Dean BARKER (NZL) winning his fourth ISAF Grade 3 New Zealand Match Racing Championship. The Emirates skippers got the better of a nail biting final match against another of the Kiwi match racing heavyweights Gavin BRADY (NZL).
BARKER won the first match by 55 seconds, BRADY came back to win race 2 by 14 seconds and then took race 3 by 29 seconds. In race 4, a match break point ended in a close luffing match, contact right on the finish line and two penalties to BRADY, giving BARKER the win to level it up!

The finals were now down to the deciding race. Off the start it was clear BARKER wanted the left and BRADY the right, and at the top mark for the first time as the boats came together BARKER was in front by almost 30 seconds. In the strong tide as BARKER rounded the top mark he was propelled towards the bottom and went on to extend his lead and win race 5 by 54 seconds.

This is the fourth time BARKER has won the New Zealand Match Racing Championships. First in 1998 and then three times in a row in 2004, 2005 and now the hat-trick in 2006. He is the only skipper to win the illustrious title four times; the next skipper winning three times is BRADY.

DICKSON Third

Chris DICKSON (NZL) beat Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) 2-0 in the petit-final, MINOPRIO fought hard against the BMW ORACLE helmsman in the mid range 14-18 knots breeze, but DICKSON showed his experience winning race 1 by 36 seconds and race 2 by 20 seconds.

Over the past four days young MINOPRIO proved he can race against the best and with a very mature head on his shoulders.

The winner of this event also receives an invitation to the ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup, also held by the Squadron at the end of January 2007. BARKER is already a confirmed entry for this event. DICKSON and BRADY are unable to attend as they will be training full-time on the AC boats, so the invitation was given to an elated MINOPRIO and his Blackmatch racing team - who could hardly believe it when Commodore of the Squadron, John CRAWFORD handed him the invitation at the prizegiving. The 21 year old, who has sailed so maturely against this line up of New Zealand's top match racing sailors, accepted the invitation - of course!

New Zealand Match Race Final Standings

1. Dean BARKER (NZL)
2. Gavin BRADY (NZL)
3. Chris DICKSON (NZL)
4. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL)
5. Graeme SUTHERLAND (NZL)
6. Laurie JURY (NZL)
7. Simon MINOPRIO (NZL)
8. Scott DICKSON (USA)
9. Simon DICKEY (NZL)
10. Phil ROBERTSON (NZL)

Sara Roberts (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Gavin BRADY hits Dean BARKER and gains a penalty on the finish line of race 4:© RNZYS Media
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