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26 January 2006, 11:50 am
Barker Leads
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Auckland Match Racing Cup 2006
Auckland, New Zealand

After a consistent day with five wins and no losses, Dean BARKER and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew are alone at the top of the leaderboard in the ISAF Grade 1 Auckland Match Racing Cup.
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Racing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour was marked by light, patchy north-easterly breezes on the second day of the five-day event. As the day wore on, a strong incoming tide added complications to the equation.

Eleven matches of the 18-match double round robin have been completed and with only a single loss on the opening day, BARKER and his crew are enjoying a comfortable 10-1 scoreline, three wins clear of the second-placed team.

'We managed to sneak through today with all wins,' said BARKER. 'It was a very testing day. There was plenty happening and it was certainly never straight-forward.

'I was very pleased with the way we sailed today. In the light, puffy conditions, changing gears to suit the changing circumstances was crucial.'

BARKER was one of three skippers to notch up perfect scores today.

Frenchman Bertrand PACE, with his BMW Oracle Racing crew, started the day with a victory over his skipper and CEO, Chris DICKSON and went on to win all his succeeding matches to end the day three wins adrift of BARKER on 8-3.

'We had nice starts and good strategic decisions,' said the former world match racing champion. 'In the conditions we had today it was important to get in front from the beginning, because it was very hard to come from behind.'

McCarthy's Logic

Ed BAIRD and his Alinghi crew had a poor start to the regatta, with just one win on the opening day. But, they came out with guns blazing today and took five wins.

'This was a much better day,' said BAIRD.

'I have to give credit to our pitman Will MCCARTHY. When we had a talk this morning, I said it was not much fun on the first day.

'Will said, If we just finish one place better in each race, that would do the trick.'

In the one-on-one nature of match-racing, second place is a loss, but one place better is a win, so MCCARTHY'S logic became the Alinghi team's credo - and it worked.'

'This team has never sailed together in small boats,' said BAIRD. 'Because of the storm on Tuesday, we were not able to have a practice day, so when we started the regatta yesterday, we were making all our mistakes with live ammunition.'

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Mathieu Richard cuts the
Committee Boat rather finely at
the start of his match against Ed
© Ivor WILKINS/Offshore Images

Four Way Logjam

BAIRD is part of a four-way logjam of teams all on 6-5 scores, with Chris DICKSON of BMW ORACLE Racing, British sailor Ian WILLIAMS and Frenchman Mathieu RICHARD.

Just ahead of them on 7-4 is young Aucklander Cameron APPLETON.

Hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Auckland Match Racing Cup is a revival of Grade One international match racing that last took place on the Waitemata Harbour four years ago.

The format of the regatta features 10 invited international match racers competing in a double round robin, with the top four going through to the semi-finals and the top two competing in the finals. Racing is scheduled to finish on Sunday.

Auckland Match Racing Cup Standings

1. Dean BARKER (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand, 10-1
2. Bertrand PACE (FRA), BMW Oracle Racing, 8-3
3. Cameron APPLETON (NZL), K-Challenge, 7-4
4. Chris DICKSON (NZL), BMW Oracle Racing, 6-5
4. Ed BAIRD (USA), Alinghi, 6-5
4. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 6-5
4. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 6-5
8. Sebastian COL (FRA), K-Challenge, 4-7
9. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 2-9
10. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 0-11

For a complete list of all the news from the Auckland Match Racing Cup CLICK HERE.

Esmee DUNLOP (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Dean BARKER leads after day two © Ivor WILKINS/Offshore Images
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