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9 February 2005, 10:36 am
Three Aussie and One Kiwi Team In Finals
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Hardy Cup
Sydney, Australia

Potential America's Cup and international match racing champions from Australia and New Zealand will show their sailing skills on Sydney Harbour tomorrow when four young yachtsmen and their crews fight out the finals of the prestigious ISAF Grade 3 Hardy Cup international youth match racing series.
Three Australian teams and one from New Zealand, all aged under 25, qualified for the finals after a day of highly tactical match racing in Elliott 6 sportsboats, sailed by a crew of three.

Heading the finalists is the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron No 1 team, helmed by the internationally successful Michael DUNSTAN, who came through today's stage two for Pool A unbeaten in five flights.

In fact, Dunstan has lost only once in three days of match racing against opponents from other Australian clubs, New Zealand, Britain, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the USA.

In second place after today's Pool A stage two racing was New Zealander Simon MINORPRIO sailing for Vision Yachting, with four wins from five flights. Minoprio last week beat Dunstan in a closely fought final of the Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth.

The other two finalists had to be decided by a countback of their previous results after three other teams in Pool A each scored two wins.

In the end, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's race committee and the chief umpire had to go to last Monday's first round-robin to split the three teams.

In the end, the other two places in the semi-finals went to the two Cruising Yacht Club of Australia teams, with Seve JARVIN (CYCA 1) taking third berth and Evan WALKER (CYCA 2) the fourth.

Dunstan has the right to choose his semi-final opponent tomorrow morning and the other two teams will race each other, the winners of the semi-finals being the first teams to score two winning points.

The final, which will follow the semi-finals, will be a best-of-five-race encounter, the winner of the 2005 Hardy Cup being the first team to score three winning points out of five flights.

The two lowest scoring teams in the semi-finals will sail each other for third and fourth places overall.

Eliminated from the semi-finals today was last year's Hardy Cup winner Laurie JURY and his Kiwi Match team from New Zealand along with Mark DORLING and the RSYS 2 team.

Sailing on a course below the scenic harbour hillside of Taronga Park Zoo, the 12 teams had a day of tricky sailing, with the cooler southerly wind switching direction regularly between 150 and 180 degrees and ranging in strength from 8 to 20 knots.

Courage award of the day went to the sole woman skipper, Katie SPITHILL from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, who was hit in the head by the mainsail boom of the Italian yacht, skippered by Matteo SAVELLI, during a close manoeuvre.

Race officials took Katie to a spectator boat where she was given ice packs for a sore head - but she recovered and continued racing to finish Pool B with three flight wins. The umpires black flagged the Italians!

Sir James Hardy, the former America's Cup, Olympic and World Champion yachtsman who donated the Hardy Cup to promote youth match racing, will watch tomorrow's final day of racing on the Harbour.

Hardy Cup finalists after Pool A stage 2 eliminations:

  • Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 1, Australia (helmsman Michael DUNSTAN) 5 wins 0 losses.
  • Vision Yachting, New Zealand (Simon MINOPRIO) 4 wins, 2 losses.
  • Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 1, Australia (Seve JARVIN) 2 wins, three losses.
  • CYCA 2, Australia (Evan WALKER) 2 wins three losses.
Peter Campbell (As Amended by ISAF)
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