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29 September 2008, 09:58 am
New Zealand And Australia Share The Honours At ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final In Oceania
Australia and New Zealand compete in Auckland
Australia and New Zealand compete at the at the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for Oceania

ISAF Nations Cup 2009
Auckland, New Zealand

Australia's women and New Zealand's open teams won through to the Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup following a closely fought Regional Final for Oceania held in Auckland.
Racing at the second Regional Final of the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup began at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland on Friday. After a morning practice session comprising a mixed round-robin at the request of the competitors, racing got underway at 13:30 in absolutely sparkling conditions but with a shifty light southwesterly breeze that ranged from 8-13 knots. Racing was made challenging for sailors and the race management personnel alike.

The format for the event is direct to finals with the first to win seven races declared the winner of the Regional Finals and then going on from here to the Grand Finals of the ISAF Nations Cup in Brazil next March. The battle for the Oceania Regional Final was a straight shoot out between Australia and New Zealand, with one team from each nation competing in both the women's and open events.

The Australians sent two very strong teams and this was reflected in the results from the matches on the opening day. Katie SPITHILL (AUS), the #5 skipper in the Women's ISAF World Match Racing Rankings, and her Australian women's team led New Zealand's Jessica SMYTH 4-0, however competition couldn't be closer in the Open Division with Evan WALKER's Australian team going out to 2-0 before the Kiwi's skippered by young star Adrian SHORT came back and won the next two races to level the score.

On Saturday, the forecast promised more wind and New Zealand's SMYTH and her crew left the dock determined to claw back the 4-0 lead that SPITHILL's Australian women's crew had established the day before. Things went well and they won the first two races of the day before the Australians found their form again and bounced back to win the next three races and clinch the women's place in the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Brazil next year.

The Australian and New Zealand open teams continued their close battle from Friday, trading wins before young SHORT and his Kiwi crew put three wins together to give them a buffer and then went on to be the eventual winners by 7-4. This means New Zealand join Portugal as the second nation to qualify for the open event at the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Porto Alegre, Brazil next March.

The next stage of the ISAF Nations Cup is the Regional Final for the Women's Europe 1 and Europe 2 grouping, taking place in Antibes, France from 7-11 October.

ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final - Qualified Nations

Open

Brazil - host
France - defending champion
Portugal
New Zealand

Women

Brazil - host
France - defending champion
Australia

Find out more about the fifth edition of the ISAF Nations Cup and learn more on the history of the event and past winners at the ISAF Nations Cup microsite www.sailing.org/nationscup.

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