Dean Barker crowned NZ Match Racing champion
[Source: RNZYS] The fourth and final day of the New Zealand Match Racing Championships was held in extremely frustrating conditions for the competitors and the Race Committee alike. A light southerly breeze prevailed for most of the day but was very shifty, so the volunteers aboard the mark laying boats work hard to maintain a fair and equal course.
The three remaining flights of the second round robin were completed in the morning, as the final charges for the four semi final places began. It was a tight contest between the leading six teams, and the day was sparked by an upsetting race for Dean Barker, when his winning streak was cut short by Ben Ainslie who beat him by 30 seconds. Rod Davis claimed a win over Adam Minoprio, whilst Laurie Jury beat Adrian Short, securing his spot in the semi finals. Minoprio fought back hard in the next flight, clawing a vital point back with an impressive win over Ben Ainslie. Minoprio then went onto beat Dean Barker in the following flight; however it wasn’t quite enough to see him through to the final four.
Phil Robertson’s last hopes of making the semi finals were dashed by Laurie Jury, who beat Phil and put him out of the running for the top four. With Rod Davis securing a spot in semis, the four teams were decided. Ainslie, Barker, Jury, and Davis were then to fight it out for the match racing title.
Barker won the first race of the semi finals against Jury, who put up a fight in the second race to equal the scores. However the third race saw Barker into the finals and it was Ben Ainslie who was going to match him. After defeating Rod Davis, Ainslie took his spot in the final two, and it was all on from there!
The petit finals and finals saw some close racing as teams battled to get the 1st and 3rd placing. Jury had two wins over Davis, putting him in third place overall, whilst Barker had three consecutive wins over Ainslie, giving him the Auckland Match Racing Cup and making him the 2008 New Zealand Match Racing Championships winner.
With a day to spare the regatta came to end, with a forecast of very light winds tomorrow, the Race Committee was pleased to complete two round robins, semi finals and finals within four days. A very successful event, and after four exhausting days, the sailors, umpires, race committee, and all the volunteers will sleep well tonight. We’re looking forward to another exciting regatta next year!