Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fireworks expected in Omega Cup Match Racing tomorrow

[Source: Emirates Team NZ] Fierce duels were fought on the Waitemata Harbour during a practice session for the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta today gave notice that fireworks can be expected over the next four days as the invited field of top international match racers do battle for the top honours.

A mix of America’s Cup experience plus rising young talent is represented in the field of 10 crews – and the young guns fired the first shots when they took out a two-race pro-am regatta at the conclusion of the practice session.

Adam Minoprio and his crew, who took the match race circuit by storm last year and are ranked No. 1 in the world, defied the superstition against winning a pre-regatta contest. 'We were a bit concerned about that,' he admitted, but shrugged off the curse by announcing he was ready to take on some of the legends of match racing who have assembled for this contest.

'We are eager to get into it and take them on,' he said.

Perhaps speaking for the America’s Cup contingent represented in the line-up, Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker threw down the challenge to the young up and comers. 'We are keen to get a piece of them,' he said. 'We have seen their results and they are going very strong. We are looking forward to getting into the racing.'

Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, who conceived of the regatta, said it was all about giving some of the world’s top match racers an opportunity to sail off against each other. Many of the world’s best match racers were not at the top of the official rankings because they did not compete regularly on the circuit, he said, hence the idea of inviting some of the best names in the business to Auckland to go head to head and show what they were made of.

Skippers who have accepted invitations to compete are: Dean Barker (NZL – Emirates Team New Zealand); Ben Ainslie (GBR – Team Origin); Francesco Bruni (ITA – Azzurra Sailing Team); Sebastian Col (FRA – ALL4ONE team); Karol Jablonski (POL – former Desafio Español); Magnus Holmberg (SWE – former Victory Challenge); Chris Dickson (NZL – former BMW ORACLE Racing); Bertrand Pacé (FRA – Aleph racing) ; Adam Minoprio (NZL – BlackMatch Racing); Torvar Mirsky (AUS – Mirsky Racing Team).

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