Some of the world’s top international match race teams are set to descend on Auckland for the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta in March. A mix of America’s Cup experience plus rising young talent will do battle in the invitational regatta on the Waitemata Harbour.
The regatta kicks off the Auckland Festival of Sailing, which will see a crowded calendar of thrilling yacht racing through most of March. Now that the America’s Cup is once again back in play following the recent Deed of Gift Match in Valencia, top match racing skippers are honing their skills once more in preparation for a multi-challenger event expected to take place in 2013.
The Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta will be run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and will take place off the Westhaven breakwater, where spectators will be able to watch the action.
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 – former Areva Challenge)
Karol Jablonski (POL – former Desafio Espanol)
Magnus Holmberg (SWE – former Victory Challenge)
Chris Dickson (NZL – former BMW ORACLE Racing)
Bertrand Pacé (FRA – former BMW ORACLE Racing)
Adam Minoprio (NZL – BlackMatch Racing)
Torvar Mirsky (AUS – Mirsky Racing Team).
Racing will take place in identical Farr-designed MRX yachts and will comprise a double round robin, semi-final and final. Weather permitting, the semi-finals and finals will be decided by the first skipper to win three matches.
As the regatta approaches its climax on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 4 – 6), spectators and fans will be able to follow the action live on a dedicated radio station on 103fm organized through Live Sport. International yachtsman and commentator Peter Lester will provide expert analysis and blow by blow accounts of the racing.
The Auckland Festival of Sailing comprises a series of on and off the water events. The Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta is followed by the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland (where five of the skippers from the Omega regatta will also compete) and by the BMW Sailing World Cup Final. Also part of the festival is the Auckland International Boat Show.