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Kiwis win Noumea Match Racing Cup

'2008 Noumea Match Racing Cup - The NZers skippeerd by Michael Bullot (left) with Pierre Pennec and crew (right)'    Event Media

On the 8th of November the Match Racing Team of Mike Bullot, Chris Kitchen, Hayden Whitburn and Murray England travelled to Noumea to compete in the 2008 Noumea Match Racing Cup.

The event was sailed in Elliott 5.9’s which we were relatively inexperienced in but were lucky enough to have the use of one in Auckland before the event thanks to Chris Macindoe. We were able to get two nights out sailing before the event which was invaluable for our boat handling.

The event was very well organized and the 12 teams were very well looked after. The conditions were mainly light on the first three days until the finals where we saw a nice 15 knot breeze and very hot conditions.

We were pretty happy to be unbeaten after the two qualifying rounds and progressed to the final after a 2-0 score against a Korean team in the semi finals. The final saw us facing Frenchman Pierre Pennec, an ex Tornado Olympian and Mumm 36 Champion.

2008 Noumea Match Racing Cup -  Event Media  
Race 1: We were able to get two penalties on him in the pre start which then allowed us to sail relatively conservatively and stay out of trouble which we successfully did.

Race 2 was much closer both boats starting bow to bow with us slightly to leeward. We knew we wanted the left side so we were worked to squeeze him out, forcing him to tack, we then sailed towards the edge of the new pressure tacked and easily made a seven boat length gain. We kept a tight cover up the remainder of the beat to round the top mark with a 10 boat length gap. This was closed dramatically by the bottom of the first run as he trailed down some new pressure. The final beat saw us stretch out to a comfortable lead through some great shift taking and eventually won the race by 40 seconds.

Race 3 The wind had now built to around 15 knots and with under a minute before the start one of our pole strops blew out, forcing us to retire.

Final Race.
2008 Noumea Match Racing Cup - Mike Bullot, Hayden Whitburn, Chris Kitchen and Murray England -  Event Media  
With both teams improving over the regatta and the French team getting more aggressive in their pre starts the last race was very exciting, we managed to hold them out to the Starboard lay- line under the start line and using a spectator boat as an obstacle we could lead them in and covered them tightly up the first beat. We had a much better set around the top mark and extended in nice pressure we extended to win the final race by over 50 seconds.

We would like to thank the CNC Yacht Club for a great regatta also the Buckland’s Beach Yacht Club and Laurie Jury for the help and support we have been given over the last 5 months.

While Mike is now getting back into his Laser racing we are hoping to continue through next year with some selected events and see where we go from there.

Competing Teams

Jean-Christophe Vergé (NC), Gwenal Guttin, Didier Girardeau, Rémy Debordes
Tugdual Piriou (NC), Nicolas Vergé, Ghyslain Desbordes, Grégory Loste
Cédric Bouchet (NC), Alan Quéré, Laurent Cali, Jocelin Dupont
Roland Bone (NC), Pierre Laiss, Manu Domgui, Sylvie Avron
Boris François (NC), Mélanie Fur, Jean-Marc Gope, Benjamin Damien
Emmanuelle Merlo (NC), Lauren Pelen, Stéphanie Rolland, Mathilde Ingrassia
Patrick Baldi (NC), Nicolas Auteret, Christine Gaillard
Vincent Trinquet (NC), Julien Laporte, Edward Grattepanche, Sandrine Gravier
Mayeul Dalleau (NC), Olivier Lis, Pierre Perrin, Marlène Masson
Pierre Pennec (Fra), Antoine Rioux, Jérôme Esplaas, Titouan Piller
Park Ki-Cheol (Cor) Sung-Ahn, Byeong-Ki, Hoon-Seong
Mike Bullot (NZ), Hayden Whitburn, Chris Kitchen, Murray England

by Hayden Whitburn


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9:26 AM Wed 19 Nov 2008 GMT

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