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Top lineup for NZ Match Racing Championships

'Dean Barker starts to windward of his coach, Rod Davis, in Race 3 of the Final of the New Zealand Match Racing Championships. Davis went on to win 3-2.'    Chris Cameron/ETNZ©    Click Here to view large photo

The 2008 New Zealand Match racing Championships get underway next week with a lineup of 12 crews including one led by triple Olympic Gold Medallist, Ben Ainslie.

Ainslie is the skipper of the fledgling GBR America's Cup team, Team Origin, and will lead a crew comprising 2008 Gold Medallist in the Star Class, Iain Percy and 2008 Australian Olympic rep in the Finn class Anthony Nossiter. Christian Kemp will be trimmer and Matt Cornwell (bowman). Ainslie was backup helmsman for Team New Zealand in the 2007 America's Cup, while Percy was the helmsman of the Italian challenger +39 in the same event.

Ainslie's main competition is expected to come from Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker - with four of the NZL-92 crew aboard - Don Cowie (main), Ray Davies (tactician) James Dagg (trimmer) and Jeremy Lomas (bow).

Keen to continue their habit of taking some big scalps of the match racing world will be the BlackMatch Racing Team. Skipper Adam Minoprio will skipper along with Tony Rae (main), David Swete (pit), Tom Powrie (trimmer) and Nick Blackman (bow). A product of the RNZYS Youth match racing program this team are now aligned with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Chris Dickson on starboard, catches Rod Davis on port in the 2007 event. -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=51059   Click Here to view large photo

The other dark horse will be Rod Davis, with Olympic Gold and Silver medals in his drawer. The match racing veteran and America's Cup skipper was winning match races back in the 1980's as well as skippering America's Cup campaigns in 1987 and 1992. Davis won this regatta last year, to the surprise of some - but showing that his experience takes a lot of rubbing out. He will have Graeme Sutherland (main), Brett Eliot (pit) and the athletic NZL-92 bowman Richard Meacham as trimmer.

Two womens crews will be competing in this open event, with their presence taking on a new interest now that match racing has been added to the the Womens events for the 2012 Olympics.

Black Match racing in the 2007 New Zealand Match Racing Championships -  RNZYS Media©  
The release from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron follows:

The 2008 New Zealand Match Racing Championships are only days away, and with a line up of top New Zealand match racers plus three-times Olympic gold medal winner Ben Ainslie from the UK, this event will host some highly competitive racing!!

Last year’s winner Rod Davis will be out to defend his title, as well as recognised names such as Dean Barker, Adam Minoprio, and Laurie Jury, who have all competed on the international match racing circuit and will know what to expect from an event such as this.

Phil Robertson from the RNZYS and Josh Junior from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington will also be names to watch out for, having recently competed in events such as the Ficker Cup in LA, where Phil placed 2nd, and the Nations Cup qualifier, where both made the semi finals.

Also out there will be two female skippers, Jess Smyth who will sail with an all womens crew, and Jan Dawson. These two ladies are not to be underestimated, and both having competed in this event before they should give the boys a run for their money!

Dean Barker - one of the favorites for the 2008 New Zealand Match racing title -  © Richard Gladwell?nid=51059  

Last but defiantly not least, two youth teams are on the field, with youth training programme skippers Reuben Corbett and winner of the Nations Cup Regional Finals Adrian Short. These teams will be out there to place their mark on the National match racing field, it will be interesting to see how they go!

With umpires coming from Australia and America, top competitors from New Zealand and the UK, we are likely to see some intense racing on the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. Fantastic viewing can be found along the RNZYS seawall, which runs right along the waterfront. Daily results and photos will be published on our website, and keep you updated on the dramas and spectacles that may unfold. Anything can happen in match racing, and this event is no exception, as we eagerly await the racing to commence!!

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World


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9:03 PM Fri 21 Nov 2008 GMT

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