A New Zealand crew skippered Roger Pagani has won won the World Final of the BMW Sailing Cup in Italy, from eight competitor countries.
New Zealand has followed in the footsteps of Germany (2007 in Valencia) and Spain (2008 in Dubai), becoming the third nation to win the World Final of the BMW Sailing Cup. The team with the furthest distance to travel can now add the trophy to their luggage for the long journey back to the other end of the world.
In brilliant sunshine on Saturday afternoon, helmsman Graeme Sutherland’s boat won the deciding match race against the local heroes from Team Italy to clinch a narrow 3:2 victory in a thrilling final series. After four high-class regatta days on Lake Garda, just off Malcesine (Italy), the celebrations on board the Bénéteau First Class 7.5 knew no bounds.
Sutherland, trimmers Roger Pagani, Josh Puckey and Sam Bell, and bowman Nick Bastow had not only won a nerve-wracking final against Italy, but had also defeated strong competition from Denmark, Germany, France, Great Britain, Malta and Spain on their way to the final.
'Congratulations to the New Zealanders on their victory at the 2009 BMW Sailing Cup World Final. We have witnessed many hard-fought and exciting races, as well as a spectacular final series, which New Zealand ultimately just came through to win by a bow’s length,' said Ralf Hussmann, head of BMW Sports Marketing.
'The spectators on land were able to watch high-class sailing at close hand, in excellent sailing conditions and against a wonderful backdrop. All the teams coped admirably with the challenges posed by an international regatta with fleet and match racing formats at a demanding, inland venue. They are sure to take home some unforgettable memories, which is precisely the aim of the BMW Sailing Cup.'
The event is considered the most prestigious amateur international title for keelboat sailors. Pagani and crew qualified for the event after winning the BMW Sailing Cup for New Zealand, which was fought out by divisional winners of the BMW Auckland Regatta.
Pagani owns the Young 88 Triple 888 which last week won the coveted national championship title, under the helmsmanship of Rod Davis (while Roger was in Italy – his crew jumped on a plane to join him in Italy after winning the local event).
In an earlier report: Italy and New Zealand make it to the Final.
Today, Saturday, will see the final stage of the 2009 BMW Sailing Cup World Final. On Lake Garda off Malcesine (Italy), Team Italy races against Team New Zealand in a best-of-5 match racing series.
Yesterday the 'Kiwis' had won the Quarterfinals one point ahead of their closest rivals from Italy. Team New Zealand opted for Team Great Britain as their opponent in the Semifinal. This left Team Italy sailing against Team Denmark in the other Semifinal.
Both best-of-5 match racing series have been completed by Friday afternoon, with New Zealand (3:1) and Italy (3:0) making it to the finals. Great Britain and Denmark will meet in the Petite Final.
Friday also saw the Sail-Off for fifth and seventh places. Team Germany won against Team Spain and placed fifth in the final standings. Team France, beating Malta, took rank seven.
1th New Zealand, 6 points
2nd Italy, 7 points
3rd Denmark, 9 points
4th Great Britain, 10 points