America's Cup World Series Plymouth - Emirates Team New Zealand won the Plymouth Match Racing Championship after halting the rapid rise of Team Korea with a 2-0 victory in wildly variable winds on Plymouth Sound.
'It’s nice to win the match racing here after coming second in the last one,' Barker said after the sweeping victory. 'It’s pretty cool to see this many people up on The Hoe. Hopefully we’re putting on a good show, and now we’ll get ready to do it all again tomorrow. It would be nice to get the double. It’s a winner-takes-all race and anything can happen, as you saw today.'
Earlier in the day, Chris Draper’s crew on Team Korea continued their giant-killing ways with a resounding 2-0 victory over Artemis Racing in the second Semi-Final. With four of Team Korea’s crew from Great Britain, Draper’s success was very popular with the Plymouth crowds cheering on The Hoe. The wind was up and down, the sun battled to break through the rain clouds scudding across the Devon sky, but still the crowds were engaged and enjoying the action, especially Draper’s march to the final.
'We felt we learned a lot in Cascais, we’re really pleased we got it together and hope that we’ve got some energy left for tomorrow,' said an exhausted Chris Draper after sailing four races on Friday and three on Saturday – more than anyone else in the fleet.
'It’s disappointing in that we led both races at the bottom marks and then not to win them is not our best effort,' said Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson about his semi final loss. 'But they sailed great races.'
Hutchinson’s team made amends for their Korean defeat by beating Oracle Racing Coutts in the race-off for third and fourth places. Russell Coutts fell foul of the course boundary just meters from the Plymouth shore, the Oracle penalty turning a tight match into a relatively easy win for the Swedish crew.
In the battle to decide fifth and sixth places, Oracle Racing Spithill applied some good old match racing skills in the pre-start, luffing up Energy Team and leaving them trailing in their wake down the first leg. From there James Spithill and crew were never threatened by the French.
In the fight for seventh and eighth, China Team looked set for a similarly dominant win when Green Comm Racing broke the start line a split second too early. By the time the Spanish boat had restarted, Charlie Ogletree’s crew was more than a leg ahead. But at the second leeward gate the Chinese rounded one of the gate marks from the incorrect side and from that point were unknowingly sailing the wrong course. It was only when they crossed the finish line that the Chinese realized their error, and Vasilij Zbogar’s team learned that they had picked up the win.
With a strong wind forecast for tomorrow’s winner-takes-all race for the Plymouth Fleet Racing Championship, the crews will be keen to get plenty of rest for aching muscles and minds after a very challenging day on the water. Saturday’s Results: Semi Final Two:
Team Korea defeated Artemis Racing; 2-0 Placing Finals:
Green Comm Racing defeated China Team; 1-0
ORACLE Racing Spithill defeated Energy Team; 1-0
Artemis Racing defeated ORACLE Racing Coutts; 1-0 Final:
Emirates Team New Zealand defeated Team Korea; 2-0 Standings – Plymouth Match Racing Championship:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand
2. Team Korea
3. Artemis Racing
4. ORACLE Racing Coutts
5. ORACLE Racing Spithill
6. Energy Team
7. Green Comm Racing
8. China Team
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