Biggest Race Since Cup Attracts World’s Best
For immediate release
November 21, 2005
Biggest Race Since America’s Cup Attracts World’s Best Sailors
Five of the world’s top ten sailors along with New Zealanders Dean Barker and Chris Dickson are set to compete in the biggest yacht race New Zealand has seen since the America’s Cup.
World number one Ed Baird of Team Alinghi will take part in this International Sailing Federation event.
The race - the Auckland Match Racing Cup - will take place from January 25 to 29 2006, on the Waitemata Harbour on the city side of the Harbour Bridge, near the Viaduct.
Dean Barker, who will skipper the Emirates Team New Zealand boat, said New Zealand was extremely fortunate to have secured the race.
“This grade one event will be the highlight of international yachting next year and will put New Zealand back on the world stage.
“I’m looking forward to racing at home against some of the best match racers in the world.
“This event is a fantastic race in its own right. But it’s also a perfect opportunity to sharpen Emirates Team New Zealand’s skills for the 2007 America’s Cup,” he said
Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard said he is absolutely delighted that Auckland City is home to this internationally recognised sailing event, attracting sailors of world-class calibre.
“As during the America’s Cup, the eyes of the sailing world will be upon us and we relish the opportunity to work with Auckland Match Racing Cup organisers in making this event a huge success for Auckland,” he said.
During five days of racing, ten teams of five members each will compete for a prize pool of $US100,000 put forward by race organiser Springs Promotions.
Teams will sail on the Farr MRX match racing fleet used for the former Steinlager Line 7 Cup regattas.
Nine of the maximum ten entries in the competition are confirmed. The tenth entry will be the winner of the New Zealand Match Racing Championships 2005, which will take place across four days of racing starting on November 24.
The nine confirmed skippers and teams are:
1. Sebastian Col K-Challenge
2. Bertrand Pace BMW ORACLE Racing
3. Chris Dickson BMW ORACLE Racing
4. Dean Barker Emirates Team New Zealand
5. Ed Baird Alinghi
6. Ian Williams Great Britain
7. Mathieu Richard France
8. Staffan Lindberg Finland
9. Magnus Holmberg Sweden/Victory Challenge
The Auckland Match Racing Cup is a Springs Promotions initiative and is being hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This is a grade one international event and entry to the competition is by invitation only. The New Zealand America’s Cup Race Committee has been reconvened to oversee the event and the competition has been officially sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (www.isaf.org).
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has held international match racing events since 1979, initially as the Citizen International Match Racing Series, then the Steinlager Cup and now there is the new era of the Auckland Match Racing Cup.