Barker and his Emirates crew lead after the 2nd day of racing in the Auckland Match Racing Cup 26/1/07

The second day of racing in the Auckland Match Racing Cup saw defending champion Dean Barker and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew top the leaderboard in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland yesterday, Thursday 25 January.

After notching up five victories in six matches, Barker said: “We are happy with the day’s results. We managed to win a couple of close ones and we felt we were sailing well.”

British contingent, Ian Williams achieved commendable results, with a score of 7-5, equal with Australian James Spithill. They are still in contention for a semi-final slot. Overall Ian Williams has had 13 wins and 5 losses, and currently sits in equal first with Barker and Richard.

Very powerful tides continued to play a major role in the racing yesterday, but a stronger and more steady breeze gave the competitors something stable to work with, after the opening day of racing was marked by very light, shifty breezes that combined with the tides, turned some of the matches into a lottery.

With Barker’s crew clear ahead on a 9-3 win-loss record, the race to make the semi-finals is still wide open. Local young gun, Adam Minoprio and his Blackmatch team is tied with Frenchman Mathieu Richard on 8-4. Minoprio showed promise at the recent New Zealand Match Race Championships, where he finished fourth behind a trio of hot America’s Cup crews.

Minoprio said: “Getting to the semi-finals is the first objective.” Minoprio recorded two wins against James Spithill and his Luna Rossa America’s Cup team on Wednesday, but was still berating himself for losses through lapses in concentration. “We don’t want to lose races through silly mistakes and we have made two of those so far,” he said.

Richard, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, said the racing was very close and was taking nothing for granted at this stage, saying the strong tides were definitely a factor. He commented: “The tides are part of the game here in Auckland. We knew that. It changes a lot of things about how you approach the starts and in the general tactics. It makes it interesting.”