Dean Barker and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew lead Auckland Match Racing Cup 26/1/06

After a consistent day with five wins and no losses, Dean Barker and his Emirates Team New Zealand crew are alone at the top of the leaderboard in the Auckland Match Racing Cup.

Racing on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour was marked by light, patchy north-easterly breezes on the second day of the five-day event. As the day wore on, a strong incoming tide added complications to the equation.

Eleven matches of the 18-match double round robin have been completed and with only a single loss on the opening day, Barker and his crew are enjoying a comfortable 10-1 scoreline, three wins clear of the second-placed team.

“We managed to sneak through today with all wins,” said Barker. “It was a very testing day. There was plenty happening and it was certainly never straight-forward.

“I was very pleased with the way we sailed today. In the light, puffy conditions, changing gears to suit the changing circumstances was crucial.”

Frenchman Bertrand Pace, with his BMW Oracle Racing crew, started the day with a victory over his skipper and CEO, Chris Dickson and went on to win all his succeeding matches to end the day three wins adrift of Barker on 8-3. “We had nice starts and good strategic decisions,” said the former world match racing champion. “In the conditions we had today it was important to get in front from the beginning, because it was very hard to come from behind.”

Ed Baird and his Alinghi crew had a poor start to the regatta, with just one win on the opening day. But, they came out with guns blazing today and took five wins.
Baird is part of a four-way logjam of teams all on 6-5 scores, with Chris Dickson of BMW ORACLE Racing, British sailor Ian Williams and Frenchman Mathieu Richard.

Just ahead of them on 7-4 is young Aucklander Cameron Appelton.

The format of the regatta features 10 invited international match racers competing in a double round robin, with the top four going through to the semi-finals and the top two competing in the finals. Racing is scheduled to finish on Sunday.

Results after 11 matches

Dean Barker (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand, 10-1

Bertrand Pace (FRA), BMW Oracle Racing, 8-3

Cameron Appleton (NZL), 7-4

Chris Dickson (NZL), BMW Oracle Racing, 6-5

Ed Baird (USA), Alinghi, 6-5

Ian Williams (GBR), 6-5

Mathieu Richard (FRA), 6-5

Sebastien Col (FRA), K-Challenge, 4-7

Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge, 2-9

Staffan Lindberg (FIN), 0-11