Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kiwis Win Plymouth Match Racing Championship

Emirates Team New Zealand has won the Plymouth Match Racing Championship after stalling Team Korea's inspired rise with a 2-0 victory in wildly variable winds on Plymouth Sound.
Photo: © 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin_Raget
"It’s nice to win the match racing here after coming second in the last one,” said ETNZ Skipper Dean Barker. “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.”
ETNZ's Dean Barker Photo: © 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin_Raget
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.
Photo: © 2011 ACEA/Gilles Martin_Raget
“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. “But they sailed great races.”

Hutchinson’s team made amends for their Korean defeat by beating ORACLE Racing Coutts in the race-off for 3rd and 4th 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 5th and 6th 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 7th and 8th, 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.

A strong wind is forecast for tomorrow’s winner-takes-all Plymouth Fleet Racing Championship.
Racing is scheduled to start at 1500 local time (GMT+1).

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
9. Aleph

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