Samstag, 23. September 2017

BMW Sailing Cup: New Zealand defends title

Challenging conditions for highlight of amateur regatta series

Auckland, (lifePR) - New Zealand has become the first country to achieve back-to-back victories at the World Final of the BMW Sailing Cup. Skipper Phil Robertson's young crew secured the title in front of a home crowd in Auckland, thus repeating Team New Zealand's triumph from last year on Lake Garda, Italy. This year, New Zealand were joined by Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain at the largest amateur regatta series in the world.

The 2010 World Final, which BMW ran in cooperation with the renowned Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Bucksland Beach Yacht Club, asked everything of the sailors, all of whom are amateurs according to ISAF regulations. In strong winds, with gusts reaching up to 30 knots over the course of the four-day regatta, the crews demonstrated all their sailing skills and produced some thrilling duels.

Ralf Hussmann, General Manager of BMW Sports Marketing, said BMW was proud to have brought the fourth Sailing Cup World Final to Auckland. "This city is known around the world as the City of Sails," he said. "We had seven passionate teams competing and the level of sailing was very high.

"Sailing represents values of teamwork, competition, challenge, environmental awareness and aesthetics, which also match BMW's values," Hussmann said. "We have seen these teams from all over the world come together in a great spirit of friendly and fair competition."

On identical "Farr MRX" yachts, the crews first contested the fleet races. The top three teams from the first round, New Zealand, Italy and Malta, qualified directly for the semi-final. The rest of the crews went into a knock-out system (match racing) to determine the fourth semi-finalist, with Team Portugal coming out on top.

Conditions were also testing on the final day, with an 18 knot south-westerly blowing against a strong incoming tide causing Auckland's Waitemata Harbour to develop a challenging chop. The programme for the day involved completing the semi-finals of the match racing and then progressing directly to the finals. Team Portugal defeated Team Italy 2-0 to advance to the final, while Team New Zealand dispatched Team Malta by the same score.

This set up a best-of-five final between Team New Zealand and Team Portugal, while Teams Malta and Italy sailed a best-of-three petite final for 3rd and 4th place, which Italy won in two straight matches.

The final got off to a rocky start for Team Portugal when they collected two penalties in the pre-start, one for a port-starboard incident and one for failing to keep clear in the windward position. The Portuguese team were unable to recover and the score ticked over to 1-0 in favour of New Zealand. In the second match, New Zealand led away from the start line and extended all the way to go to match point on 2-0. In the third match, Team Portugal made it a much closer battle, keeping the action close all the way, but New Zealand crossed the line ahead to clinch the title.

"This is a great one to add to our sailing CV," Robertson said. "My crew - Garth Ellingham, Sam Bell, Logan Fraser and Brad Farrand - was really superb. "This is our first regatta of the year, so we are off to a good start. We were in boats we are used to and on our home waters, so that all helped."

John Tavares of Portugal, speaking for his crew of Tiago Leal, Helder Basilio, André Basilio and Joáo Baganha, was gracious in defeat. "When we beat Team Italy in the semi-finals, our motivation was very high. We were manoeuvring the boat well and our helmsman, Helder Basilio, who has more match racing experience, was doing a good job. But New Zealand were too strong. They sailed really well, but we are very happy with our result."

2010 BMW Sailing Cup World Final - Final Standings.

1. Team Nez Zealand
2. Team Portugal
3. Team Italy
4. Team Malta
5. Team Spain
6. Team Hong Kong
7. Team Germany
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