Good first day for US team

As world team racing championship gets underway

Sunday February 2nd 2003, Author: Jim Murdoch, Location: Australasia
A classic sailing rivalry was rekindled on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour today between old foes New Zealand and the United States in the World Team Racing Championships. The teams who finished one-two in the last world championship in 2001 once again topped the leaderboard on day one of round robin racing.

At the end of a perfect day’s sailing in 5-10 knot winds, the United States 2 team was undefeated after nine races, while defending champions New Zealand 1, from the Kerikeri Yacht Club, suffered just one hiccup in an otherwise faultless day.

Unscathed after a nine-hour day on the water, it was a big stride forward for the United States 2 team towards its goal – to snatch the world title off New Zealand in its third time trying. The Kiwis, two-time world champions, outsailed the Americans in the final of the last Team Racing championship in the Czech Republic.

Captain Tim Fallon said his New England team, who joined forces as college students six years ago, had stuck together with the aim of knocking the New Zealanders off their perch. "We get together as a team only three times a year, but we’re really determined to get New Zealand this time," he said.

The two teams have yet to meet head-to-head in this regatta. New Zealand 1, with three members of the Murdoch family in the six-strong team, notched up six wins and one loss, beaten by the other American team, USA1.

Three-quarters of the way through the round-robin, other nations are shaping up as strong contenders for the sail-off stages.

Ireland has two teams from the Royal St George Yacht Club, where team racing first originated over 50 years ago. One of its teams, Ireland 1, had a rewarding day on the water yesterday with a 7 win-2 loss record. The Czech Republic, United States 1 and the Netherlands were also among the frontrunners.

New Zealand 2, a group of talented youth sailors from Auckland’s Kohimarama Yacht Club led by Australasian Laser Radial champion Jake Bartrom, had a mixed first day, with five wins and four losses.

Round robin racing continues tomorrow (Monday, NZ time), on the Waitemata Harbour, a stone’s throw from the American Express Viaduct Harbour, home of the America’s Cup bases, before the fleet is divided into gold and silver leagues.

STANDINGS AT THE END OF RACE-DAY ONE
United States 1: 9 wins, 0 losses
New Zealand 1: 6 wins, 1 loss
Ireland 1: 7 wins, 2 losses
Czech Republic: 7 wins, 2 losses
United States 1: 7 wins, 2 losses
Netherlands: 6 wins, 3 losses
Great Britain 1: 5 wins, 3 losses
New Zealand 2: 5 wins, 4 losses
Great Britain 2: 5 wins, 4 losses
Australia 2: 2 wins, 5 losses
Ireland 2: 3 wins, 6 losses
Japan 2: 3 wins, 6 losses
Australia 1: 3 wins, 7 losses
Japan 1: 2 wins, 8 losses
India 1: 1 win, 8 losses
India 2: 0 wins, 10 losses

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