Line up for Line-7

Kiwi match racing event attracts top stars

Friday March 8th 2002, Author: John Roberson, Location: Australasia
Seven America's Cup skippers, from six teams, have confirmed they will do battle in the upcoming Steinlager/Line 7 match racing regatta, organised by the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron beginning on 19th March.

The line up will include Team New Zealand's Dean Barker, who will be up against some of the potential candidates whom he could face on the starting line of the America's Cup in a year's time.

Magnus Holmberg of Sweden's Victory Challenge, Luc Pillot representing the controversial French Le Defi Areva team, from America's Oracle Racing comes Peter Holmberg, while Italy's Prada have both Gavin Brady and Rod Davis in the event.

American Ken Read, who is nominated skipper for Dennis Conner's challenge through the New York Yacht Club, has recently accepted his "wild card" invitation to compete in the Steinlager Line 7 Regatta.

The only non-America's Cup skipper in the line-up so far is Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen, who is ranked 5th in the world.

Magnus Holmberg, who leads his country's Cup challenge, also tops the world match racing rankings, and has held that number one spot since August last year. Holmberg has never won the Steinlager/Line 7 regatta and is looking forward to tough competition.

He commented on the coming Steinlager Line 7 Regatta, "it is a strong line-up, and it has been a while since we did small boat match racing, so we'll probably be off the pace at the beginning of the week, and hope to get it together as we progress."

In the queue to get into the event, via the qualifying series, which immediately precedes the Steinlager/Line 7 regatta, are Andy Green and Ian Walker from Britain's GBR Challenge, double Olympic gold medallist Jesper Bank of the Victory Challenge, and Italy's Paolo Cian representing the Mascalzone Latino team.

The Steinlager/Line 7 regatta promises to be one of the hardest fought match racing events of 2002, with so much at stake in the way of national pride, psychological points, and of course the prize money.

The regatta runs from 19th to 24th March, and will be sailed in 36 foot Bruce Farr designed MRX boats, with the race course right off the Viaduct Basin in downtown Auckland.

The Royal NZ Yacht Squadron has organised international match-racing for the past 23 years. In that time it has become renown for attracting the involvement of some of the world's yachting legends. The roll honour board of the 23 previous winners reads as a who's who in international sailing.

This is the second year that the Steinlager Line 7 Regatta has been held off the end of Hobson Wharf, with a greater public profile and a range of onshore activities to supplement racing.

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