Dickson supreme

At conclusion of Trieste Challenge-La Sfida match racing in Trieste

Sunday September 3rd 2006, Author: Jane Eagleson, Location: Italy
BMW ORACLE Racing CEO and skipper Chris Dickson and his crew sealed victory at the Trieste Challenge-La Sfida on Italy's east coast, beating Areva Challenge 3-2 in the finals.

The regatta has been a true masterclass in sailing by Dickson’s team. BMW ORACLE Racing finished the double round robin unbeaten at the top of the leaderboard and went on to defeat Luna Rossa Challenge 2-0 in the semifinals. Today, the team clinched a well-deserved overall victory with another flawless performance. Dickson (NZL), Eric Doyle (USA), Jamie Gale (NZL), Craig Monk (NZL), Jann Neergaard (DEN), Paul Westlake (AUS), Kazuhiko Sofuku (JPN) and Jon Ziskind (USA) have won 13 of their 15 races off Trieste.

The final series came down to the wire, when BMW ORACLE Racing outpaced the team of Sébastian Col, current leader of the World Match Racing Tour on the final run of the decisive race to win by a boat length.

“It was our outstanding crew work that won us the regatta,” Dickson said. “Our ability to change gears and our boathandling was spot on. We worked hard as a team on every aspect of light wind sailing.”

Paul 'Flipper' Westlake agreed. “No one individual could have made the difference this week. We made it happen as a team.”

The 50ft Open class yachts raced in the event are the largest used on the match racing circuit. The boats have a large sail plan and a displacement of less than five tons. They are raced by a crew of ten, whereas most of the other match racing events around the world involve crews of four or five.

BMW ORACLE Racing’s winning team comprised eight regular team members, joined by two young local sailors.

“They really fit well into our team,” said Westlake. “They were a real asset. We’re grateful for their performance.”

Five America's Cup teams had been entered into the event, which took place in Trieste's harbour. Besides the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa Challenge, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team, China Team and Areva Challenge also competed in the regatta.

Final standings

1. BMW Oracle - Chris Dickson
2. Team Areva - Sébastien Col
3. Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team - Jes Gram Hansen
4. Luna Rossa - Francesco De Angelis
5. China Team - Pierre Mas

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