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4 March 2010

Strong winds bring day 2 of the OMEGA Auckland Match Racing Regatta to an early end

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With winds gusting to over 25 knots and big, unpredictable windshifts, organizers called an early end to the second day of racing in the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta in New Zealand.

Only two flights had been completed when race officials decided to send the yachts off the race track, with Britain's Ben Ainslie strengthening his position atop the leaderboard. The triple Olympic gold medallist and his Team Origin crew won both their matches, the first over Sebastien Col and the second over New Zealand America's Cup veteran Chris Dickson.

Ainslie has compiled an 8-2 record; three teams, including Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, world match race champion Adam Minoprio and Polish ace Karol Jablonski are tied in second position at 6-4.

Before the racing day ended, there were some tight matches as the crews battled at the very limits of control.  In a tight race between Minoprio and former world match racing champion Magnus Holmberg of Sweden there were two lead changes and a wild charge for the finish line under spinnaker as Minoprio came from behind to take victory gun by 4 seconds. 

"The big problem was the gusts and the windshifts," said Minoprio. "We were getting 30-40 degree windshifts with big gusts. In these boats, you have to react very quickly in those conditions to keep control. We were a bit lucky. It was definitely on the edge."
Racing will resume on the Waitemata Harbour on Thursday.

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