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Steinlager Line 7 Cup Match Race Attracts Powerful Lineup

Auckland, NZ, March 19, 1999-- Competition in the Steinlager Line 7 Cup match racing series in Auckland, NZ, starts on Saturday, March 20 with a preliminary series to decide the final three starters. The preliminary series finishes March 22 and is followed by the Principal Series which starts Tuesday, March 23 and finishes Sunday, March 28. The format is two round robins, followed by a best-of-seven semi-finals and a best-of-seven finals. Short of the America's Cup, this year's Steinlager Line 7 Cup match race regatta has attracted one of the most powerful line-ups of match racers ever assembled in Auckland. The regatta has a hall of fame look about it with six of the seven skippers in the main draw either current or former America's Cup helmsmen.

PRESS RELEASE, March 19, 1999

The only non-America's Cup skipper in the main draw is Magnus Holmberg of Sweden. Otherwise, Gavin Brady, Chris Law, Ed Baird, Dean Barker, Paul Cayard and Chris Dickson all have, or are busy accumulating, America's Cup credentials to burn.

Absent from the line up is Peter Gilmour, whose Nippon Challenge duties keep him away from the event. Team New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts is the current title-holder, but, sadly he too, will be absent. Last year, however, Dean Barker, also of Team New Zealand, pushed Coutts right to the wire and proved he is no respecter of rank. Similarly, in this year's New Zealand Match Race championships, Gavin Brady, now ranked No. 2 in the world, showed no reverence for his former mentor and Tag Heuer skipper, Chris Dickson, defeating him in a thrilling final.

Paul Cayard, skipper of AmericaOne, has won this event before and makes it into the draw through a wild card invitation.

The remaining three places in the Steinlager Line 7 Cup come from the top three finishers in a preliminary series, which looks about as formidable as the main event. Entered so far are John Cutler, of America True, Francesco de Angelis of Prada Italy, Australian James Spithill, who is being touted as a likely helmsman for Syd Fischer's Cup campaign, and John Kolius of the Hawaii-based Aloha syndicate.

For more about this major match race series go to the Steinlager Line Seven Cup official web site. Also visit the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron site. For more in this series of reports, look at AmericaOne's Grand Prix Sailing News page.

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