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PRESS RELEASE - STEINLAGER/LINE 7 CUP

Auckland - 20/3/00

TWO KIWIS AND A POM AT THE TOP.

Two New Zealanders and a Briton share the top of the scoreboard at the end of the first day of the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup, the opening event on the Swedish Match Tour 2000.

Team New Zealand's Dean Barker, fellow Kiwi Gavin Brady and Andy Green of Britain are all undefeated at this early stage of the regatta, which is being sailed on the Waitemata Harbour.

Others looking strong at this stage, after three races, are Cameron Appleton, also of Team New Zealand, Germany's Marcus Weiser, Frenchman Bertrand Pace and veteran Kiwi Chris Dickson, all with two wins on the board.

On a day of clear blue skies and a light, shifty north easterly breeze, the crews had to use subtle skills to gain the upper hand, particularly with the strong tides having a big influence.

At the end of the morning session Gavin Brady, who represents Paul Cayard's AmericaOne team from San Francisco, was the clear leader in group one, being the only undefeated skipper.

The young Kiwi, who lives in America, beat Bertrand Pace, Marcus Weiser and Denmark's Jes Gram-Hansen, to chalk up his three points on the board. When group two went on the water in the afternoon, the breeze had firmed a little in strength, but was still shifty and a bit patchy.

Barker, the new "golden boy" of sailing, quickly gained control in his first two encounters, against Australia's James Spithill and Swede Bjorn Hansen, but had a fight on his hands before defeating fellow Team New Zealand skipper Cameron Appleton.

Commenting on his day, Barker said, "we're just pretty happy to come away with three wins.

"It was pretty tricky conditions and it was very hard before the start to say this is the side we have to have, and quite often things would change in the pre-start and we would basically change our call on that."

Britain's Andy Green and his Colour Craft Team, got the better of Bjorn Hansen, James Spithill and New Zealander Phil Douglas.

Languishing well down the scoreboard, with only one win, is former match racing world champion, and Nippon America's Cup skipper Peter Gilmour and his Pizza LA team.

The series continues until Saturday, with the top four teams at the end of two round robins progressing to the semi-finals on Friday, with the best of seven race finals on Saturday.

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