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Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix

Gales Force Crews Off the Water

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 19, 1996) — Winds gusting over 45 knots forced the cancellation of practice for the international crews in Auckland for the Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix on today.

Early in the day, three crews did venture on to the Waitemata Harbour for a practice session. They were Magnus Holmberg's Swedish team, Sten Mohr's Danish entry and Chris Law's line-up from the UK.

However, the wind rapidly rose beyond manageable limits and the teams were called in off the water, and the fleet of identical Farr MRXs remained tied up at the dock for the remainder of the day.

Racing in the series is scheduled to start tomorrow, although forecasts are for continuing high winds, which may force the Race Committee to delay proceedings. The format of the regatta is two round robins, followed by a best-of-seven semi-final on Saturday and a best-of-seven final on Sunday.

Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix

Salthouse Slays Some Giants in Qualifying Series

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 18, 1996) — Auckland sailor Dean Salthouse slayed some America's Cup giants on his way to winning the qualifying series for the Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix in Auckland Sunday.

At stake in the series were three places in the main event. Six skippers took part, including Rod Davis, a 20-year veteran of the America's Cup, and Murray Jones, a former New Zealand match-race champion and tactician to Russell Coutts in the Team New Zealand America's Cup line-up.

The regatta format was a double round robin and Salthouse emerged the clear winner with a score of 7 wins and 3 losses.

Next to qualify was Australian Neville Wittey (also 7-3), who helmed the America's Cup entry Sydney '95 in San Diego last year for Syd Fischer. He was followed by Gavin Brady (6-4), a graduate of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron youth program, who has done well on the international circuit, notably winning the Mumm 36 world championship in San Francisco this year.

Narrowly missing the cut was Davis (6-4), followed by Andrew Estcourt (2-8), another RNZYS youth program graduate, and Jones (2-8). With the scores tied all the way down the leaderboard, the final order was decided on countbacks.

For Salthouse this is his fourth year of competing in the feeder series, but the first time he has qualified as a skipper in his own right. However, he is no stranger to top-level match racing, having crewed in the main event several times before.

"I have won the event with American Ed Baird once, came 2nd to Russell Coutts with Baird, and finished 3rd with Neville Wittey," he said.

In the Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix itself, Salthouse, Wittey and Brady will come up against some of the stars of international match racing, including AmericaOne's Paul Cayard, Peter Gilmour of Australia, Magnus Holmberg of Sweden, Chris Law of the UK, and Roy Heiner of The Netherlands. The Steinlager Line 7 series begins in Auckland on Wednesday, with the finals scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24.

Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix

Strong Field to Compete for $NZ90,000 Prize Money

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 1996) — A strong line-up of international skippers and crews, including AmericaOne's Paul Cayard, will do battle in the Steinlager Line 7 Match Race Grand Prix in Auckland this week.

The event is New Zealand's premier match race contest, sailed under the auspices of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in a fleet of identical MRX sailboats. The regatta begins Wednesday, November 20, and finishes on Sunday, November 24.

At stake is $NZ90,000 worth of prize-money, which is distributed as follows: 1st $21,501; 2nd $12,897; 3rd $10,737; 4th $9,432; 5th $8,577; 6th $7,515; 7th $6,444; 8th $5,148; 9th $4,302; 10th $3,447.

The top seed for the event is Australia's Peter Gilmour, who is sailing with a Nippon Challenge America's Cup crew from Japan. Gilmour, coming straight off a win in the Nippon Cup in Japan, is aiming to end the year on a high note.

The seedings continue as follows: Magnus Holmberg of Sweden, Chris Law of the United Kingdom, Roy Heiner of The Netherlands, Sten Mohr of Denmark, and St. Francis Yacht Club's designated America's Cup skipper, Paul Cayard. Cayard has accepted a new wild card invitation to attend the regatta.

After the regatta, Cayard, tactician John Kostecki and designer Bruce Nelson will spend two weeks in Auckland training on the America's Cup course and familiarizing themselves with local conditions.

Ray Davies, New Zealand national match-race champion, is the 7th seed. The remaining three places will be filled from a qualifying series, which starts today. Six skippers are in contention: AustraliaOne skipper Rod Davis, Team New Zealand tactician Murray Jones, Sydney 95 helmsman Neville Wittey of Australia, New Zealand's Gavin Brady, fresh from winning the Mumm 36 worlds, and two local skippers, Dean Salthouse and Andrew Estcourt.

Notably absent from the series is Russell Coutts, ranked No. 1 on the match-race circuit and Team New Zealand skipper, who is sailing on the 18-foot skiff circuit in Australia.


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