For the first time in history of the series, Emirates Team New Zealand, under leadership of skipper Dean Barker, has won back-to-back Audi MedCup Circuit Championships. On September 25, the New Zealand team finished the season 48.5 points ahead of the U.S. team Quantum Racing, which came in second.
Emirates Team New Zealand began its second championship season by winning the opening regatta in Cascais, Portugal, in May, establishing a 20 point lead. The team went onto finish fourth in Marseille, France, second in Barcelona, Spain, first in Murcia, Spain, and third in Cagliari, Sardinia, to close the series. This year’s Audi MedCup featured 11 teams from around the world sailing TP52s.
The Kiwis won four out of 2009’s five regattas and 10 of the 44 races making of the 2010 circuit. The team took bullets in 14 out of 43 starts in 2009.
“This is such a nice feeling to be able to come back and be very successful again this year. No question that the standard this year is much higher than last,” Barker said. “I think as a result of that it's hard to win as often as we did last year, but I think the strength of the team has been sailing consistently all the year through.”
Terry Hutchinson and the crew of Quantum Racing finished only five points ahead of third place finisher Matador of Argentina. Quantum Racing won the MedCup back in 2008, and also finished second in 2009.
“There has been some great regattas this year,” said Quantum Racing tactician Adrian Stead. “I have to say that the Matador sailed incredibly well.”
Matador skipper Guillermo Parada, who despite winning Cagliari still placed third overall, said, “We really feel very proud of ourselves and our team. We stuck together, kept pushing till the very end. Winning this regatta is very important to us, not only the win but also doing it in the way we did.”
The next 52 Series event is the world championships in Valencia, Spain, on October 5-9. The 2011 Audi MedCup is scheduled to begin in May.
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