The unofficial race of the unofficial race

Racing postponed due to poor forecast, but GBR Challenge lined up against OneWorld nonetheless...

Saturday March 2nd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
The CORM Race Committee Trials is one of the strangest happenings in sailing we've witnessed. The Race Committee understandably want to get in some practice, laying courses and firing guns so that they can touch the ground running when the Louis Vuitton Series kicks off on 1 October. All the challengers were invited to take part in some informal racing to 'make it real'. Immediately the paranoia set in that the defenders, Team New Zealand, might glean some valuable information from the racing, despite all the campaigns fielding old generation boats.

It's never simple in America's Cup alley.

Today's racing got off to a bad start when the race committee decided to cancel it on the basis of a forecast suggesting that at some point during the day a front would pass through bringing with it 30 knot winds from the west. In the event the front never materialised and aware that conditions can change at the drop of a hat in the Hauraki Gulf, the challengers went out anyway and had some excellent racing in a 12-15 knot northwesterly.

Prada spent all day practising start manoeuvres, while Sweden's Victory Challenge raced their two boats. Notably it was also the first outing for the second Italian challenger, Mascalzone Latino, who are new into Auckland having recently acquired USA-55 (ex Stars & Stripes) from OneWorld and renaming it ITA-55.
The only inter-challenger racing that did take place was between GBR Challenge and OneWorld, who laid their own courses. They sailed two races and at the end of the day the score was one all. In the first race GBR Challenge never really featured. They missed a shift on the first beat, losing OneWorld in the process.

The second race was hotly contested with Peter Gilmour taking a penalty off Andy Green in the pre-start and featuring plenty of tacking and gybing duels. Around 30 seconds separated the boats at the finish line.

Day one of the racing has been rescheduled to take place tomorrow.

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