Gear failure dogs GBR

Disappointing first day of International Regatta for GBR Challenge

Monday February 11th 2002, Author: GBR Challenge, Location: Australasia
After a good start to their first match race on America's Cup waters, gear breakage denied Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge the chance to defeat OneWorld.

The British team, helmed by Andy Beadsworth, managed to win the pre-start and inflict a penalty on James Spithill, but were eventually overhauled after a tacking duel up the first beat. OneWorld, sailing USA 55 from Dennis Conner's previous Start & Stripes campaign, held their lead to win by 38 seconds.

Part of the primary winch on board GBR 52 broke before the start of the fleet race, which was fixed using parts of the utility winch. In the match race, the universal joint on the starboard primary winch collapsed and the team lost the lead whilst trying to repair it.

In the fleet race that started the regatta, GBR Challenge was called over the line, and had to restart fifty seconds later. At the first windward mark the team was 55 seconds behind the leader, One World, with this margin remaining constant for the next two marks. On the final run of the two mile long course, the British team took a flier down the port hand side, but it was to no avail as GBR 52 was unable to overhaul the fleet.

Andy Beadsworth summed up the day. "At the end of the day there's a sense of frustration and a little disappointment. We did some things really well but made some basic errors and were let down by gear failure."

"The boats are reasonably similar in terms of speed, although SWE63 and NZL60 do have a slight edge. If we sail well tomorrow, we can beat them."

The high point of the racing for GBR Challenge was the pre-start of the match race. With the un-favoured port entry, the teams dialled up, with the British team edging forward to allow themselves to sail back to port to the right hand side. As they tacked and immediately bore away, the team did not allow USA55 to tack inside to hold GBR 52 to windward of the line.

This gave the British team the advantage of leading back to the start and as OneWorld tried to sail over the top of the team, GBR Challenge 'hooked' them, forcing them to tack. GBR 52 followed and as James Spithill tacked back onto starboard he was penalised for not giving GBR 52 sufficient room.

On the final approach, Beadsworth luffed USA55, forcing them to tack away to the right from the favoured end and giving GBR Challenge the initial advantage.

The team's spirits, after a disappointing day, were lifted by a visit from the Princess Royal, who met the team and undertook a full tour of the base. The Princess is to name GBR70, the first ever modern America's Cup Class boat built in Britain, on April 12th in Cowes.

GBR Challenge's Peter Harrison with the Princess Royal earlier

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