Guns blazing for the Brits

Good weather call allows GBR Challenge to take one off Prada

Sunday March 3rd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
Day one of the CORM Race Committee Trials got off to a fine start for Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge with the British team taking their one race of the day off Prada A in moderate 12-15 knot winds.

The duo were one of the first pairings. Prada A, the former Young America, was helmed by Francesco de Angelis with Gavin Brady calling tactics, while Andy Green helmed GBR Challenge for the open stages before handing over to Ian Walker.

De Angelis won the start, leaving Green to cross behind, but the Brits made a good call on the weather in opting to take the left hand side of the course up the beat. In doing so they picked up a major lift that put them into the lead at the weather mark. From here it was a close-run battle between the two boats with GBR Challenge just managing to hold off the Italian on-slaught until the finish, despite Prada A appearing to have superior boat speed. The result was a happy reversal of GBR Challenge's fortunes at the America's Cup Jubilee last year.

The other initial pairing was Alinghi versus Oracle. Alinghi had Coutts and Butterworth calling the shots while following the departure of Chris Dickson from their sailing team John Cutler and Tommaso Chieffi were driving Oracle. Alinghi took the right side of the course, protected it and as a result held a margin of around two minutes at the finish.

The second pairings saw Prada B, the former Luna Rossa with Rod Davis behind the wheel, up against Oracle sailing what appeared to be USA-49 (formerly one of Paul Cayard's America Ones, although this was the sail number and the hull may equally have been the other former America One boat, USA-61). In the end it hardly mattered as the Italians demolished the American team.

Racing was much tighter between the final pairing of Alinghi and Prada A. Once again Coutts and Butterworth, sailing Fast 2000's old Be Happy, proved dominant.

Although GBR Challenge offered to race Mascalzone Latino (known locally as 'the Rascals'), the Italian team turned down the offer. OneWorld did not take part today.

Andy Green steers GBR Challege - for more of Thierry Martinez' photographs of the action see his gallery over the next few pages...

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