Gulf News

John Roberson reports on today's events at the unofficial CORM trials, PLUS some great Martinez photos...

Monday March 4th 2002, Author: John Roberson, Location: Australasia
Nothing is ever straight forward and simple where the America's Cup is concerned, and we shouldn't be surprised about that - it's been that way for 150 years.

The official line from CORM is that the new race committee needs a practice run, which was very obvious after today's racing. But will this series be long enough to sort out the problems, and if they do, will they remember everything they've learnt come the start of the Louis Vuitton challenger series on 1 October?

If you talk, or try to talk, to any of the teams about this regatta, they will either tell you that it is completely informal, and that the results are irrelevant, or their mobile phones are turned off. However, on the water they are not acting as if the results are irrelevant. One also has to ask, if it is so informal, why did those taking part not want the Swedes to join in their game?

Conditions on the water in the Hauraki Gulf today were near perfect, with a south-westerly breeze in the 18 to 23 knot range, which made for a relatively smooth sea, while the sun warmed the wind.

After what can best be described as two flights, all six teams competing have one win and one loss.  Though it is hard to say any boat is faster than any of the others, it must be said that Alinghi did seem to have good speed.

Prada have two boats in the regatta, with Francesco de Angelis steering the former Young America, and Gavin Brady at the wheel of Luna Rossa. Both boats lost their first matches, with Peter Gilmour at the helm of the old America True for OneWorld, beating de Angelis, while Jochen Schumann steered Alinghi against Brady.

In the third match of the first flight Andy Beadsworth maintained the GBR Challenge for aggression on the start line, to lead all the way from Oracle, under the control of John Cutler, with Peter Holmberg no where to be seen.

In the second flight the results were reversed, Oracle winning the start, and building an early lead, but surprisingly GBR Challenge came back at them, but an unusual broken mainsail ended their threat..

Jochen Schumann gave away his chances of a second score over Brady when he was over the line at the start, allowing Luna Rossa to sail away for an easy point.  The other Prada team, which also had Rod Davis and Torben Grael in the afterguard got the better of Peter Gilmour's OneWorld team.

The debate as to whether this is an official regatta could get stirred up by Team New Zealand, who say that an event which has a Notice of Race and a Race Committee - which this does - must be an official event.  If that is the case, then they are allowed to observe and photograph it, however at least one of the teams taking part have threated to go to the arbitration panel if they do.

For more of Thierry Martinez's superb photos from today's racing...see the following pages

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