Quietly confident


From Auckland Ed Gorman reports on the positive atmosphere within Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge
Ian Walker - comfortable in his leadership role The GBR Challenge for the America's Cup continues to go from strength-to-strength. More than half way through the team's New Zealand summer training schedule, the mood continues to be positive, enthusiastic and increasingly ambitious. Not having seen Peter Harrison's syndicate since its days in Cowes just after the America's Cup Jubilee, one of the first things you notice in Auckland is how much more comfortable Ian Walker seems in his leadership role. The clear impression one gets is that he is both popular and respected and has become adept at man-management. Those working alongside him say initially, when he tried to adopt a slightly back-seatish role as far as taking the wheel on the water was concerned, it was harder for him to settle. But once he had stepped up to the plate on the water, his overall team leader role has come much more easily to him. Walker is a hard-driving perfectionist and there is no doubt that the team's rigorous 12-14 hour daily schedule which runs for 11 out of every 14 days, has his imprint on it. However he seems aware that there is a fine line between pushing people too hard and burning them out and, so far, this has not been a problem. His style is that he likes people to come and tell him their problems rather than grumble behind his back. It is noteworthy that one key difference spotted by Chris Mason, one of the veterans of the team, when comparing the GBR Challenge with past British Cup outfits, is that this one is more of what he called "a caring and sharing" set-up than before. Rather than being ordered around, there is more open discussion about what to do and more input from all the team members. So

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