Week 1 at GBR Challenge

Jo Grindley looks back on the first week of employment for Britain's America's Cup squad

Monday March 12th 2001, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: United Kingdom
Andy Beadsworth, Andy Green, Nik Pearson, Richard Sydenham and Jim Turner were out practising their match racing in the Solent, before heading off to Auckland on Thursday to represent the GBR Challenge in the first of two events on the Swedish Match tour. They start with the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup on 12 March with Andy Green at the helm.

Then it is on to Perth to sail in the Sun Microsystems Australia Cup from 21-25 March, this time with Andy Beadsworth at the helm. Competition will be tough with many America’s Cup syndicates putting out strong teams for this year’s Swedish Match Tour.

David Barnes, general manager of GBR Challenge explained the importance of the competitive match racing to the syndicate. "All of the top match race skippers compete in the Swedish Match tour, enabling our sailors to be exposed to many races with high class competitors. Competition at this level of match racing is essential for our sailors to understand the interpretation of the rules and be familiar with the latest techniques.

"To be competing at this level means our team will know the opposition well and therefore will be comfortable with racing the world best sailors anytime."

Barnes was clear that, although the circuit is important, it is not necessarily a guide to America's Cup form.

"While most events use smaller boats and have little comparison with sailing an IACC class yacht, similar moves and techniques generally apply. It is important for our team to learn to race the IACC class to understand the specific characteristics for this class."

Andy Green, who won the Colorcraft Gold Cup in 1999 and is currently ranked number eight in the world, commented: "This is a new crew, so our aim is to knit together in a team environment and maintain a top 10 ranking throughout the year."

Beadsworth, winner of two grade one match racing events is also looking forward to the start of the tour. "The tour will give us the perfect opportunity to develop as a unit, in the same way that Team New Zealand did with such success."

The Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing Tour is made up of eight of the world's leading professional sailing events, with over $400,000 in individual event prize money up for grabs.

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