Down, but not out


Nigel Cherrie reports from Auckland on the first day of the America's Cup International Regatta
For the record, in the opening two races of the International America's Cup Regatta in New Zealand today, GBR Challenge were last in the fleet race and lost their first match race to the OneWorld syndicate. But, with some lucky breaks, tomorrow could be a brighter, more prosperous day for the British syndicate. Underneath the results lie one split second mistake and gear failure that show a new talented team rising from the depths of America's Cup absence and not overawed by the task in front of them. Like a bad omen, the first mistake came in the first start and the first time a British Challenge has lined up for an official America's Cup class race in Cup waters since 1987. First event of the day was the fleet race. Helmsman Andy Beadsworth and tactician Adrian Stead were on target for the pin end of the line when Dean Barker tacked NZL60 right under the British yacht. The immediate decision was to go up towards the line to keep separation and allow the team room to bear off when needed, but GBR 52 was over a second early and sailing at ten knots in the 12-knot breeze. The British team put the bow down and returned 20 seconds later after seeking clarification from the officials that it was indeed them who were over early. "It was a pretty fine call," explained Ian Walker afterwards. "I'm disappointed that we got it wrong but we did". While the team are clearly not looking for excuses and taking every knock as a lesson in the harsh world of America's Cup sailing, a broken primary winch before the race stopped them from changing their mainsail in the lighter than expected breeze. This effectively made any attempt at a comeback an uphill struggle. The race was

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