The inevitable

Team New Zealand take the International Regatta 5-1, beating GBR Challenge today.

Saturday February 16th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: Australasia
In the crunch match for second position overall, it was all equal at the start between Peter Gilmour for OneWorld and Magnus Holmberg helming Orn for the Victory Challenge.

The new Swedish yacht has showed flashes of speed upwind during the week and gradually pulled away on the first windward leg to lead by one minute and
twenty seconds at the top mark.

USA-55 came back on the run to close the gap to just 38 seconds but Victory extended again on the beat to open up an identical one minute and 20 second gap for the final offwind run to the finish line.

But then in an amazing twist, Peter Gilmour struck back. As SWE-63 went for the left hand side of the run in the now fickle 2-4 knot breeze, Gilmour with nothing to lose and everything to gain, stood on for the right.

"We came round the mark and the Swedes had dived away from us so in terms of getting any leverage all we had to do was keep going straight," explained
Gilmour. "Ed Smyth, our man up the mast, was calling the pressure and he liked it on that side so we kept going".

The combination of a large windshift and slightly better offwind pace saw Gilmour sail around the Swedish to take the winners gun by a remarkable two minutes and 16 seconds.

"If you get enough leverage, someone is going to be right and someone is going to be wrong and it went back our way," said Gilmour. OneWorld, all things considered, can be content with second, especially as they were the only team to take a race off Team New Zealand.

Peter Gilmour also delievered the news that young James Spithill, who has been the helmsman on several occasions during the week was left shaken and badly grazed after racing only a night or two ago when he had a motor bike accident on the way home from the compound. This only adds to the teams recent run of bad luck.

As for the Swedish, their new yacht has not set the world alight this week but like the British squad they are still finding their feet in every area America's Cup racing. They too will be stronger and wiser for it.

Tomorrow the teams will sail in a fleet race spectacle that will end with the yachts finishing under the Auckland Harbour Bridge late in the afternoon.

A number of the teams will next meet in the unofficial CORM (Challenger of Record Management) event in March for the final time before the Louis Vuitton Series gets underway in October.

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