Harrison raises budget

GBR Challenge's backer says he will increase the £17 million budget if the designers need more funds

Tuesday June 19th 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom

Peter Harrison, the multi-millionaire businessman who is financing the GBR Challenge for the 2003 America's Cup, has revealed that he is prepared to increase the overall budget for the programme if the design group can justify it.

Harrison launched the syndicate back in January with a projected overall budget of £17 million but he has said in the last few days that he will increase this if he is convinced there are sound reasons for doing so.

"It is a technology race," commented Harrison, who has just signed another £2 million worth of cheques, bringing his total personal spend so far up to £8.2 million. "He who builds the better boat, by and large, is likely to win," he added.

While not allowing costs to spiral out of control, Harrison is anxious to give his design group the funding to fulfill its potential. Although the syndicate will build only one new America's Cup Class yacht with the construction process set to begin in November, he wants the designers to have the maximum flexibility in terms of modifications which may be made between round robins of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

"Let's say we spend another million," he said. "If you thought you could really improve your whole return on the thing by making your seventeen-and-a-half million, eighteen-and-a half, well my business instincts tell me that's what to do. But I don't want to suddenly burst to £30 million or anything," he added.

"What I've started doing with David (David Barnes, the GBR Challenge general manager) is to say, 'if we spend a bit more on this or that, how many possible changes or options can we have for the hull or appendages for which we can make modifications, if required, between round robins?' I liken it to my Meccano set - what pre-planning can we do in terms of having additional pieces of the Meccano, so we can vary the hull according to how we see things when we get out there?"

So far Harrison says nothing has come up in the course of getting the syndicate up and running which had not been planned-for in the initial budget forecasts and he is happy with the way the money side of the programme is going.

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