First 'regatta' for GBR Challenge

British AC team to race in today's Hoya Round the Island Race

Saturday June 16th 2001, Author: Mark Bullingham, Location: United Kingdom

GBR Challenge are to sail their International America's Cup class yacht GBR 44 Asura in today's Hoya Round the Island Race - the syndicate's first official regatta. Adrian Stead will be skippering the yacht with Andy Beadsworth helming and will join the big boats, including four other IACC yachts on the start line at 1000.

Among the crew will be Greg Searle, Olympic rowing gold medallist, who will be starting his first ever sailing regatta as a grinder. After two weeks of hard graft match racing, Searle commented on his involvement: "I'm really looking forward to making my sailing debut, after two weeks of hard training. I've learnt so much in a short space of time, although I've still got a long way to go, I hope that I'll be able to put it into practice under the pressure of a regatta.

"Of course, it'll be quite different to the America's Cup match racing we've been doing, as rather than racing against one boat we'll be up against one and a half thousand other yachts."

While Asura will certainly cross the Royal Yacht Squadron start line and sail through the western Solent, the possibility exists that the crew might not attempt to sail around the back of the island. The forecast of strong westerly winds means that the unprotected back of the Isle of Wight does not fit with the fragile nature of America's Cup yachts. A weather crew at the GBR Challenge base will keep the crew up to date with developments.

Skipper for the event, Ado Stead is looking forward to the challenge. "We're looking forward to our first real race in an America's Cup boat, even though it's a bit different. It's a challenging course for an IACC yacht, built for windward/leeward racing in a maximum wind of 22 knots, but it should be a good day for all."

Crew on board will be:

Bow - Peter Thomas
Mid Bow/Sewer - Mark Sheffield
Mast - George Skoudas
Pitman - Jonathon Taylor
Pit/runner - Jim Turner
Trim (Stbd.) - Simon Fry
Trim (Port) - Ian Budgen
Grinder (Stbd.) - Guy Reid
Grinder (Port) - Greg Searle
Mid Grinder - Mark Covell
Runner/2nd helmsman - Neal McDonald
Mainsheet - Chris Mason
Mainsheet Caddy - Chris Main
Navigator - Derek Clark
Traveller/aft floater - Adrian Stead (Skipper)
Helm - Andy Beadsworth

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