GBR's first battle

Peter Harrison's campaign to race two boats in February's America's Cup Regatta

Friday January 25th 2002, Author: Mark Bullingham, Location: Australasia
Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge are to enter its two 2000 generation ACC yachts in the forthcoming America's Cup Regatta in Auckland. This will be the first time a British team had raced in an America's Cup venue since 1987. The event will run from 10-17 February.

After registration on Sunday 10th, the regatta will involve fleet racing on 11 and 12 February, a lay day on the 13th before two days of match racing on the 14th and 15th. The culmination of the event will be a final Auckland harbour race on Sunday 17th.

GBR Challenge Sailing Manager Ian Walker outlined the benefits to the team, whilst acknowledging that the regatta is a tough logistical exercise.

"Whilst it's only a practise regatta, it is another great opportunity for us to race our ACC boats against the other teams. It will provide a good focus for the sailing team and the entire organisation. It should also be good fun and make a break from training!"

"We will all be using our 2000 generation boats so not too much will be able to be read into form at this stage."

"In terms of the logistics, the regatta will provide us with a tougher test in some ways than the Louis Vuitton Cup, as we'll have two boats in full race mode. However, it will help us to refine our systems for the Cup itself."

Harrison's team will use its sailing squad to the full to crew both yachts, with the syndicate's resources split equally. Unfortunately, Olympic Rowing Gold Medallist Greg Searle will not be part of the team as he has a fractured elbow sustained while riding his bicycle from the base to the team hotel after the day's training.

Searle, who joined the team last April, fell from his bicycle when the chain broke and jammed the wheel. It is hoped that he'll be fit again in six weeks.

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