Final fleet race

International Regatta concludes with a spectacle off downtown Auckland

Sunday February 17th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: Australasia

The International America’s Cup Regatta drew to a spectacular close today as the four teams engaged in a fleet race of sorts where the value of the spectacle far outweighed the significance of the results.

Over one hundred spectator craft, from jet skis to dinghies and large hospitality craft came out to marvel at the rare sight of five America's Cup boats (GBR Challenge entered two yachts) lining up together on a sun soaked afternoon off Auckland. And the crowds loved it.

NZL-40, which is a 1995 generation boat converted for charter sailing (complete with engine), even joined in the fun but was quickly left behind.

After rounding two marks in the Hauraki Gulf (led by Team New Zealand), the teams raced offwind in a gentle but adequate 6-8 knot breeze back towards downtown Auckland and into the Waitemata Harbour.

For the record, Team New Zealand and Victory Challenge shared the lead for a majority of the three-hour race, only to be pipped at the post by OneWorld a few hundred yards from the line.

NZL-60 and SWE-63 hugged the north Devonport shore to dodge the adverse tide. The wind headed and saw the fleet, with the exception of OneWorld ( USA-55), go to headsails. Peter Gilmour's crew peeled to a light and small code one asymmetric spinnaker and held their way through the lee of the two
leaders to take the gun under the Auckland Bridge.

The GBR Challenge yachts, GBR-52 helmed by Andy Green and GBR-44 steered by Ian Walker were fourth and fifth respectively.

GBR Challenge in action...

For more of Jon Nash's photos see page 2...

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