GBR Challenge make boat choice

Plus a comparison between GBR Challenge and Team Dennis Conner

Sunday November 10th 2002, Author: Mark Bullingham, Location: United Kingdom
Tomorrow's start of the Louis Vuitton Cup quarter-finals, will see GBR Challenge lining up against Team Dennis Conner in a best of seven series. The match pits the British newcomers against the most experienced America’s Cup team in the world, led by four-time winner Dennis Conner.

While there are several similarities between the teams in terms of budget, and relative size, the syndicates are poles apart in terms of age and experience. Conner’s team was formed 18 years ago, whilst Harrison’s launched publicly in January 2001. Out of the 16 Stars & Stripes crew that GBR Challenge will line up against, all have previous experience of the competition with eight having won the America’s Cup.

Despite the fact that the average age of the British team is 29, nine years younger than Stars & Stripes, GBR Challenge lists six Olympic medals compared to the Americans’ one. Whilst Harrison’s young team lacks experience at this level, there is no shortage of talent.

For the Quarter Finals, GBR Challenge will line up in GBR70 and not the radical GBR78 with her twin fin keel. GBR Challenge Founder & Chairman Peter Harrison explained why: "Given the conditions in the break period, we’ve not been able to sail GBR78 as much as we would have liked in the full range of conditions. Whilst GBR 78 has enormous potential, GBR 70 represents a known entity at this stage. The crew are very comfortable sailing Wight Lightning and we’ve made further changes that we’re happy with.

“We have beaten Stars & Stripes once using Wight Lightning, and have narrowly lost once. It will be tough, however I am confident that we have the boat and team to progress to the next stage.”

A Comparison between GBR Challenge and Stars & Stripes

The Quarter Final match between GBR Challenge and Stars & Stripes pits one
of the least experienced America’s Cup teams left at this stage of the
competition against the team with the most experience.

In the entire Stars & Stripes team, 30 people have America’s Cup
experience, 10 of whom have been part of winning campaigns.

In the entire GBR Challenge team 12 people have experience of the Louis
Vuitton Cup or America’s Cup, none of whom have been part of winning
GBR Challenge Stars & Stripes
 Team formed January 2001  Team formed 1984
 Launched GBR 70 in June 2002  Launched USA 66 in January 2002
 Launched GBR 78 in August 2002  Launched USA 77 in May 2002
 Sailing in NZ since Sept 2001  Sailing in NZ since Sept 2002
 Budget $34 million  Estimated budget $35 million
 29 team members used 2002 LV Cup  19 team members used 2002 LV Cup
 5 sailing team members with previous LVC/AC experience 16 A-boat sailing team members with previous LV/AC experience
 No sailing team member has won the America's Cup  8 sailing A-boat team members have won the AC
 Average age 29  Average age 38
 Six Olympic Medals (One gold, three silver, two bronze)  One Olympic medal
 (Dennis Conner won bronze in the Tempest class in 1976

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