British boys on song

GBR Challenge could make semi-finals of Omega Seamaster Cup

Thursday June 6th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: Italy
Their match against Chris Law was retrospectively one of the most crucial and could yet force them into a three way sail off for the final semi-final spot. "We were penalized for gybing too close in pre-start but still managed to win the start and take a lead up the first beat," said the British skipper

"We extended down the run but had a problem coming trying to hoist our genoa as the luff tape had broken. In the conditions we actually did really well to round and get our jib up. At the leeward mark, we luffed, then tacked and managed to offload our penalty before hoisting the spinnaker. We were ahead, although stuck out to the right. After two really good gybes we took the lead and then put in a double gybe to extend slightly. As he was coming back at us three boat lengths from the line, our spinnaker sheet clip came off (despite having been taped!) losing a large part of our power and allowing Law to cross the line ahead."

After losing to Law, a win against double America's Cup winner Russell Coutts and the Alingi team would have guaranteed GBR Challenge a place in the final four. "We had port entry and were doing 16 knots on entry into the box, We dialled up and managed to get over the top, tack back and reverse him to take control with three minutes to go. Coutts bore onto a run, and then came back for the pin, but we managed to hold him down so he tacked off. At the start, he went for the left and we had the right. Up the beat, he couldn't cross and was penalized but he managed to extend on a shift into the mark and then pull away further on the hoist.

"We led the gybe and closed him down on a big gust, but an even bigger gust allowed him to lay whilst we had to drop and gybe back which cost a couple of boat lengths and gave him a two boat length lead which was enough for him to offload his penalty at the top mark. We closed on the run and had a fierce gybing duel in 18 knots of breeze, the whole way round the run. Unfortunately we were unable to pass."

Racing concludes on Sunday.

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