Pratt at the back


James Boyd was 17th man on GBR41 during the British America's Cup team's first competitive outing
It comes as a considerable privilege for this journalist to have been invited to sail with Peter Harrison's GBR Challenge on their first ever competitive race. At the America's Cup Jubilee regatta, there is the magnificent spectacle of the Js and the classics in the western Solent and the vast array of 12 metres of all ages in the central Solent. Beyond Bembridge and into Hayling Bay, in fact so far away it almost seemed not to be part of the Jubilee was the racing for the America's Cup Class yachts. Due to the strong conditions racing was cancelled for the ACC boats yesterday, so today was the first occasion Peter Harrison's supreme team has had to line up against any of the likely challengers they will come across when the Louis Vuitton Cup kicks off in October 2002. As a first time visitor to the GBR Challenge base in Cowes I was overwhelmed by the size of the facility. The 9.5 acres site on the west bank of the Medina River once belonged to Red Funnel and Harrison bought it from a firm of Japanese venture capitalists who also own Battersea Power Station. In this area there are five sheds one of which houses sail loft, another a gym, another was the location where the decks were modified and another where construction will begin on GBR Challenge's new AAC boat this November ready for a April 2002 launch. Around the compound there is also what seems to be a reasonably high degree of security, with card access to mant areas of their many admin and training facility. It is 0830 in the morning and GBR Challenge's General Manager, Dave Barnes is giving me a lift to their base. We have just come from the Royal Yacht Squadron where

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