2003 in review

Part one: January to March
The first three months of the year were heavily dominated by action in the southern hemisphere. All eyes were on Auckland for the Louis Vuitton finals in January and then a month later the start of the America’s Cup match itself. All this drama was unfolding with a backdrop of Geronimo charging around the bottom of the globe with the Jules Verne Trophy well within her sights. Further drama was to be added to this story as Ellen MacArthur lined up Kingfisher 2 to attempt the same record. The first major action of the year was on Sydney Harbour as the 18ft skiffs raced for their unofficial world championship, the JJ Giltinan Trophy. It was the Manly ferry that was to finally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the British team on RMW Marine. Howie Hamlin on General Electric won the event on the final race to retain their title. Back in Auckland and in the Alinghi camp, the top Kiwi talent within the team had received a number of anonymous threats, which were to be reported to the New Zealand Police. Fortunately for all involved the racing was where the action was and Alinghi faced Oracle in the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. True to form the Auckland weather did not cooperate and the first race was cancelled due to strong winds. This was the 19th day of racing that was cancelled in 55 scheduled racing days. The following day Alinghi chalked up a convincing win, and eventually went on to win the final 5-1. Meanwhile the Around Alone fleet were enjoying a stopover further down the coast in Tauranga, following Bernad Stamm’s third consecutive victory in reaching the New Zealand stopover before his rivals. On behalf of thedailysail, The Snake filed his stopover report, and everyone was much