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GBR Challenge Wins First Race in Quarter Finals

GBR Challenge Wins First Race in Quarter Finals

13th November. GBR Challenge won the first race of the Quarter-Finals, to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series against Stars & Stripes. The British team won a penalty against USA 77 in the pre-start and then stayed close enough on the six legs of the course to put pressure on the American team throughout a close fought race. On the final run, Harrison’s men closed on Conner’s team, with the Americans reacting by dropping their spinnaker and luffing GBR 70. Penalties were awarded against both boats, as the British took the lead. USA 77 had to complete their turn before the finish, inflating the margin of victory to a minute.

Wight Lightning entered the start box from the port end and immediately bore away to sail away from the line. USA 77 reacted by bearing away, but were unable to prevent the British boat from crossing clear and leading to the right hand side. Stars & Stripes gybed to follow. GBR 70 tacked, before bearing away to follow the American team, keeping the pressure on as USA 77 sailed back towards the start line. With 30 seconds to go, Conner’s men tried to kill time and GBR Challenge took the opportunity to sail to leeward and luff the experienced Americans. On the second luff, the Americans failed to stay clear of GBR Challenge and were penalised by the on the water jury. USA 77 were forced off to Starboard, as the boats crossed the line together.

After one minute and twenty seconds, Stars & Stripes tacked to come back towards the British. GBR 70 also tacked, but USA 77 on starboard were able to perform a lee bow tack on Harrison’s men. Wight Lightning was forced to the left hand side of the course, with Conner’s team establishing an early lead.

USA 77 led by 12 seconds at the windward mark, with Wight Lightning close behind. Conner’s men gybed to the right, whilst Harrison’s men continued to the left. When the boats converged again, the American team had extended slightly and maintained the advantage to round the leeward mark 18 seconds ahead.

Conner’s men extended on the run, picking their shifts and tacking on top of GBR 70. At the second leeward mark, Stars & Stripes led by 55 seconds but Wight Lightning took 16 seconds out of the lead on the run. The final beat saw the American team initially extend their lead, but Harrison’s men capitalised on a right hand shift halfway up the course to cut the lead. USA 77 rounded the final windward mark 31 seconds ahead, with the large spectator fleet on edge as to whether the lead would be enough for the Americans to complete their 270 degree penalty turn before the finish.

Down the final run, Wight Lightning shadowed USA 77 and cut the American lead to around 10 seconds. Conner’s men reacted by hoisting a genoa and heading up to luff the British team. Harrison’s men sailed higher to round USA 77 but were penalised by the jury, cancelling the Stars & Stripes penalty. However, the British now had the lead and had broken the overlap, so when Stars & Stripes luffed again without rights, the American team were penalised. Wight Lightning sailed on, to take the point whilst Stars & Stripes completed their turn before crossing the line a minute behind.

Wight Lightning (GBR-70) Bow Matt Cornwell Mid Bow Mark Sheffield Mast George Skuodas Pit James Stagg Pit Runner Jonathan Taylor Trim upwind Ian Budgen Trim downwind Simon Fry Grinder Starboard Guy Reid Grinder Port Greg Searle Mid Grinder Jim Turner Main Trimmer Chris Mason Navigator Jules Salter Aft Grinder Chris Main Strategist Andy Beadsworth Skipper Ian Walker Tactician Adrian Stead 17th Man Peter Harrison

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