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GBR Challenge Exits Louis Vuitton Cup 1/4rs


GBR Challenge Exits Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Final

18th November 2002. GBR Challenge today lost the Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter-Final against Stars & Stripes, exiting the competition for the 31st America’s Cup. The young British team that has earned many plaudits and beaten five teams since arriving in Auckland, will stay in the City of Sails with ongoing plans currently being formalised.

Harrison’s men came into the Quarter-Final with confidence, having finished higher than Team Dennis Conner after the first two rounds, but were beaten by the extra speed that the America’s Cup veterans found in the newly relaunched USA 77. Stars & Stripes now advances to the Quarter Final repecharge along with Victory Challenge, Prada and OneWorld.

The final race for GBR Challenge in this competition started in 16 knots from 195 degrees. After crossing the startline four seconds ahead, Stars & Stripes showed better acceleration to take the early advantage. The America’s Cup veterans then covered the British up the first beat to lead by 42 seconds around the first windward mark.

On the first run, Stars & Stripes hoisted an asymmetric whilst the crew of Wight Lightning chose a conventional spinnaker. The move allowed the British team to sail lower and less distance to gain 20 seconds on the downwind leg to challenge Team Dennis Conner.

The second beat was the deciding point of the match, with Wight Lightning escaping the clutches of the American veterans to split to the left hand side of the course. With over a kilometre between the boats, if the wind had come back to the left then GBR Challenge could have taken the lead. The wind gods chose not to co-operate, with the breeze going further to the right, extending Stars & Stripes’ lead. Conner’s men rounded one minute and fifteen seconds ahead.

The second run started badly for GBR Challenge with a caught retrieval line tearing the spinnaker. As the British team re-hoisted, USA 77 extended again. Harrison’s men cut the deficit into the mark, but the Americans held a lead of one minute and thirty five seconds with one lap to go.

GBR Challenge threatened on the beat, to gain 22 seconds on the final windward leg, but the deficit was too great to challenge on the last leg of the course. Stars & Stripes took the point by one minute and forty-two seconds, and the Quarter-final 4-1.

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 Ian Weighell 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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