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Seventh point for GBR Challenge

Seventh point for GBR Challenge

1st November. This afternoon GBR Challenge maintained their bid for fifth position, by defeating the French Le Defi Areva syndicate to secure the seventh point of the regatta for the British team. The French, fresh from their win over OneWorld, showed good speed in a heavy air drag race to take the lead at the first mark. Le Defi Areva defended on the run, but on the second beat Harrison’s men rounded the mark behind and immediately tacked off to the right. The British team tacked on the shifts and when the boats came together Wight Lightning crossed ahead. GBR Challenge defended the lead to win by 14 seconds.

After a slight delay to wait for the wind to average under the requisite 19 knots, the breeze abated to 18 knots from 270 degrees and the Race Committee started a sequence. As the five minute gun went, the British team entered from the port hand side, but the French team was late into the starting box. The vital breathing space allowed GBR Challenge to sail deep into the start box, underneath FRA 69. Le Defi Areva gybed to follow before both boats circled to kill time. GBR 70 led back to the line on starboard tack, with Luc Pillot to windward. The French crossed as the gun went, with Wight Lightning sailing over the line two seconds later.

Both boats continued to the left hand side, as a drag race developed. Le Defi Areva managed to hold their windward position and sail all the way to the layline, before tacking to lead towards the mark. The French rounded eight seconds ahead, and despite the British team sitting on their stern quarter for most of the run, were able to maintain their lead into the bottom mark.

Le Defi Areva rounded 10 seconds ahead and continued to the left hand side of the course. Harrison’s men rounded the leeward mark and immediately tacked, allowing the British team to escape the stranglehold. With Ado Stead calling the shifts, the British tacked up the middle of the course and as the boats converged two thirds of the way up the beat it was the British team that was ahead. GBR 70, tacked on top of FRA 69 to force the French team off. As the teams came together again, the French threatened to duck behind Wight Lightning, with the British team reacting by sailing a lower course. FRA 69 was forced to tack under the starboard tack GBR 70, and Ian Walker took advantage of the controlling position to sail to the layline before tacking.

GBR Challenge held a 12 second lead at the second windward mark, with the French team covering Wight Lightning at the start of the run. The French team initially gained, but a slick gybe by Harrison’s team re-established control to the finish.

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