With the recent announcement of several new additions to the team and the return of the GBR Challenge entry into the Colorcraft Gold Cup from Bermuda, the full GBR Challenge sailing squad is now together at the base in the Viaduct Basin.
The team members who arrived in Auckland at the end of September have spent the last couple of weeks organising their NZ operation, improving boat handling and getting familiar with the local conditions.
Ian Walker, GBR Challenge Sailing Manager commented, "The team has bonded extremely well since arriving in New Zealand. There have been no problems settling in and everyone is very supportive of each other, from the shore team to the sailing squad to the support staff. Craig, Paul, Toby, Matt and Mal, who have only just come on board, have been made to feel part of the team and there is a great feeling of camaraderie around the base. It has been too windy for four days out of the last two weeks which has been a bit frustrating and we are all looking forward to the arrival of GBR52 so that we can begin our two boat training in the Harauki Gulf."
Aboard the Cup boat, different crew combinations are continually being trialed to ensure that, by the time the two boat training begins, any combination of team members works equally well. At the same time, every team member has trained in the Etchells 22 so that we develop a good understanding of match racing throughout the whole team.
GBR52 is due to arrive at the base tomorrow (27th) and will immediately undergo an intensive two week maintenance period to prepare the boat for her return to the water at the official base opening in mid November. Another shipment will follow in two weeks, providing the team with essential equipment and sails and the final containers that make up the GBR Challenge base.
Next week the GBR Challenge design team hand over the final drawings to the build team who in turn will begin work on the first ever modern America's Cup Class yacht to be built in the UK. The sailing team have taken great interest throughout the design process and will be looking forward to putting the new boat through it's paces after it is launched in April 2002.