After months of speculation and leaks in the press a British challenge for the America's cup has been confirmed. Initially underwritten by I.T. entrepreneur, Peter Harrison, the challenge will be managed by America's Cup veteran David Barnes with doub...
16 crew including some well known names from the younger generation of British yachtsmen have been signed up but no announcement has yet been made on a skipper.
Two latest generation, International America's Cup Class (IACC) yachts have been purchased from the former Nippon Challenge Syndicated together with one boat from 1995 and five 40ft containers comprising the necessary support equipment. Taro Takahashi and Akihiro Kanai who have both been fully involved with the Nippon Challenge campaigns in 1992, 1995 and 2000 have also been signed-up to provide a significant technology transfer.
The Technical Design Group will include Jo Richards, a bronze silver medallist in the 1984 Olympics and Derek Clark who was involved in formulating the IACC rule. The GBR Challenge base will be at the FBM Yard on the Isle of Wight where the team will undertake a two boat training programme. The new IACC boat will also be constructed at the FBM Yard.
Harrison has taken on the management of GBR Challenge and has personally subscribed all of the initial share capital and loan finance to date, amounting to 6.4 million pounds. Harrison has acquired the lease of the Base Eight compound in the Viaduct Basin in Auckland. The compound will serve as the GBR Challenge base in New Zealand to which the two 2000 former Nippon Challenge boats will be shipped after competing in the America's Cup 150th Jubilee regatta to be held in Cowes in August. This will enable the GBR Challenge Sailing Team to continue their two boat training programme in the Haruki Gulf waters, gaining valuable experience in the competition location prior to the arrival of the new GBR Challenge IACC 2002 yacht in early summer 2002.