GBR Challenge faces technical problems

The inclement weather has impacted on the testing of the Peter Harrison team’s second boat and her unconventional tandem keel, writes Tim Jeffery of the Daily Telegraph.

Wight Magic – competing as GBR 78 – has no conventional rudder, but is steered by the twin keel struts, which also provide hydrodynamic lift and suspend the ballast bulb. The tandem keel has been moved to correct a serious balance problem, which has meant GBR 78 has scarcely sailed at all. The structural engineers now require the hull to be thoroughly load-tested again. So far only the static tests ashore have been carried out and the team want no more than 12 knots of wind for the first sailing trials.

A further delay to the progress of GBR 78 has been her mast. The team has been continually unfortunate with delays caused by the spar supplier. GBR Challenge shore boss Ed Danby said: “Our mast programme is one area that has let us down. It has been a big area of concern.”

The latest hiccup was a headstay fitting fabricated to the wrong dimension. When altered, the fitting came back out of alignment. The dimension error was only 35mm. “That’s not small in the eyes of the class measurer,” Danby observed wryly.