Wight Lightning is the name which will carry the UK's hopes in October's America's Cup

Princess Anne has named Wight Lightning, the first ever modern America’s Cup boat to be built in Great Britain. The 80ft Formula One machine is the yacht that Peter Harrison’s GBR Challenge has designed and constructed to carry Britain’s hopes at the 31st America’s Cup, starting on the 1st October 2002.

The naming ceremony took place at the GBR Challenge base in Cowes, less than two miles from the startline of the first ever race for the America’s Cup, in 1851. Peter Harrison unveiled the long awaited yacht that the 10 designers developed in under a year and that took the 34 strong build team, 24,000 manhours to build over five months.

HRH the Princess Royal explained her confidence in Peter Harrison’s team: “The crew have already shown that they can compete with the best in the world and if the boat behind us is fast, this campaign could really put Great Britain back in the frame in one of the most prestigious competitions in the sporting world.”

Harrison commented: “Today is an emotional moment for me, as after all of the months of plotting and planning with David Barnes and Ian Walker, this really brings home that so many of our plans are reaching fruition, making history. I hope and expect that this is the start of something special for Great Britain.”

Peter Harrison reminded the 300 strong audience of the team’s commitment to youth as he invited five year old George Pickering, whose entry was chosen from the 18,940 name ideas submitted via Blue Peter, to give the Princess Royal a bouquet of flowers.

Next week, Wight Lightning will be put onto a container ship to begin her five week journey to Auckland.