GBR 78, the new British America's Cup boat, will be flown to Auckland in time for the start of the America's Cup challenger series

Peter Harrison has announced his decision to fly GBR 78 – GBR Challenge’s second ACC boat – to New Zealand in time for the start of the America’s Cup Challenger series.

Harrison, Chairman and Founder of GBR Challenge, commented: “The boat construction and sailing teams have progressed so quickly during the 18 months that they’ve reached a level where they have the sailing skills and maturity to compete with the best. However, all the teams we will be competing against will have two boats in New Zealand, which could disadvantage GBR Challenge – especially given the short timespan between the rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

“The speed with which the construction build team has achieved a massive gain on the anticipated build schedule for GBR 78, has given us the opportunity to redress that imbalance.

“Flying will give us a gain of some five weeks versus marine shipping and is the only way to get GBR 78 there in time for the sailing team to practise on two new generation boats and tune up the second boat prior to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup on October 1st. To have a second boat is a resource that the team’s hard work and dedication deserves and also gives us an insurance policy backup.”

As flying represents an extra cost onto what is already a ‘22.5 million budget, Harrison has put out a rallying call for a corporate partner / sponsor to help cover the air transport and support the GBR Challenge team in its hour of need.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals or companies to support a supremely organised and talented British team at the America’s Cup. Supporters will gain branding on the hull of the boat on her epic journey, and at the GBR Challenge base.”

During the next fortnight, GBR Challenge has two high profile events in the UK that will provide the opportunity for partners and sponsors to support the overall British campaign. On 9 July, Edmiston are hosting a function in London for the team, partnered by Nautica Watches and Tatler, with the ‘Capital Investors’ Lion Capital Partners inviting their guests to a GBR Challenge lunch two days later.

GBR 78 is nearing completion at the GBR Challenge base in Cowes, to be finished by the end of July. It is planned that the boat will leave Cowes on Saturday 3 August – the first day of Skandia Life Cowes Week – on a barge and will board a plane to Auckland, NZ two days later.

Skipper, Ian Walker, explained the importance to the team. “The designers and builders have done a great job completing GBR78 so quickly and it will be a great boost to the team to have ready for the start of racing.”

After the completion of the America’s Cup, both GBR 70 and GBR 78 will be transported back to the UK by P&O Nedlloyd – the Exclusive Shipping Agent and Premier Level Sponsor of GBR Challenge.