The GBR Challenge entry in the Swedish Match Cup in Marstrand, Sweden, is leading its group after their first day’s racing

Andy Green and the crew of GBR Challenge have made an impressive start to their challenge for the Swedish Match Gold Cup in Marstrand, Sweden, the final event in the Swedish Match Grand Prix match racing series.

Green’s team of Jules Slater (mainsheet), Richard Sydenham (trimmer), Jim Turner (pit) and James Stagg (bow) is sponsored for this event by Green’s long term backers Colorcraft, and they will be delighted with their decision.

After the first day, GBR Challenge has yet to drop a race and shares the lead in Group B with local match racer Bjorn Hansen on 3-0. Along the way, Green got the better of the Dane Jesper Bank, French match racer Luc Pillot and – most notably – Oracle Racing’s embattled skipper Chris Dickson.

“Jesper was our only starboard entry race, and we managed to sail him beyond the line, which gave us a 10 boat length lead at the start,” said Green after racing. “He showed the class of a double Olympic Gold medallist to close up on us around the course, but we kept ahead and eventually won by three or four boat lengths.”

Pillot handed his match over “on the first beat. Pillot tacked too close to us on the first beat and incurred a penalty. After that we stayed ahead until the finish.”

Chris Dickson made a very basic error and it cost him the race. “Dickson was just ahead at the start. We passed him on the first beat, but he managed to overhaul us on the first run. Up the second beat we kept it really tight to stay in contention. On the run to the finish, Jules called a shift, so we gybed. Dickson didn’t cover us and we overtook him.”

“We sailed well, the team work was good. We’re definitely benefiting from having spent the last two months together, working in the yard and sailing the Cup boats.

Tomorrow (Thursday 5 July), we race Dean Barker, Peter Gilmour, Bjorn Hansen and Gavin Brady, which will be tough. However, if we sail as we did today we stand a chance of going through to the quarter finals, which would be fantastic given the standard of competition here.”

Green and his team need to come back from today’s racing with at least two wins from the four races to guarantee a place in the quarter finals.