GBR Challenge is getting used to its new surroundings among the towering sheds of Auckland’s Syndicate Row

GBR Challenge General manager David Barnes has sent in this report from the British syndicate’s new home in Auckland. His job has been to co-ordinate the myriad tasks involved in moving an America’s Cup campaign base halfway round the world.

“The last few weeks have been a continual process of organising and setting up Base 8 – home to GBR Challenge for the next year or so. Work started at the beginning of September when most of the shore crew arrived to get the ball rolling.

“Over the past few weeks, 90 percent of the sailing team have also arrived and started to settle into their new surroundings. This has enabled us to complete the boat graphics, preparing the foils and hull and painting the under water sections of the boat – all big jobs but easily achievable but the multi-skilled group we have.

“This week sees GBR-44 and our two Etchells into the water for their first taste of Kiwi waters. This will start the beginning of our sailing programme in New Zealand. Once our second shipment arrives (end of October) with additional sails, tools, office equipment, and most importantly our second boat, our programme will be in full swing. So by mid November we should be on track for a steep learning curve out in the Hauraki Gulf.

“The team is really enthused and all are excited about being here in New Zealand. They are looking forward to a busy summer and absorbing as much as they can with regards to the different weather system and tides. Adapting to our new base, although a lot smaller than the compound in Cowes, has been relatively easy as we have all the facilities and space we need, just simply closer and more compact.

“It is a great start for us here in Auckland and we really appreciate all the support that everyone has given us over the past months – here’s to a productive summer.”