Excitement mounted as GBR70 White Lightning arrived at the British base in Auckland. Kieran Hopkins reports
Today started before dawn, as it seems to do with frightening regularity at the moment. Today however, was a slightly different day, today was the day that the long-awaited and much-talked about GBR 70 arrived in our compound here in New Zealand, for me it did begin with a small amount of excitement and anticipation. Myself and the rest of the shore crew left the hotel somewhat bleary eyed, as a result of staying up with some other more loyal fans to watch England beat Argentina.
In order create enough room to unload 70 from the trailer we needed to launch 52 and move the mast to the side. This sounds easy and it is, but it all takes time and a bit of forward thinking. The new mast was on the ground to have some work completed before being restepped in 52 later on in the afternoon.
The call came just after 1000 that the convoy, flashing lights complete was at the end of the road, I went to open the gate and stood in the road waiting to see the boat that we all hope will give us a solid start in our quest for the cup. The boat haulage team had, as always, done a great job and the driver did a very impressive job of reversing the trailer in to the compound through the narrow alleyway. No pressure on the poor guy only 20 blokes standing watching, fairly upsetting then, when after all of this effort the boat was the wrong way around! The poor guy had to drive out and around the block so he could drive straight in, much easier. Good practice though.
A fraction of the build team from Cowes has also travelled down here to complete the finishing touches to 70 before she (and she is a she) hits the water. Those guys were, or at least they appeared to be, eager to get the boat in to the shed where they could unwrap her and give her a clean off before they started work. Members of the team all took a few minutes during the afternoon to get on to the boat and have a good nose around. I personally was more than impressed with the overall finish and appearance of the boat and the obvious attention to detail.
Today was a milestone in this campaign, we are here and we are going to give some of the big boys a run for their money.