British VX40 are now just two points off the VX40 Grand Prix overall win 2/6/06

The all British owned, sponsored and crewed boat Team Basilica completed a famous victory on the final day of the VX40 Grand Prix in Portsmouth yesterday, holding off the challenge of Motorola and Tommy Hilfiger to win by an impressive 31 points.

The win, Basilica’s second in the series, sets up a gripping showdown in the final leg in Rotterdam which starts on Friday 9 June, where the British have only two points to make up on overall series leaders Tommy Hilfiger. Basilica now has 30 points to Hilfiger’s 32.

Basilica went into day four of the Portsmouth regatta with a 21-point lead on second placed Motorola and 29 points ahead of closest series rivals Hilfiger, knowing that another strong day’s racing would wrap up the victory.
The team from Hayling Island Sailing Club did just that, claiming second place in races one and two from Holmatro and Hilfiger respectively. A win in the third race and another second in race four gave Basilica the overall victory that had looked so likely since the first day when they won all of the day’s races.
With Basilica maintaining their lead, Tommy Hilfiger and Motorola were left to battle it out for second place, with Conrad Humphries’ team edging out the Americans to finish as runners-up.

Basilica skipper James Grant was delighted with his crew’s performance throughout the regatta commenting: “We have had a fantastic week’s racing here in Portsmouth. We have sailed as a team and have got stronger with each day. Sailing on our home waters means everything to us and we desperately wanted to give our supporters something to cheer for, which we have done in spectacular fashion. From day one we performed extremely well and after those four wins out of four we were confident we could win this regatta. With Hilfiger finishing third overall here we now have a great chance to go to Rotterdam and win the whole series. That has been our aim from the start and after the disappointing start in Spain, to be only two points off the lead going into the final leg is testament to how well we have come strengthened as a team.”

The VX40 teams now head off to Rotterdam for the final Grand Prix of the series. With only two points separating first placed Tommy Hilfiger and second placed Basilica there is everything to race for. Before that, on Saturday 3 June, the VX40s will take part in the Round the Island race, aiming to set a new all-time race record.

Results (from Portsmouth)
1. Basilica – 149 points
2. Motorola-CHR – 118 points
3. Tommy Hilfiger – 111 points
4. Holmatro – 101 points
5. Volvo Ocean Race – 81 points

Overall standings
1. Tommy Hilfiger – 32 points
2. Basilica – 30 points
3. Motorola-CHR – 26 points
4. Holmatro – 24 points
5. Volvo Ocean Race – 20 points