Andy Beadsworth interview

In Auckland Ed Gorman speaks to the former Olympian about GBR Challenge and his role within it

Tuesday January 29th 2002, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
Ed Gorman in Auckland spoke to the GBR Challenge's Andy Beadsworth about the prospects for the syndicate, this winter's training and the tricky business of selecting an A-team for the Louis Vuitton Cup.

madforsailing: Andy, how do you think the whole GBR Challenge programme is going? What's your feeling about it?

Andy Beadsworth: I think that what we've achieved so far has been everything we would have hoped to have done and maybe a little bit more. I think that the important thing is that we are still at the bottom of a very steep hill with an awful lot to learn and it doesn't need to be forgotten. We haven't forgotten
that. But what we have achieved is quite remarkable and we've done really well.

mfs: What do you see as the main areas where there are still improvements to make?

AB: The key area is just learning to sail the boat fast and what makes them go fast including sail design, boat design, foils. We're very new to all of that game. Although we have some very good people involved we don't have a huge amount of experience in the Cup boats particularly in Auckland. The likes of Oracle and OneWorld have picked up a lot of personnel from previous campaigns where we haven't. So we are completely fresh to what makes the boats tick in this venue and we have got a whole lot to learn on foils, wings, rudders, balance, rigs, sails. We're very much at the bottom of that learning curve

mfs: But it seems that the general methodology of the syndicate is good in the way that the team is approaching its task. It looks well equipped to make these leaps.

AB: I think one of the big things we are trying to make the most of, is being a small team, rather than seeing that as a disadvantage. We are quite a tight unit and we are all quite close to each other. We are all pretty much the same nationality and we were all mainly friends before we started. So there is a whole lot we have been able to achieve efficiently because we are a small team.

mfs: You set out the scale of the challenge just now but there also seems to be a strong feeling that the syndicate could go some distance, at least in the Louis Vuitton Cup?

AB: I'm sure one of the biggest things that the team really believes, is that we are going to rattle the cages of the big guys and we are going to be able to take races off them. Some of it is unknown yet - we haven't had all the card dealt yet and we're not sure of the handle were holding - but we feel fairly punchy. Even if we don't win the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup we'll probably have a major deciding influence on who does.

But there is that little dream there that. If we get the dream hand and our boat is fast and it comes together and we don't fall over anywhere, we might possibly be able to do better than we think. But everybody is very realistic - you only have to look out of the window to see what a mammoth mountain it is to climb and that there are teams there which deserve a huge amount of respect and it would be wrong to suggest anything different.

mfs: So is there a positive underdog aspect to the GBR Challenge?

AB: I think there is, yes. We really are looking at everything to try and take advantage of our position rather than see pitfalls. There are definite advantages with the size of the campaign we are and with the budget we have. There are advantages there and we're trying to make the most of those and not worry too much about the disadvantages because there's nothing we can do to change them.

The nice element to being the underdog is that we've got no track record and there is nothing to take away from us. We've only got stuff to gain. There is always a risk, however, of a very bad performance which wouldn't be good for anybody; not for us or for British sailing or for Peter Harrison.

Continued on page 2...

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