British Grand Prix, Plymouth, 27 July 2001

A light but long offshore swell was making life interesting forrace crews this afternoon during practice for Sunday's Class 1 offshore GP.

A light but long offshore swell was making life interesting for race crews this afternoon during practice for Sunday’s Class 1 offshore GP. With the ro-ro transport from Arendal docking 24 hours late at Plymouth, teams were only able to unload boats and equipment this morning. But by 1600 all teams had set up in Queen Anne’s Battery Marina and two boats launched for trials on the practcie circuit outside Plymouth breakwater.The bright yellow Damas was first off, throttled by Vincenzo Polli.

“We’re very happy with the boat,” said Polli on his return. “We’ve done some major changes to the gear ratios and it’s running much better than in the last three races.” But at 140mph-plus the the 3ft (1m) swell proved awkward on the upwind leg. “It’s very, very long and hard to read,” confirmed Polli. “If it stays until Sunday it will be difficult to decide which propellers to use.” Sayeed Al Tayer’s Victory 7 was the next boat out and was reported to be running well at 140mph with no problems. “But it sounds bumpy out there,” remarked a team mechanic listening in to the crew via an intercom link. British throttleman Steve Curtis of Spirit of Norway was relaxed about the delay to the practice session. “We’ll go out tomorrow,” he said. “The boat’s not set up. If we rush it we’ll only break something.” What about the swell? “It sounds like it’s only 2-3ft but that can cause trouble,” he confirmed. “Once you get air underneath it’s really hard to get the boat down again, and then when you get it down you can’t get the revs up again… it’s a right old hullabaloo.” With the forecast set fair for the weekend it’s unlikely the swell will affect Sunday’s race, which starts at 1330.