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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 05:06 GMT
GBR Challenge exit
Picture courtesy of Jon Nash and GBR Challenge
GBR Challenge lost by one minute and 42 seconds

Britain's GBR Challenge and French team Le Defi Areva saw their America's Cup hopes dashed as they were eliminated after losing their races on Monday.

GBR Challenge were soundly beaten by Stars & Stripes and Le Defi fell to Victory Challenge.

Well done to my crew - they never let the team down and our boat handling was exceptional.

GBR challenge skipper Ian Walker

The defeats meant both teams lost their best-of-seven challenger series quarter-finals 4-1.

Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes and Sweden's Victory will now sail in the quarter-final repechage, which begins on Saturday.

They will meet American syndicate OneWorld and Italy's Prada, with the winners of the repechage going on to face Switzerland's Alinghi and USA's Oracle in the semi-finals.

GBR and Le Defi endured a miserable day on the Hauraki Gulf, with gear breakages and other mishaps contributing to their defeats.

The British boat was beaten by one minute and 42 seconds and Le Defi were outclassed by two minutes and 34 seconds.

The writing was on the wall for Britain's first America's Cup campaign in 16 years as Stars & Stripes dominated the start and took a 42-second lead at the top mark.

GBR rode a windshift down the first run to cut the lead by 20 seconds, but Conner's boat added 53 seconds on the third leg, 20 on the fourth and 29 on the run to the finish.

GBR Challange syndicate head Peter Harrison (picture courtesy of Rick Tomlinson and GBR Challenge)
GBR Challenge's Peter Harrison acknowledges the crowd

GBR Challlenge skipper Ian Walker admitted that they had been beaten by a better outfit by insisted his young crew had much to feel proud of.

"Stars and Stripes did a fantastic job over the five races we've had," said Walker.

"They managed to get the right side of the start each time, and they're some of the best sailors in the world and they never let us get back in the race.

"They said beforehand they knew we'd keep fighting and we did - we saw today we caught right back up downwind. But they sailed the shifts wonderfully and never gave us a chance.

"But well done to my crew. They never let the team down, I think our boat handling was exceptional.

"With more time and work on the design stuff I'm sure we can put more pressure on the other teams and we look forward to doing a better job in the future."

Although Le Defi was first across the start line, Victory led by 33 seconds at the first mark and extended on all subsequent legs.

Le Defi was unable to set a spinnaker after rounding the windward mark for the second time, initially because of a broken halyard and then because of problem with the running backstay.

It was then briefly unable to hoist its spinnaker pole until a new halyard could be fixed, and Victory's lead extended considerably.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Richard Simmonds
"It has been a useful learning exercise for GBR"
GBR Challenge chairman Peter Harrison
"We've had a fantastic amount of success"
GBR Challenge skipper Ian Walker
"Beating Oracle was a huge highlight for us"
America's Cup

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