BBC Sweet Victory

Friday, 30 May 2003
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Sweet victory for Green By Richard Simmonds BBC sailing commentator in Monaco Andy Green celebrates his victory Winning the Laureus 2003 Regatta in Monaco was a rich reward for the way top British match-racing sailor Andy Green has handled a difficult six months. Last autumn, Green was fulfilling a childhood dream when he was selected as starting helmsman for the first British America's Cup campaign for 15 years. But early in the opening round in Auckland he was substituted and former Olympic sailor Andy Beadsworth was given the job of steering GBR Challenge out of the blocks. Green never went back onto the front line on board the British boat - New Zealand for him was all about keeping a stiff upper lip and concealing his obvious disappointment. History reflects kindly on Green as whoever took control of the British boat at the start of their America's Cup Challenger Series races in 2002 struggled, as the machine proved tough to manoeuvre in a confined area. That may be fact but was Green good enough to cope with the cauldron of intensity that is the America's Cup and will he be back at the next Cup in four years time either for a British Challenge or another team? In the past week, Green has displayed that he is cool under big pressure. He was one of six top international match-racers competing in Monaco and battled his way through to the final against three-time Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schumann, who was also part of the 2003 America's Cup-winning Alinghi team. Green's victory in Monaco earned him a £50,000 Mercedes Schumann was the form-book favourite for the Laureus final which offered the winning skipper a new £50,000 Mercedes. Green won - and he won on the part of the race track where he had struggled in Auckland, giving the German master a lesson in the pre-start. Once in front he stayed cool, as the man who rarely finishes second tried everything to get out of Green's claws. It was mature sailing by Green as one false move would have seen Schumann past and into the driving seat of the race and the car. While this event is a hybrid on the international match-racing scene as skippers are sailing with "provided crews" and in very short races, Green's victory is significant. He had a big knock last autumn and could have had his confidence blown apart. His CV does not have the depth of some of his former team-mates in GBR Challenge and he has in many ways taken a fast-track route to the top without serving the normal apprenticeship in the lower leagues. Taking such "shortcuts" is not universally popular with those who have gone long haul to arrive at the same place. Green is passionate about being a major player in the next America's Cup and while other sailors are now heading for Olympic campaigns or round-the-world races, Green is sticking to the one-to-one combat of match-racing. Some argue that he should widen his experience in the sport but Green is driven by one event and I would be extremely surprised if he is not playing at the highest level in the next America's Cup. In the most lucrative two days of his sailing career, Green has bounced back in style

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