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GBR Challenge taking on Prada at the 2002 Louis Vuitton Cup
Tank testing at Haslar with the aborted GBR Challenge 04/07 campaign
Wolfson Unit

The esoteric nature of the America’s Cup is very compelling for any yacht design practice of a raceboat inclination. The very intensity of the event opens doors to areas of reasearch that may not otherwise be accessible, and the Humphreys office is privileged to have figured in the great event over a couple of decades. Rob Humphreys was first brought in to the America’s Cup cauldron by Peter de Savary for the Blue Arrow challenge in the late eighties, a time of great change as the Twelve Metre Class gave way to an uncertain future. Indeed Humphreys was very invloved in the evolution of the IACC class in the aftermath of the K-Boat/Catamaran contest, acting as Chairman of the Designers’ Group in the Southampton round of meetings that effectively defined the new class. He had also been one of the design team that came up with the hydrofoil-stabilised Blue Arrow, a radical attempt to invade the closed-shop contest between the New Zealand K-Boat and the American catamaran.

In the late nineties Humphreys was invited to join Peter Harrison’s GBR Challenge, and after a catch-up experience for the team in Auckland a slimmed-down set-up was put together for 2004-2007, with Rob Humphreys and Phil Morrison retained as principal designers. Sadly, Peter Harrison’s investment was not matched by a sponsorship counter-balance that he required, and the plug was pulled after very promising early hull development work.