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Strong Winds Mean Cancellation For Le Defi

Press Release 20: Wednesday 2 October, 2002 - Auckland

STRONG WINDS MEAN CANCELLATION FOR LE DEFI AGAINST VICTORY CHALLENGE

Difficult wind conditions in the Hauraki Gulf today meant that the second day of Louis Vuitton Cup racing was cancelled and regattas postponed until tomorrow.

At 12.30pm today, the race committee boat made the decision to cancel all racing due to strong winds with gusts on the Hauraki Gulf up to well over 30 knots. A veritable flotilla of America’s Cup Class and accompanying support boats headed back towards Auckland harbour en masse.

The decision to cancel was made not long after the race-preparation signal was given. For America’s Cup starts, the wind needs to reach between 7 and 19 knots but today, there were gusts over and above even the 23 knots at which racing is considered marginal.

The decision to cancel means that all the races scheduled for today will take place tomorrow and not on the reserve day as is more often the case. All matches have been put back one day meaning that LE DEFI AREVA FRA-69 will take on the Swedes SWE-63 tomorrow, Prada ITA-74 on Friday and GBR 70 on Satuday before a planned bye on Sunday. Monday will see the French team race Oracle USA-76, Tuesday, OneWorld USA-67 and Mascalzone Latino ITA-72 on Wednesday 10 October.

All that only if the weather holds. Forecasts for tomorrow are similar to today with winds predicted to be between 19 and 24 knots.

The French team is making the most of this unexpected half-day by checking FRA-69 and preparing mentally and physically for tomorrow’s challenge against the Swedes.

"Today was an opportunity to race in extreme conditions against another strong challenger. Though this won’t end up happening until tomorrow, we were able to spend several hours on the Hauraki Gulf today getting used to the unpredictable weather patterns out there. Every minute on the water counts", says Sailing Manager, Pierre Mas.

The crew list for tomorrow is the same as today’s: Romain Troublé will remain bowman, Ronan Lucas as second bowman, Fabrice Blondel as mastman, Jean-François Rivalant in the pit, Eric Carret as sewer, Frederic Le Maistre and Jean-Paul Levrel as grinders, Thierry Douillard and Dimitri Despierres as headsail trimmers, Fabrice Levet as runner, Julien Cressant as mainsail grinder, Tanguy Cariou as mainsail trimmer and Sébastien Col as traveller. The afterguard comprises Philippe Presti as helmsman, Philippe Mourniac as navigator and Luc Pillot as skipper. 17th woman will be Mrs. Helen Garnett.

ENDS

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