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Le Defi Areva Concedes To Orn (Swe-63)


Press Release 21 - Friday 4 October - Auckland

LE DEFI AREVA CONCEDES TO ORN (SWE-63)

The Swedish Victory Challenge had their first on-water success today against the French team after three days on dry-dock: a bye on the first day of racing and two days of bad-weather postponements. An even pairing saw the French concede a comparatively narrow victory to the Swedes of 1.06 minutes.

"It is a setback today, but we are not without hope", says Sailing Manager, Pierre Mas. "We know that our boat is fast enough and we saw that the team was working well together today. All the progress that we have made over the past few weeks and months is rapidly consolidating – we fought hard but yes, we still have work to do."

The French needed a picture-perfect regatta to beat a solid Swedish performance on the Hauraki Gulf this afternoon. The pairing of the two teams was considered even following last week’s training sessions but today, the French committed several errors which lost them precious seconds over the course of the regatta. They were slightly behind at the first buoy and then spent more than two minutes replacing what was the spectacular first of doubtless many a ripped spinnaker over the course of the next few weeks.

These technical errors stopped the French from putting points on the board today but the team is not at all disappointed with their performance.

"We raced OK this afternoon", says skipper Luc Pillot. "We had a good start with some efficient tacks, and good boat speed on both windward and leeward legs. The team reacted well in replacing the ripped spinnaker – it’s a manoeuvre that we don’t often have to do and the guys were at their peak. All in all, it was another good formative day of racing. Now we are focusing on the match tomorrow against Prada", says the skipper of LE DEFI AREVA.

Technical director Luc Gellusseau agrees: "Today’s regatta shows that we are not very far away from optimum performance. Our boat and our team is evolving all the time and today, we were really in the match. We are definitely getting there!"

Swedish skipper Jesper Bank was a gracious winner. "This is not the first time that I have raced against Luc and Philippe [Presti – helmsman]. We were more comfortable in this regatta than we could have been against the French. We have competed with them in training and our boats were bow to bow at one stage today, so we have to be satisfied with the edge we had at the finish."

The crew list for the French team against Prada tomorrow is as follows: Romain Troublé as bowman, Gilles Andre as second bowman, Fabrice Blondel as mastman, Jean-François Rivalant in the pit, Eric Carret as sewer, Frederic Le Maistre and Stefan Fodor 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 tomorrow will be Mrs. Patricia Colmant from the French magazine, Course au Large.

Other results from today’s racing: Stars and Stripes (USA 66) beat Prada (ITA 74) by 35 seconds, OneWorld (USA67) beat Alinghi (SUI 64) by 10 seconds and Oracle (USA 76) beat Mascalzone Latino (ITA 72) by 2.03 minutes.

ENDS

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