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Image: D-Day For Le Defi Areva

Press Release 36 - Saturday 2 November , Auckland


LE DEFI AREVA beat Mascalzone Latino today in a stand off that will see the French pass through to the Quarter Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the Latin Rascals go home to Naples. It was an emotional day for all concerned.

Shifty winds between 13 – 16 knots meant the course had to be reset this morning and after a close lead-up to the start-line, ITA 72 crossed 1 second ahead of the French team. On the expert advice of LE DEFI AREVA’s weather team, FRA 69 took the right hand side of the course and playing the wind to maximum effect, they covered the Italians and led straight up to the top mark.

Rounding 28 seconds ahead of the Latin Rascals, the French manoeuvred a great spinnaker set and led the first leeward leg by as much as 10 boatlengths. Results of downwind modifications to FRA 69 between Round Robins were definitely in evidence, especially next to ITA 72 which is well-known for its downwind speed.

LE DEFI AREVA led ITA 72 around the second mark by 30 seconds. The second windward leg was a battle of tacks and jibes, with good sail management and good boat speed allowing FRA 69 to lead all the way back up to the top mark. In squalls and winds of 20 knots, the French rounded the windward buoy with a 54 second delta over Mascalzone Latino.

The last leg saw both teams playing the wind, with FRA 69 covering every one of Mascalzone’s jibes. But the French had the better of the Italians this time around, increasing their lead to 400m and crossing the finish line 1.10 minutes ahead.

It was a day of plain sailing (not to mention qualification for the Quarter Finals!) for LE DEFI AREVA, but of real sadness for Mascalzone as well.

"The Italian Rascals have brought so much to the Round Robins – a bit of fun, some great racing and quite a bit of pressure for us!", says skipper-helmsman Luc Pillot. "We always knew it was going to be a challenge to break into the Quarter Finals with the competition that was out there, and with the way things have been going, it could just as easily have been us packing our bags today.

"It was great racing against Mascalzone and we really admire their attitude and what they have achieved in their first crack at the Cup. We look forward to racing them again in 2006!" he adds.

LE DEFI AREVA will continue its challenge for the Louis Vuitton Cup, with a final race against Oracle BMW Racing tomorrow and its entry into the Quarter Finals starting 12 November. LE DEFI will also be trialling its second boat FRA 79 again tomorrow.

Other results from today’s racing:

Flight 9: OneWorld (USA 67) beat Prada Luna Rossa (ITA 74) by 54 seconds; Alinghi (SUI 64) beat Victory Challenge (SWE 73) by 29 seconds; Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76) beat GBR Challenge (GBR 70) by 2 minutes;

Flight 5: OneWorld (USA 67) beat Stars & Stripes (USA 66) by 1.19 minutes; Alinghi (SUI 64) beat GBR Challenge (GBR 70) by 1.26 minutes. Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76) vs Victory Challenge (SWE 73) was cancelled and will run tomorrow.

The crew list for LE DEFI AREVA against Oracle BMW Racing tomorrow is as follows: Ronan Lucas as bowman, Jean-Marie Dauris as second bowman, Pierre Masse as mastman, Timmy Kröger in the pit, Gilles André as sewer, Stefan Fodor and Jean-Paul Levrel as grinders, Thierry Douillard and Dimitri Despierres as headsail trimmers, Luc Gellusseau as runner and strategist, Julien Cressant as mainsail grinder, Tanguy Cariou as mainsail trimmer and Sébastien Col as traveller. The afterguard comprises Luc Pillot as helmsman/skipper, Philippe Mourniac as navigator and Sébastien Destremau as tactician. 17th man tomorrow will be Mr. Lecerf from Devoteam.


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