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Kiwi Super Yacht Aims To Take Fastnet Prize

KIWI SUPER YACHT AIMS TO TAKE FASTNET PRIZE AND OCEAN SAILING'S TRIFECTA

Kiwi super maxi and winner of the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart blue water classic, Alfa Romeo, will bid to win the Fastnet Race on 10 August 2003, completing a victorious trifecta of the three leading ocean yacht races in the world in just eight months.

The New Zealand and Australian-built and crewed Alfa Romeo will face their toughest test in the notoriously difficult and infamous Fastnet race, but the challenge will not come from the conditions with her skipper, New Zealander Neville Crichton, believing Alfa Romeo can cope with what ever the Atlantic Ocean can dish up in the way of weather. What threatens Alfa Romeo's clean sweep of yachting's biggest prizes is the line-up of competing yachts taking part in one of the world's largest and most famous yachting regattas, The Royal Cowes Regatta.

"The Fastnet is a difficult, unpredictable race, with conditions have ranged from ideal sailing to some of the most dangerous seas in the world. It is one of the toughest tests of yacht and crew in the world and, therefore, very hard to make predictions" says Neville Crichton. "That said, we believe that we have the ideal yacht and crew to not just win the race, but to also challenge the race record. Alfa Romeo was built to win the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, the only race that comes close to the diverse and difficult sailing conditions of the Fastnet Race." "For a start, Alfa Romeo was not designed to be a specialist racer, but to be competitive in all conditions. She has demonstrated that she has the ability to cope with light seas and winds and still put in winning performances both in the Mediterranean this year and in the highly unusually gentle winds in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart. On the other hand, she was designed to be able to cope with the worst possible conditions in the Sydney to Hobart and, in particular, the notorious Bass Strait. For example, the mast can take the equivalent of 15 Alfa Romeo 156s hanging from it and still be in racing mode. The crew are all seasoned professionals, able to not just cope with these conditions, but to also race in them."

Although Alfa Romeo has clear wins in the Sydney to Hobart and the Mediterranean classic, the Rolex Giraglia Cup, as well as more than 50 other race wins since her launch last year, she now faces her biggest challenge yet. "Without a doubt, the biggest unknown quantity we face in the race is the competition. We will be up against the widest range and largest number of highly competitive maxi yachts that we have yet faced, any of which has the ability, given the right conditions, to provide us with a fight right to the line for victory," says Neville Crichton, "We are prepared, Alfa Romeo is prepared and now we will face out biggest challenge yet, bidding for victory in the 2003 Rolex Fastnet Race."

(ends)

Editor's Notes: Neville Crichton is available in Australia for interview until Saturday 26 July, prior to him leaving for the United Kingdom.

Details of Alfa Romeo and high resolution pictures may be found at www.alfaromeo.com.au/shockwave

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