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At 13 Seconds To Victory

At 13 Seconds To Victory

PR 23 - Le Defi Areva - RR1 - Race Day 4 - 06/10/02

Press Release 23 Sunday 6 October, Auckland

At 13 Seconds To Victory

After having waited nearly 4 hours due to a missing wind in the Hauraki Golf, the race today has displayed a very tenacious French team. They get the best straight from the departure to keep it throughout the race. They have conceded a victory to GBR Challenge only at the end of the race, after completing a penalty turn just before the finishing line.

After a great deal of suspense, and a long delay to the racing program, LE DEFI AREVA's fourth regatta got under way at 4pm in 16 to 18 knots of breeze. The race course was moved closer to the North Shore.

At the pre-start, GBR was penalized for not having respected the rules concerning crossing the start line and entering into the starting box. The French boat started slightly ahead and to weather of GBR 70 at the start. The first windward leg is closely contested with less than 30 metres separating the two boats for the entire leg.

At the weather mark, a windshift causes both boats to overlay the mark, thus creating a delicate mark rounding. FRA 69 passes ahead and inside at the mark. However, in a moment of confusion, the umpires give the French two penalties. After the mark rounding, FRA 69 has a two boatlength lead in which to complete its 270 degree penalty turn.

From this point on, the remainder of the regatta is very tight. LE DEFI AREVA must absolutely build on its lead in order to complete its penalty turn before the finish line. FRA 69 manages to build a 170 metre lead by the final downwind leg. The British, however, manage to close to within 90 metres, thus preventing the French from completing their penalty turn. GBR 70 crosses the finish line with a 13 second lead.



Scoring a point has never that close today. A very tenacious race that LE DEFI AREVA leads until the last seconds. We have been pleased with the boat speed within those wind conditions and against such a challenger as GBR. The changes in the afterguard – Luc Pillot (helmsman-skipper), Luc Gellusseau (tactician) and Philippe Mourniac (navigator) - seem to be beneficial, allowing the team to progress with the on-board management of the boat.



Luc Pillot, skipper and helmsman of FRA69 : ''We haven’t really understood why we have been penalised. The Umpires have given us a red flag for later on cancelling it during our first seamanship approaching the buoy. There has been a bit of confusion among the syndicates. We are not questioning the refereeing but we are going to carefully analyse the comments of the umpires.''

Pierre Mas, Sailing Manager : ''After our first races, we have noticed a lack of experience of our afterguard in the on-board management of a big boat, this is why the afterguard has been reconfigured. To win, we have to be good in every sector, as much as regarding the speed of the boat than the performance of the crew, after a race like today, we know we are close to the target.''


© Scoop Media

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