INDEPENDENT NEWS

Last Chance Saloon For Le Defi Areva

Published: Mon 18 Nov 2002 02:19 PM
Press Release 43 - Friday 15 November, Auckland
Last Chance Saloon For LE DEFI AREVA
LE DEFI AREVA today lost their third consecutive match against the Swedish Victory Challenge in this best of seven, Quarter Final series. An unspectacular start for the French team put them behind the Swedes who had made another excellent debut. Victory comfortably led LE DEFI AREVA to their third defeat in as many days. The next race is do or die.
There was no dial-up in today’s match but a long circling phase before the start. It was a split-tack departure with the French on port and the Swedes in a slightly stronger position on starboard. LE DEFI AREVA were luke-warm over the start line and the Swedes made the most of it, charging ahead to make the most of the shifty winds patterns and rounding the first mark with a 45 second advantage.
Victory Challenge was doing everything right today, with a perfect spinnaker set and increased advantage on the first leeward leg. But the French are nothing if not battlers, closing the downwind delta by 4 seconds at the second mark.
Another tough windward leg saw the French choose the port side of Course Romeo, sailing with a lateral gap of 300m, hoping for a fortuitous windshift to the right. At the end of the second beat to windward, FRA 69 was trailing Örm SWE 73 by 1 minute exactly – a gain of 19 seconds for Victory.
Victory controlled the second leeward leg of the match, sailing steadily to increase their advantage by 14 seconds at the fourth mark. The French lagged behind, again unable to make up for lost ground and lost time. The Swedes’ advantage at the fifth mark was around 400m and the delta was increased to 1.19 minutes.
The final leg changed nothing, despite a bumbled spinnaker set by the Swedes. They led from start to finish, marking their third point against the French with a final delta of 1.12 minutes.
"We are feeling the effects of a culmination of factors", says Sailing Manager, Pierre Mas. "The Swedes have a fast boat and they have not put a foot wrong - I commend them on that. But we French are tricky - we pulled out some surprises at the end of the Round Robins, and I am certainly not ruling that out for the Quarter Finals."
Philippe Mourniac, navigator of the FRA 69, is unflinchingly positive. "Today was perhaps the most difficult of our Quarter Final regattas to date. The Swedes were pretty much impeccable today and played the windshifts like natives. It was nice work on their part. But our team knows that it has beaten Victory before today and there is every chance that we can do it again. We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that that day will be tomorrow!"
Other results from today’s racing: Stars & Stripes (USA 77) beat GBR (GBR 70) by 2.10 minutes; Alinghi (SUI 64) beat Prada (ITA 74) by 0.08 seconds and Oracle BMW Racing (USA 76) beat OneWorld (USA 65) by 0.19 seconds.
With one more race for three of the match-ups, points for the Quarter Finals stand as follows:
Stars & Stripes: 2 vs GBR: 1
Alinghi: 3 vs Prada: 0
Oracle BMW Racing: 3 vs beat OneWorld: 0
Victory: 3 vs LE DEFI AREVA: 0
More information available at www.ledefi.com

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