Areva diary

Sebastien Destremau reports of life on board the French America's Cup challenger with photos by Christian Fevrier
Life is getting really interesting for us in Lorient with the French America's Cup Team - Defi Areva. We started our summer sailing season with a collision during a pre-start last week and we had to spend two days in the yard fixing the boats. Never mind that is part of the job. The planning is hectic and we are all working 15 hours a day with 2 days off every couple of weeks. It is amazing how much work load there is to maintain these boats ... they are big and massive but so fragile ... and we are loving it!! Yesterday, for the first time we went sailing with more than 18 knots of wind (that was our limit up until now). For safety reasons we've decided to take only one boat out. The beginning of the session started with 18 knots and ended up with 25. It doesn't seem to be a lot of wind when you are used to sail in the Fremantle Doctor in Perth (Western Australia) however with these powerful machines (25 tons) .... it is like going to war!! The power is already huge when the wind is blowing 15 and when it increases to 22 or 25, then the story changes dramatically. The program of the day was to complete an America's Cup course which is 3 laps on a 3.25miles course. A lot of swell in an increasing wind, not to mention the rain and the cold, made the training conditions very difficult. But we were all looking forward to go out ... to discover what it really is to sail these beasts in heavy weather.... boys! Welcome to real World! Soon after the start, we began a series of tacks which were a real worry for the material. The boat was making some