The new boat has been built by the Mag Océa yard, just outside La Rochelle in France and will shortly be taken on her first test sail prior to being taken up to her homeport, the multihull mecca of La Trinité-sur-Mer, where she will be officially christened on March 29th.
Sponsored by the world's leading agro-chemical company, who are soon to be purchased by the Aventis Cropscience Group, Bayer has been designed by Nigel Irens and is a sistership to Loick Peyron's Fujifilm and Karine Fauconnier's Sergio Tacchini with whom she shares moulds. However she has some modifications including raised crossbeams, more sail area, optimised deck layout to make it easier to get between the steering positions, raised winches and a modified cockpit providing more protection from the elements in foul weeather.
Another significant change to the Bayer campaign is that Fred Le Peutrec has taken over from Yvan Bourgnon as skipper.
Le Peutrec has a background in the Olympics and came sixth at Atlanta on the Tornado). Fred is one of the finest helmsmen around and is a renowned and talented tactician, who has been a regular crewman on Fujicolor on the 60ft trimaran circuit. He was also chosen by Bruno Peyron as helmsman for his various Atlantic Record attempts on board his maxi-catamaran Explorer and subsequently went on to take part in The Race as one of Grant Dalton's crewmen on Club Med.
"This post is a first for me, even though when I was sailing sports catamarans as helmsman I had to take the same decisions that I'll be taking today," confided Le Peutrec. "The difference this time is the size of the crew. I have no pre-defined method for managing these men who are also friends. I know only that there is a genuine relational harmony on board. The partnership with Bayer is clearly defined, the boat and crew are reliable, it's a sound base for hoping to quickly obtain results".
The Bayer Sailing Team will be taking part on the ORMA full crewed 60ft trimaran Grand Prix circuit this year culminating in the Route de Rhum in November. Among the team are:
Loïc Lingois: 15 transatlantics, 19 grands prix, 6 Round Europes - Loïc's vast experience has been forged on the greatest racing multihulls: Stalaven, Poulain, Jet Services, Elf Aquitaine, Pierre 1er. Today Loïc takes on the role of boat captain on the Bayer project, and on board he's in charge of the mainsheet traveller.
Stéphane Marciak: From the one-design school, Stéphane is also a qualified engineer is a specialist in naval architecture and composite materials. Precious skills that he was able to exercise during the design of the mast and rigging of the French ACC challenger 6e Sens. In charge of technical matters and computers aboard, he will be on halyards.
Franck Citeau: sixth in the Atlanta Olympics on Tornadoes with Fred Le Peutrec, Citeau was a member of the Défi Français America's Cup team on board 6e Sens, and is a regular on the 60ft tri circuit. Franck is teaming up again today with the one he shared many a podium on the Olympic circuit. Franck will be in charge of mainsail trimming.
Alexis de Cénival: another Club Med crewman from The Race, Alexis combines his career as a dentist and his passion for ocean racing. Volvo Race, Admiral's Cup, the Swan circuit... he has sailed on some of the greatest boats. On Bayer, he will be bowman.
Brice Berthier: In charge of the sail loft for the French America's Cup syndicates in '86 and '92, Brice has also cut the sails for a great number of multihulls: Royale, Fleury Michon, Fuji, Commodore Explorer... A sailmaker for 15 years, he is in charge of the All Purpose sail loft. Brice will be grinder on board.
Julien Cressant: After starting on the Maxi circuit, Julien was selected by the Défi Français for the 99/2000 America's Cup. He then sailed on Banque Populaire, Bayer en France and La Trinitaine before participating in The Race with Loïck Peyron on Innovation Explorer. This year Julien will be organising his work schedule between Bayer, where he will be a trimmer, and the new French America's Cup challenger.
Nicolas Pichelin: Another former Club Med crewman from The Race, Nicolas joined the 60 ft circuit when he sailed last year on La Trinitaine and Bonduelle. Nicolas also participated in the entire records campaign of Explorer with Bruno Peyron from 97 to 99. With a huge thirst for sailing, Nicolas is also involved in the Défi Français, another adventure that will take him to the land of the Kiwis this coming August.
Jochen Krauth: A very talented windsurfer, Jochen has won many titles on the professional circuit including the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Speed Championship in 1996. A speed freak, he was the first to exceed 40 knots on the sea in 1990. His only multihull experience has been doing raids on sports catamarans. But Jochen is keen to learn; he will be doing pit.
Jacques Roudeau: For 10 years, Jacques was a long term crewman on the previous Bayer and in her previous incarnations as RMO, Primagaz, Foncia and ultimately Bayer en France. As the boat's technical manager, he took part in all the transformations, from the most radical to the most daring. Last May, he joined the Bayer sailing Team where he is now the project's technical manager.
Alexandre Marmorat: Alexandre deepened his knowledge on composites, the favourite materials of current multihulls, in the workshops of the Ecole National de Voile. Such skills have made him a sought-after shore crew, whether it is for Open 60s like Whirlpool in the 2000 Vendée Globe, the development of the trimaran Fujifilm, or the technical overseeing of the new Bayer today.
The old Bayer is still being sailed by Yvan Bourgnon and is now called Nautica.
Fred le Peutrec with his new beast