French challenger launched

FRA-69 plopped in water at gala ceremony in Lorient

Saturday May 18th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Film director Claude Lelouch and Patricia Kass, the star of his latest film, last night christened the Défi Areva’s new boat, FRA-69. This is the boat that will sail for the French team in the 31st America's Cup competition.

The naming ceremony took place in the presence of New Zealand's ambassador to France, the President of the French Sailing Federation (the FFV), the Commodore of the Union Nationale Course au Large (UNCL), the challenging yacht club, and the entire Défi Areva team.

Claude Lelouch's latest film, And now ladies and gentlemen will close the 2002 Cannes Film Festival this coming week. Its hero, Jeremy Irons, meets Patricia Kass as he is preparing to sail around the world. Lelouch's film, as all films are, was a labour of love and took two long years to make, much the same as the French team feel about FRA-69. Since March 2000, the end of the last America’s Cup, the Défi has concentrated on one objective - bringing the America’s Cup to France for the first time.

Since being a semi finalist in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000 the Défi has been continuing its pursuit of the America’s Cup. It has assembled a strong team of 90 people. The Défi is hosted in the Breton port of Lorient where it has built an impressive custom-designed base from which the team will operate until it leaves for New Zealand. In its pursuit of the America’s Cup the team is accompanied on a daily basis by 22 partner companies and is benefiting from the know-how and expertise of more than 50 manufacturers and suppliers.

Amongst these is Le Defi's principle sponsor the Areva Group, comprising the companies Cogema, Framatome ANP and FCI, who joined the Défi’s challene on 11 January 2002.

The Yaka Design Team, who created FRA-69, dedicated 35,000 hours to researching their new boat, using all tools available including tank and wind tunnel testing before coming up with the finalising the design on 27 October 2001.

Building took six months the Multiplast yard in Vannes and sailing will take place for the first time today. From here on it will be up to the sailors, engineers and technicians of the Défi Areva to develop the boat and draw the most from the design's potential in competition.

A huge fleet of pleasure boats are expected to escort the new ACC boat out into the Bay of Lorient for her maiden outing. The boat will then be brought into Lorient's Downtown Marina where the team will be presented to the Lorient public who have been such gracious hosts for more than a year.


LOA - 25m
Beam - 4m
Draught - 4m
Masthead above water - 32.5m
Displacement - 25 tons
Ballast - 20 tons
Upwind sail area - 350sqm
Downwind sail area - 800sqm

Hull and deck - Multiplast (Vannes)
Sails - North
Spars - Espace Composite
Winches - Lewmar
Foils: JP3, Labourier, Aubert-Duval
Deck gear - Facnor, FCI (Groupe AREVA), Lewmar, Dimension, Polyant, Plsatimo, Wichard

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