Out in the Gulf
The French America's Cup challenge Le Defi Areva hoisted sail for the first time this week in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.
FRA-79, one of the two fluorescent yellow boats that arrived in Auckland by ship last week, is now flying the logos of two new major sponsors, Groupe Legris Industries and Devoteam Consulting.
As main sponsor for the French team in the 1992 America's Cup and ongoing supporter of the Challenge, Groupe Legris Industries is joining forces with Devoteam Consulting, (the Challenger's web providers) to assume prominence on the mainsail and hull of the French boat in 2003.
"We are thrilled that Legris and Devoteam have decided to join the ranks of major sponsors in this year's Cup Challenge," commented General Manager for Le Defi Areva, Xavier de Lesquen. "Legris Industries has participated in the America's Cup since 1992 and has been with Le Defi Areva since its inception in 1997. Their support has been invaluable to the development of the project, as has that of Devoteam Consulting who have created an impressive and interactive website for us."
After a month off the water, the French sailing team has been champing at the bit to get back into training now that they have arrived en masse from their training camp in Lorient.
"It was fantastic", said Philippe Presti who was at the helm of FRA-79 when she made her inaugrial voyage into the Hauraki Gulf. "There was a little bit of anticipation before we sailed but the team quickly got back into the swing of things and did some good work out there. After three years of build-up, we are looking forward to some great competition when racing starts on October 1st."
The French Challenge is still something of an unknown quantity in syndicate circles, with the yellow/lime green boats as yet untested against other challengers.
Le Defi Areva's other boat FRA-69 is still in the base's hangar undergoing modification work.