Le Defi announce afterguard

Talented trio at the back end of the flourescent lime boat

Monday September 16th 2002, Author: Daniel Asante, Location: France
From left to right: Presti, Pillot and Mourniac

Le Defi Areva have announced their sailing team and afterguard for the Louis Vuitton Challenger series starting on 1 October.

Luc Pillot will assume the role of tactician and skipper, while Philippe Presti will be at the helm and Philippe Mourniac will navigate the team's lime, fluorescent boat through the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

"We have pulled together a team which is representative of the collective spirit of the French Challenge", explains Pierre Mas, Sailing Manager for Le Defi Areva. "The afterguard was selected on the basis of performance and experience to date, but it is only one of a number of possible permutations that could have worked. Pillot, Presti and Mourniac all have the rigour of an Olympic training background and they have developed that certain level of complicity that is vital to any leadership role - both on and off the water."

Luc Pillot has spent nearly 20 years on international sailing circuits. He was an Olympic medallist in 470: bronze in Los Angeles - 1984 and gold in Seoul - 1988. In match racing, he is a three-time French Champion, two-time World Vice Champion and European Champion in 1999. He won the Tour de France à la Voile in 1998 and was placed 8th year in the ISAF match racing world rankings.

"The position of skipper and tactician is always key to the performance of the crew and I am honoured to be entrusted with the role. The team has worked tirelessly to achieve the level of skill, performance and teamwork they are now sitting at, and we can't wait to put our capabilities to the test on the water come October 1", says Luc Pillot.

Philippe Presti is only 36, but already has 15 years of Olympic-class sailing behind him. Presti is two-time world Finn champion and world vice-champion in Soling, with two French match-racing titles in the last five years. He is currently placed 10th in the ISAF match racing world rankings and is preparing not only for the America's Cup 2003, but the Olympic Games in Greece in 2004.

"The America's Cup is a brilliant highlight of my career, and I am privileged to be helmsman for Le Defi Areva 2003. For me, working on these ACC boats is an amazing but humbling experience: I know that I am not racing alone, so the team dynamics become of huge importance to our performance out there. The crew has enormous potential and I will be doing all I can to maximise that."

Philippe Mourniac is 37 and has 10 years of Olympic sailing on his C.V. A qualified engineer, Mourniac was a performance analyst for the French Challenge in 1992, then went on to compete to vice-champ level in the World Tornado Championships from 1995 to 2001. He also has titles in the F18 Class and French match racing internationals and competed in the multihull circuit in 2001.

"I get on very well with Luc and Philippe and have great respect for their experience and intelligence. Presti and I have known each other for years and I sailed with Pillot in the Swedish Match Tour. We have established good lines of communication in the afterguard and are reading from the same page. Of course, I am honoured to be incuded in the afterguard but the real privilege is working with the whole team of Le Defi Areva. Their dedication is mind-blowing!"

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