Orange christened and crewed

With pomp, circumstance and French rugby stars at ceremony in Marseilles

Tuesday January 22nd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Bruno Peyron (centre) with his new crew

Following the finale of The Race, the French city of Marseilles has become one of Bruno Peyron's biggest supporters and it was here that Peyron chose to stage the christening and crew announcement of Orange, the former Innovation Explorer in which he plans to set off round the world on the Jules Verne Trophy in the next few weeks.

Also part of the show were many representatives from the French national rugby team, Marseilles' mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin and Guy Lafarge, Marketing Manager of Orange France.

13 crew are to race the 110ft Gilles Ollier-designed catamaran on their non-stop trip round the world in February and these have a combination of talents acquired in the Volvo Race, the America's Cup, The Race, the ORMA 60ft trimaran circuit, and the Figaro class.

The crew for the record attempt will be:

Bruno Peyron - skipper
Gilles Chiorri - technical manager and watch captain
Hervé Jan - in charge of sails and watch captain
Nick Moloney - in charge of safety and watch captain
Yann Eliès - helmsman and in charge of fittings
Sébastien Josse - helmsman
Ronan Le Goff - fittings
Benoit Briand - trimmer
Jean-Baptiste Epron - crewman, cameraman and in charge of stores
Florent Chastel - bowman and rigger
Vladimir Dzalda Lyndis - crewman, mechanic
Yves Le Blévec - crewman, boat builder.

Although he wasn't present at the launch the 13th man is Philippe Péché, who took part in The Race on board Cam Lewis’ Team Adventure.

At about 14.30 on Monday afternoon before a crowd gathered in front of Marseilles' Quai d’Honneur pontoon, Orange cast off for a final promenade along the Marseilles seafront, before heading out to sea bound for Brest, the start port for the Jules Verne, where she is due to arrive on February 1st.

Skipper Bruno Peyron commented: "Our story starts today and we are proud of flying the colours of Orange, Marseilles and France Télécom, in the hope that when we return, we will have merited this confidence entrusted in us today. I am happy to be setting off surrounded by a crew with so much varied competence and very complementary experience. I am trying to remain as humble as possible faced with the scale of the objectives that we have fixed ourselves. I am conscious of the implications that this new adventure means for The Race 2004. We know, Olivier de Kersauson and myself, that we will be closely watched during this campaign. Our objective is still to set forth in a duel, but in the knowledge that neither he nor I will be able to refuse any exceptional weather window that might present itself".

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