Orange II christened
Peyronpresented his 13 crew members who will be on board when the team attempt to defend their Jules Verne Trophy record of 64 days, 08 hours, 37 minutes and 24 seconds.
In fine winter sunshine and with the crowds assembled on the quayside Didier Quillot, paid homage to the work accomplished by Gilles Ollier and his team at Multiplast and all those who have been working for months preparing this new giant.
"Orange France is faithful to the Jules Verne Trophy adventure with Bruno Peyron, as it is both an exceptional sporting challenge and an example of magnificent human endeavour... This boat represents for Orange a symbolic form of expression and a unique opportunity to enable people to experience the adventure at first hand, thanks to the different communication services offered by Orange.
"For France Télécom, the Orange boat is also a superb display of its technolgical innovations, in particular those that have been installed on board, which should allow them to send each day high quality pictures. And for the first time, interviews with live high definition images from the middle of the ocean. I hope Bruno Peyron and his men will provide us once again with a lot of excitement, just as they did in 2002, and I wish them fair wind for their new adventure...."
Following this the champagne bottle was smashed by the fencing champion Laura Flessel, who said to the crew of Orange: "I believe this challenge is a fitting one corresponding well to the magnificence of the boat, which is really exceptional! As a woman who has faced individual challenges, I am very impressed by this collective human adventure. Best wishes. I offer you all my encouragement and wish all the crew of Orange good luck."
Alain Prost added: "I am really pleased and honoured to be able to be the patron of the Orange II boat. I have loved sailing for a very long time. It's a sport that isn't very far removed from Formula 1, that I participated in for years, with its mixture of team spirit of course, but also with its permanent reliance on technology, passion, motivation and human endeavour. I'm not merely happy, but also eagerly looking forward to being able to sail on board the boat. I wish you all the best and every success, as it is always very difficult to tackle such a record, when you are already the holder. But I am quite certain that with this new boat, everything will go well. So, good luck. I'll be thinking of you and hope to bring you some good fortune."
Today's christening ceremony was also the first time Orange's crew have been formally announced:
In addition to skipper Bruno Peyron and navigator Roger Nilson the crew will comprise 12 assigned into three watches of four. They are:
Hervé Jan (watch leader/helmsman)
Jacques Caraes (trimmer/video)
Halvard Mabire (watch leader/helmsman)
Yann Eliès (watch leader/trimmer)
Ronan Le Goff (first mate/chandlery)
Sébastien Audigane (helmsman / safety)
Yves Le Blevec (shore co-ordinator/composites)
Florent Chastel (first mate/rigger)
Jean-Baptiste Epron (supplies/video)
Klabbe Nylof (helmsman/mechanics)
Vladimir Dzalba Lyndis (medical/safety)
Nicolas de Castro (first mate/laminates).
The boat is now ready for an imminent departure on her Jules Verne attempt.
"Everything is ready on board," said Peyron. "All of the supplies have been stowed on board and we can set sail, as soon as we have finished the sea trails. As initially planned, our aim is still to be ready and waiting from 15 February. We will be setting out full of confidence, as Orange II is a fine, powerful and reliable boat, and we have at our disposal a magnificent crew, two thirds of whom were present during our previous trip in 2002.
"I cannot forget that two other giants that are already at sea and they have every chance of smashing our current record. I must not forget either that until now, only four crew have obtained the Jules Verne out of 13 attempts in total. The match is open and is not without danger..., but you can be certain that if we have the chance to bring it home for the third time, we will achieve that, and Marseilles will have found its rightful place with this Jules Verne Trophy that everyone fights so hard for."