Spain. America’s Cup: Early Christmas as Areva Challenge’s new boat arrives

Thursday, 16 November 2006

The level of excitement on the AREVA Challenge base in Valencia, Spain, has been growing these past few days, as an anticipated addition travelled along the 880 kilometer route which separate La Ciotat, in the South of France, from Valencia, the site of the 32nd America's Cup.

During the last six months, this newcomer has been under construction at Composite Works.

To imagine the feelings of the AREVA Challenge team members this morning, remember back to when you were 5 years old and waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas morning… Dawn Riley, General Manager of the team, tried to keep everybody calm, but the same question came back again and again, approximately every 30 minutes: “when does she arrive???”

FRA 93, the new boat of team AREVA Challenge, finally arrived safe at her destination.

At 05:00pm yesterday, the French team opened the large doors of its base, and welcomed the 40 meter truck with the present of FRA 93. She was covered with protective and quickly transferred by the team into the boatshed.  She was shrink-wrapped in white plastic to protect her for the journey and from ‘prying eyes’.  The team swiftly transferred FRA 93 into the shed where she will stay for the moment, hidden from curious eyes.

The team reacts with measured enthusiasm and emotion:

Dimitri Nicolopoulos, Coordinator of the Design Team, comments with some tears near his eyes: “this is almost 4 years of work that we are looking at now. This boat will now become a part of a larger team who will optimize her. A new stage of development is about to start.”

Stephan Kandler, CEO of AREVA Challenge: “we are very happy, because this is the culmination of a lot of time, passion and hard work.  It is my first ACC boat, and there is a lot of emotion as well as anticipation because we want to see her quickly on the water, measuring herself against the other teams.

We have dreamed about this since 2001, and to have her, right here, in front of our eyes motivates us even more.

Peter “Billy” Merrington, Boat Captain: “it is very exciting, a new beginning for the team, and a new “a job list” too. The sailors will learn how to love this boat, it is like a new girl friend“.

Jean Galfione, Grinder on board: “I have a bit of nostalgia for FRA 60, because nobody looks at her any more. But all this time we’ve been talking about FRA 93, and she is finally here. We are all extremely motivated. This boat is the fruit of all the eagerness and all of the work of our shore and boat building team. It is “ours” now. There is still work that awaits us, and it is another era which starts for the team.“

Sebastien Col, Helmsman: “it is nice to see the reaction of all the teammembers around the boat at the base. The adventure continues ! The first time she will be put in the water will be an important stage, then it will be necessary to make the performance reliable, and work to develop it more and more.

These last months we prepared for this arrival by working on the things that we could directly transfer from FRA 60: the sails,  mast set up, etc. We also worked a lot in the new configuration of the afterguard with Thierry Peponnet as Tactician, and I am confident for the future.

We can’t wait to sail on FRA 93.  We were part of the building process so our  on the water development will be a natural extension.“

Tom Mc Laughlin, Coordinator of the Sailing Team: “I am sure that the boat arrives at the right moment, whereas the crew becomes stronger. What we leaned and developed successfully on FRA 60, we can continue to apply it to FRA 93. We are ready for this new boat.

I just hope that the safety belts have been installed because when we open the package, I don’t want my crew to be hurt with the additional speed. “

Dawn Riley, General Manager, concludes: “From now until Christmas we will be taking advantage of the surprisingly good conditions for testing a new boat. We are glad to have chosen to stay in Valencia instead of getting distracted with another traveling road show.”

FRA 93 will be christened November 24 on the AREVA Challenge base in Valencia.

Stephanie Nadin:

Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 November 2006 )