Thursday, 12 November 2009

LVT: Last Minute Dash to Nice for TFS - PAGES JAUNES

Match between Team French Spirit - PAGES JAUNES and ALL4ONE. Image copyright Frank Socha.

by Chloe Daycard

Skipper and helmsman on TFS-Pages Jaunes, Bertrand Pacé describes how just two weeks ago he didn't know they would be at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur.

For the French team, TFS-Pages Jaunes, their arrival at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur came very late. This is the fledgling French team's first regatta in America’s Cup class boats, and Skipper/helmsman Bertrand Pacé says he had to scrabble around to find a full crew: “It was very hard because two weeks ago we didn’t know we would be here. I tried to find good guys for the right places, but obviously some people were busy. In the end I had two or three big problems and only found the guys very late.”

Pacé says he had particular trouble filling the bow positions, while the wife of trimmer Hervé Cunningham was sick and he had to stand down. Cunningham was only replaced last Friday by Lars Bergstrom. “I was very happy about that because he is a good trimmer and a very nice person,” says Pacé of the new recruit. Pacé had aimed to get a 100% French crew and managed this, with the exception of Bergstrom.

However, Pacé does have his full afterguard including tactician Philippe Presti, Mathieu Richard on strategy, Damien Iehl on traveller and with Erwan Israel navigating. The first three are all match racing skippers in their own right. “If we can keep this afterguard it would be great,” says Pacé.

In Nice he has taken the roles of both skipper and helmsman, but this, Pacé states, has been purely a short term decision, because he has more experience than the rest of his capable afterguard. “I am not fixed on that. We will see what happens and how it will be in the future.”

In the meantime he is trying to get his crew to work together as a team. “It is getting better and better each day and the atmosphere in the team is very positive. I think by the end we will be sailing much better than now, but we have been short of time.”

Pacé says they are planning to compete in the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas in 2010. “Everyone is happy about that [these regattas]. It is very exciting to match race on these boats. The main thing is to equalise the boats. I think all the sailors are very happy to practice and do this kind of event, especially on big boats, because 17 people working together is never easy. It is a challenge for a team. But I am quite happy and we are working hard on communication and on the sailing plan, etc.”

At present though they are looking for funding to get them to next year’s Louis Vuitton Trophies. For Nice they have been sponsored by Pages Jaunes, the French version of ‘Yellow Pages’, but they came on board very late – just 10 days ago.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

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