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21 March 2004, 07:34 pm
Perfect Final Day
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Coupe De France
Saint Tropez

On the final day of racing in the gulf of Saint-Tropez with 20 knots of Mistral and beautiful sunshine, the Coupe de France crowned a new champion.
It was TEAM "Yacht Club de Monaco 2",of Peter de RIDDER on Mean Machine (Mumm 30), Philippe BUNDLE of firelighters on Direct Flor (Melges 24) and of Arnold TAS on second Mean Machine (Dragon).

Theirs will be the new name engraved on the plate of this prestigious trophy created in 1891, after that of "Island of France - SR Douarnenez" victorious in 2003 on this same water.

"The competition in Saint-Tropez this year was of an excellent level," declared president Pierre-Paul HECKLY, underlining the quality of the 165 team-members representing 11 countries which took part in this 54th edition. "The sea conditions and the reception that we received once again in Saint-Tropez consolidate us in our choice to open again the season of the regattas trop麩ennes the next year."

Satisfaction seems shared by all the runners at the end of this very special competition. "It is this team spirit which lured us" summarizes Thierry LERET, sporting Director of the Monegasques teams, "By gathering these various types of boats and competitors it ensures that, for us, the spirit is maintained."

To ensure the final victory, the Monegasques, who had finished second in 2003, did not hesitate to enter two very competitive teams this year. The Yacht Club of Monaco 2, which took the overall honours, is indeed one that looked most impressive on paper. Lead by its Mumm, Mean Machine, owned by Dutchman Peter de RIDDER with Ray DAVIES of New Zealand calling tactics, the event adds another first place to a series of successes gained recently in the USA in their Farr 40. Philippe BUNDLE of firelighters on Melges Flor Direct, took second in the series with three victories, and Arnold TAS on the Dragon Mean Machine finished with a place of second in the last regatta, consolidating the victory of this brilliant international team.

Crowned in a beautiful second place, the team of the "Yacht Club of France" sailed impressively: Maxime LEBESSOU and Coal Nicolas on Challenge Shared (Mumm), were second in class with equal points with the winner. Henri SAMUEL on Guy Zag (Melges 24) was fifth and Jean BREGER on Ulysses (Dragon) seventh in their respective categories but could not stop the victorious run of the Monegasques.

The final place on the podium goes to the international team "The Really Random TEAM" of the Dutchman Fezi Khaleghi YAZDI on his Mumm 30 Triple P, the outstanding British crew of Quentin STRASS'S Gill, overall winner in the Melges 24, and the Irish skipper Don O' DONOGHUE on the Dragon Sea Bird in Dragon which took third in class.

In the overall series results, it is also necessary to underline the very beautiful competition between and performance of Jean-Sebastien Ponce on Pistou and Gerard Blanc on Tsuica which finish respectively first and second in the Dragon class on points, underlining the expectional quality of the competitors and competition in the series. On these same waters next October, an exceptional event will be held to mark the celebrations of the 75th birthday of the International Dragon class, which will gather more than 250 boats in Saint-Tropez.

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Fiona Brown (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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