It was 11.30 on Monday morning when part of the French Rugby team coached by Fabien Pelous, climbed aboard the maxi-catamaran Orange to join skipper Bruno Peyron and his crew.
They all gathered around the Mayor of Marseilles, Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin and Mr. Guy Lafarge, Marketing Manager of Orange France, for the naming of the giant with the same name, which, next month will be making an attack on the absolute sailing record round the world, the Jules Verne Trophy.
A crew of 13…
The entire crew of Orange was presented for the first time to the press and consists of 13 men accumulating an enormous amount of experience acquired in the greatest ocean races in the world such as the Volvo Race, the America's Cup, The Race, the ORMA Multihull Championship, and also the Figaro Solo race.
Orange's crew includes the following sailors: 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 (bow man and rigger), Vladimir Dzalda Lyndis (crewman, mechanic) and Yves Le Blévec (crewman, laminator). A 13th man should be joining the crew within the next few days, Philippe Péché, an ex-crew member of Cam Lewis' Team Adventure during The Race.
The boat left Marseilles in the early afternoon
At about 14.30 and before a crowd gathered in front of the Quai d'Honneur pontoon, the giant Orange (33m) cast off from the Vieux Port for a final promenade along the Marseilles seafront, before heading out to sea destination Brest, where she should be arriving on about February 1st. Bruno Peyron: "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".