It’s a new step for the French Challenger for the Louis Vuitton Cup, `Le Defi' this year with the inauguration of its new training base in Lorient.
The new base marks the end of temporary set-ups and long distance workouts from the four corners of France, and soon all of the Le Defi team will work together from the new facility. The 2500 sq. metre facility was presented to the team compliments of the town council and officially opened by its president, Jean-Yves Drian.
`Since our first meeting in 1998, the Challenge has been able to create a clear and ambitious project capable of meeting the heritage of this site,' Drian said.
The base is located on next to the old Keroman submarine bases.
`This facility is a dream base for the Challenge,' said Pierre Mas, Director of the Le Defi team. `All of our needs have been accounted for, and it provides everything we need.'
The base features full sea access at any tidal state for launching America's Cup Class boats and a giant boat shed for boat building and modification. Additionally, one of the biggest sail lofts in Europe will provide the ideal platform for sail development and repair.
The sailing crew will be kept happy with gym facilities, a physiotherapy area and a number of private briefing rooms. And perhaps most importantly, there is a canteen capable of feeding 80 hungry sailors at a sitting. The base also features a press briefing room and a reception area for entertaining sponsors and dignitaries.
`We don't want to lose sight of the fact that to be competitive in New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Cup, we need to excel in all areas. To be able to work with the entire team in the same facility is a critical advantage. We must be able to bond as a team, and this facility allows us to do that,' Pierre Mas concluded.
The French Challenge for the America's Cup turned heads with a charge to qualify for the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals in Auckland in 2000. This new team is already starting from a position of strength.