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14 May 2003, 03:15 pm
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International 8m World Championship
La Trinite-sur Mer

After Finland in 2002, The 8 metre International Class World Championship is to be held in France this year, in La Trinité-sur-Mer from Saturday 14-21 June 2003.
This Championship will be preceded by the Atlantic Cup on the 11-13 June, a veritable prologue to this 22 summit meeting.

Nearly 25 entrants representing 8 different nations are expected to compete in the 10 races scheduled by the Société Nautique de La Trinité, the club organising the event together with Tanneguy RAFFRAY, European Vice-President of the 8 metre International Class and co-owner of Hispania IV, the boat which used to belong to King Alphonse XIII of Spain in the 1920's.

These magnificent classic yachts were an Olympic class for a long time (1908-1936). Ever since their first appearance in 1906, they have attracted some of the great people in the world - the kings of Norway, Sweden and Spain, the Wallenberg, Rothschild and Siemens families have shone at the helm of some of the finest yachts in the class. In France, the most glorious 8-metre achievement can be attributed to Virginie Hériot at the helm of Aile VI, gold medallist in 1928, in charge of a crew of men. Today, the pure lines and sporting performance of these splendid classic boats appeal to a wider audience, who are every bit as enamoured of their elegance. People who have made greater sacrifices, without any regret, for this magnificent racing thoroughbred.

Born out of this mixture of genres, cultures and origins are the two strong points of the events organised by the 8 metre, namely their conviviality ashore and the competitiveness on the water. This year again, professional sailors, some of whom have participated in the America's Cup, and enlightened amateurs, whose title holder 2002 is Jacques FAUROUX (FRA) at the helm of Fleur de Lys will be entering battle on equal terms in the Bay of Quiberon, for the pleasure of an astounded public.

With a World Championship in 2003 and a European Championship in 1999, the small harbour town of La Trinité-sur-Mer is reviving its history. Between the two world wars, the Bay of Quiberon was one of the stretches of water favoured by the owners of 8 metre yachts, a

Among the entrants divided into 4 types of event, including the Coupe Cartier (reserved for old boats having preserved all their authentic features), one should note the presence of Carron II (1935), belonging to the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Aile VI owned by Virginie Hériot, Enchantement IV, the oldest 8 metres yacht entered in the 2003 Championship, built in 1923 and Fleur de Lys, the most modern boat, launched in 2002 and current titleholder.

The 8 metre International Class is also a fine current day series which uses the most modern techniques to its advantage. New 8 metre IC yachts are built every year across the world. Among these boats will be Yquem, built in 1984 and chosen by Russel COUTTS (NZL) and the Alinghi syndicate as training boat for the America's Cup.
Anne Massot (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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