sixieme Sens leaves for New Zealand
After 2 months of working up in Lorient, the French challenger for the America's Cup leaves for Auckland on Aug. 21 aboard a freighter ship. Multiplast built the hull of 6e Sens and assembled the boat.
The French I.A.C.C Sixième Sens leaves for New Zealand on Saturday, Aug. 21, after two months of intensive working up in Lorient (French Atlantic coast). De-rigged (but not de-keeled) and lashed down on her cradle aboard the freighter Tampa, she will travel via Panama and reach destination in about 3 weeks.
Since her launching on June 15, the boat has accumulated 160 hours of sailing. She has already confronted all the types of wind that can be envisaged for the races of this 30th America's Cup, from 5 to more than 25 knots. The first observations: she passes smoothly in the chop, keeps her trim when heeled and reacts fast to the helm. Above all, 6e Sens is about one knot faster upwind than France 2/3, the French challenger in 1995. She reaches 10.3-10.4 knots close hauled, according to her skipper-helmsman Bertrand Pacé. And off the wind, 6e Sens peaked at 20.6 knots on Aug. 14.
Gilles Ollier, director of the Multiplast yard which built the hull of 6e Sens and assembled the whole boat, takes stock. "She points high and goes well. Her reliability has proven excellent. I am especially astonished at how well the crew has worked up. She circles within 20 centimetres (8 inches) of the marks, which is not bad for a 24.4-m (80-ft) boat displacing 25 tonnes."
During training in Lorient, the 23 members of 6e Sens' sailing team have been sparring with a "pacemaker" of similar size, the 80-ft Maxi-One Design helmed by Pierre Mas in the Adecco Championship. Gilles Ollier : "The races have shown that 6e Sens is a good boat. Of course, she has not yet confronted other boats in her class. But the French challenge has succeeded in creating a climate of confidence, which is a precondition for success."
Sixième Sens will be ready for sea again on Sept. 28, this time in Hauraki Bay (NZ). Measuring is scheduled for Oct. 4, and the eliminating rounds for the 13 declared challengers are due to start on Oct. 18 (Louis Vuitton Cup). The winning challenger will meet the defender's boat, Team New Zealand, in the America's Cup as such (first round on Feb. 19, 2000)