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Louis Vuitton RR#2 Press Conference

A transcript of the 10/21 pre-race press conference

October 21, 2002
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Louis Vuitton Cup Skipper’s Press Conference
Monday, 21st October 2002

Ken Read — Stars & Stripes
Ian Walker — GBR Challenge
Luc Pillot — Le Défi AREVA
Russell Coutts — Alinghi Challenge
Francesco de Angelis — Prada Challenge
Paolo Cian — Mascalzone Latino
Magnus Holmberg — Victory Challenge
Peter Gilmour — OneWorld Challenge
Peter Holmberg — Oracle BMW Racing

**Q — Ken you sailed both of your boats over the past week, which one will you use in Round Robin Two? **

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We’re going to stick with USA-66 in this round. The weather has been OK, but not quite cooperative during this short period of time off. So we still have some work to do on USA-77 to make sure that we’re 100% comfortable with it. But everything we’ve seen tells us it’s in good shape. But we can’t take any chances right now so we’ll stay with USA-66.

**Q — Ian, will you make any changes to the afterguard? **

Ian — I think for the first race we’ll be sailing similar to how we ended the last Round Robin. But things change pretty fast from day to day. We’ve got a squad of 23 sailors who sailed on the boat in the first Round Robin and it’s pretty important to us that everyone gets to sail on the boat. Everyone has put a lot of work in and I’m happy sailing with any 16 guys on our team.

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**Q — Will Peter Harrison be on board every day? **

Ian — I think Peter has some guests down in the next Round Robin but he loves coming out with us, he loves being on the back of the boat in the thick of the action and he’s enjoying himself and I’m sure you’ll see him out here on most of the days.

**Q — Luc, are there any big changes to your boat? Why are you hiding the transom? **

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Luc — To have something to talk about this morning!! No we tried something, but the weather wasn’t too good this week so we haven’t been able to try it enough so we won’t be using it now. We will do a few changes, so we look forward to the next round. We’ll have the same team on board, but we’ve changed some of the communication processes. Sebastian Destremeau will be the tactician, and Luc Gellessau will be strategist.

**Q — Russell, how valuable is the time between rounds? **

Russell — Judging by the comments of the others here it is a very important time to progress the boats and we’re seeing a lot of changes to the boats before this Round Robin and it will be interesting to see how the performances change with those teams. We made one or two changes that we’ve been planning for quite a while so the time between wasn’t that critical for us in terms of testing. The other change we’re making in terms of crew is Murray Jones should be fit by halfway through the Round, and it will be great to have him on board.

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**Q — Francesco, we were amazed to see how you were able to change the bow on your boat in such a short time, were you working on it yourself? **

Francesco — No¿that would have taken much longer!! Like all the team, I was involved, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved in working on it. They did an amazing job in a very short time. Changes have been made and we’re looking forward to seeing how those changes work. There was a group of people working shifts over 24 hours to do this.

**Q — Paolo, what is your feeling about tomorrow’s clash with Prada? **

Paolo — Of course we’re curious to see the difference in their boat now. They’ve done a lot of work in a short time and we’ll be interested to see what it’s like to sail against them now.

**Q — Magnus will you be using Orm instead of Örn? Can you tell us about your crew member who was injured a few days ago? **

Magnus – Yes. We believe it’s a faster boat. We have pretty good confidence in it. There are some quite big differences in the boats.

Our crew member Martin had a bad accident, he fell backwards into the hatch on the foredeck and fell two-metres down landing on his back. But he’s pretty tough so we think he’ll be OK for Thursday, our first day of racing.

**Q — Peter Gilmour, how can you keep your momentum through the second round? **

Peter — The challenge for OneWorld is to go out there and keep the momentum going. It’s a very complex issue racing these boats out there. Conditions change and sometimes we expect to race and don’t race. I must say I think the Race Committee did a fabulous job of managing the races to just be left with one stand over race. In this round there’s certainly a lot more pressure on us because the period between this and the next break is very tight and there is no left over period. I look forward to some very close match-ups and maybe some two-race days at some point in time.

**Q — Peter Holmberg, did you make any major changes to your boats? **

We’ve made some changes yes, not major. We’ll be using USA-76 again and the changes were all planned in advance. We used the break as we wanted to and got some good sailing in. Larry Ellison is back in town and looking forward to sailing.

**Q — Peter, can you talk about the start against OneWorld? **

I think it was a bit dangerous. So I don’t think it should be done too often. I didn’t really have time to think about it we just reacted and luckily my instincts were correct.

**Q — Magnus, can you tell us about Jesper Bank? **

Magnus — We don’t start racing until Thursday, so the crew selection is still to come. So I don’t have any information at this moment. Mats Johansson and Skip Lissiman are making the crew selection.

**Q — Luc, what has happened to Philippe Presti and will he be on board soon? **

Luc — Of course Philippe is still on the team. He is helping us to improve the teamwork and many other things but he will not be on board next round.

**Q — Francesco, can you explain what was done to the boat? **

Francesco — We did some work in many different areas. I don’t believe that one change can change everything. We did work that we thought was appropriate after the first round. Obviously it’s more visible what has been done to the bow and the hull, but that’s not all that we did. We did some work to the rig and the sails as well, and we’ll have one round to assess everything. It’s not easy to assess because the other boats have made changes as well, so it’s hard to fix your performance in a field that doesn’t stay the same.

**Q — Paolo, do you think it is fair to sail against a modified boat? **

Paolo — To have two boats is not easy. There are a lot of jobs to be done. To decide to make changes is difficult, and to decide not to change can also be difficult. But sometimes changing many things is a risk. You have to be comfortable with your risks and your style and we just have to sail the boat as fast as we can.

**Q — Can all the skippers say how many days they sailed this past week? **

Ken — 5
Ian — 2
Luc — 3
Russell — 2
Francesco — 2
Paolo — 2
Magnus — 3
Peter Gilmour — 3
Peter Holmberg— 4, I think

**Q — Paolo, how do you feel about the risk of being eliminated at the end of this round? **

Paolo — Of course, being the first to be eliminated isn’t a dream. Someone has to go out at the end of this round and it will be a tough a race with the French team. Italy versus France is in the six nations rugby and it one of the best matches you can see, and I think it will be like this.

**Q — Luc, how do you feel about the risk of being eliminated at the end of this round? **

Luc — I think there are not only two teams that might be last in eight days. It may be Mascalzone, it may be us, or it might be someone else. We don’t want to think about being eighth or ninth, but we want to sail as well as we can and we’ll see what will happen. Of course, we don’t want to go home too early.

**Q — Ken, is USA-77 strong enough now? Are you unsure about reliability or speed? **

Ken — To be honest, more the latter. Conditions here aren’t ideal for testing very often. We had one amazing day right after the last round was over. As far as the strength is concerned, we have no problems with that. Often what happens when you race boats is every person tweaks out their area one-hundred percent to exactly the way they like it. A lot of it is just the familiarity with the guys on one boat versus the other. Strength isn’t a concern. It’s just really feeling comfortable with every aspect of the boat and we just weren’t there yet.

**Q — Peter Gilmour, would it concern you not to be able to repeat the first round performance? **

Peter — Of course it would be a worry. We all plan, in every race, to go out and do our very best. We tackle each race with that ambition. I think that being said, the law of averages works against you in being able to maintain a winning streak or a losing streak for that matter. In this game anything can happen and we’re cognisant of that and we’ll be working on a day by day basis to keep it going. We have no false illusions of where we stand next to the other boats. We’re a well prepared campaign and I think that showed. We’re working to try and improve and it’s a matter of getting out there and taking each day as it comes. It will be interesting to get out there and see how each day unfolds. Big picture, we’re not that concerned about the image of what is projected, but on a day by day basis we are concerned and working very hard.

**Q — Francesco, what confidence do you have in the changes to your boat? **

Francesco — This is something we’re going to find out about starting tomorrow. We have feelings and impressions, but the final test comes with the races. When you race you have to focus on a lot of different things and we have to learn the boat and the changes and adjust our techniques. This can only come through racing.

**Q — Russell, are you planning to use just one boat, or will we see the second Alinghi boat at some point? **

Russell — We’re not sure yet. We’re going to use SUI-64 in the next round and we’ll see how the development programme goes in the future.

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