In the first of a series of eliminating races in the Americas cup competition, the French challenger "France", first 12-metre yacht to be designed or built in France, was beaten on Saturday (August 22) by its Australian rival, Gretel II.
LV PAN boats on harbour
BV start with blimp in air
LV Gretel and France (2 shots)
LV craft following
LV PAN Gretel - France
AV France leads Gretel
GV both yachts
AV France leading
AV spectators on boat
AV yachts racing and following craft
AV yachts round buoy Gretel overtakes France (2 shots)
AV craft following and pilot
AV Gretel and ships following (2 shots)
AV Gretel finishing
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Background: In the first of a series of eliminating races in the Americas cup competition, the French challenger "France", first 12-metre yacht to be designed or built in France, was beaten on Saturday (August 22) by its Australian rival, Gretel II.
The "France" is the first French challenger for the Americas Cup, and it was compelled to sail an elimination series of races to decide who will compete against the Americans.
Twenty challenges have been made to take the Americas Cup from it American holders, without success. It was presented to the New York yacht club in 1857.
Following their defeat in the eliminator, the French yachting syndicate seeking to win the Cup has dismissed its veteran Swiss-born skipper Louis Noverraz.
Syndicate chief Marcel Bich has now recalled leading French yachtsman Pierre "Poppie" Delfour to the helm. He resigned from the French crew earlier this month after a bitter argument with Baron Bich over tactics.
In the eliminating race the "France" led the Australian "Gretel II" for most of the 23.4 mile (37 kms) course.
Australian skipper Jim Hardy told reporters after the race that he felt Noverraz, his French opponent, had outsailed him throughout most of the race.
But Noverraz has now been replaced, together with all but two of his crew. The new crew for the second eliminating race on Monday (August 24) will be the same as that which sailed with 34 year-old Delfour in training before his walk-out.
The new crew is all-French, and Noverraz's was made up of Swiss, French and Englishmen.
The French crew is now: Jean Claude Vert, Jean Michel Demare, Patrice Quesnel, Alain Roux, Pierre Ligneuil, Alain Thomas, Gerard Graveron, Bernard Le Sout, Dominic Guilet, and Francois La Aubry.
Winner of the best-of-seven series between the French and Australian yachts will change an American contender which is yet to be chosen.