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Hand-crafted plank-on-frame wood hull with dark green topsides, grey boot stripe . Varnished stained wood hull.
Hull size: 60cm.
Board size: 75cm X 20cm
In 1894, William K. Vanderbilt came for the second time to see Nathanael Herreshoff to commission a new defender to race the America's Cup against Valkyrie III the next year. Vanderbilt gave "carte blanche" to the 'Wizard of Bristol".
Herreshoff reminded his previous bad experience when Vigilant's sliding centerboard had jammed and hindered his boat, he decided to build Defender with a fin keel.
The yacht was designed in the utmost secrecy and her construction was shrouded in mystery. Nobody was allowed to enter the yard and Captain Nat certainly did not appreciate the press and especially photograhers.
In building Defender, the Hereshoff brothers' special innovation was the use of aluminium. But as from the first tests, the boat suffered from a phenomenon about which little was known at that time: corrosion due to electrolysis appeared after she was launched on June 23rd, 1895.
America's Cup 1895: at the 9th challenge, Defender beated Valkyrie III and won the Cup.
1999 sees a new challenge structure with a dynamic, resourceful and youthful syndicate. Originally called "Yaka," ( French slang for 'just do it' ) the syndicate is the brainchild of Luc Gellusseau and Pierre Mas, of Corum Sailing Team fame.
Gellusseau who now runs the technical and design team, has managed to group together the best bits of the previous French challenges along with a large quantity of new, young talent. He and Mas realised that it was important to stay out of French national politics and to that end the syndicate is a relatively small budget operation.The sponsorship was supplied early by two technology companies, Bouygues Telecom and Transiciel. Le Defi, as it is now called, only dreamt of building one boat and are well organised, completely transparent and very motivated.
Bertrand Pacé is at the helm of the boat "6eme sens", Thierry Pepponet is tactician and the well-respected Dutchman Marcel van Triest is navigator. Pacé, undoubtly France's most talented helmsman today, is a top ranked match racer - world champion in 1994 and runner-up in 1998 - commands huge loyalty amongst his crew and is mature in his approach after three Cups.The "6eme sens" boat design team includes such notables as Bernard Nivelt and Daniel Andrieu along with other names from the French world of composite structures and aerodynamics.
The stated goal of the French Team was to do a good and to get to the Louis Vuitton semi-finals.They succeeded with their victory against America one, and reached to an honorable 6th rank. See also "6eme Sens" half hull.