Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Philippe Mourniac to be navigator of United Internet Team Germany

The crew of 25 sailors with whom the United Internet Team Germany will race this year's pre-regattas (Acts 10-12) to the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia is now complete. Philippe Mourniac will be in the team's afterguard, acting as navigator on board the German America's Cup boat. By recruiting the 41-year old Frenchman, the United Internet Team Germany has been able to win a well versed match-racer with extensive America's Cup experience.

"Philippe is a very complete sailor und a very valuable addition to our team. And with his Olympic Tornado campaign, he has proven to be a true leader", comments skipper Jesper Bank on his new navigator. Using the instruments on board, the navigator determines the boat's position on the regatta course and in relation to the adversary. Aided by a computer, he gathers and analyzes all data ranging from wind direction and strength and boat speed to the course. He furnishes important information for strategy, tactics and overall trim. Up to now, the position of navigator had been held by Frederik Green, who will return to his original job as runner grind.

Mourniac already sailed in the 28th America's Cup held in 1992 San Diego, USA, when he was part of the Team Ville de Paris. In 2002, he sailed for the French Team Le Défi Aréva, and during the first Acts to the 32nd America's Cup, he had been with Team Le Défi in 2004 and in 2005 with its successor China Team. Here, he had not only acted as navigator, but also contributed to the management of the sports side of the campaign. Before that, Mourniac had been a successful Tornado sailor: From 1993 through 2000, he was a member of the French Olympic team in this boat class, winning the silver medal in 1995 and bronze in the World Championship 2000. He also belonged to the "French Match Racing Sailing Team" from 1997 through 2005.

"The United Internet Team Germany has a well-balanced crew and is capable of reaching a very high level. I know many of the sailors from the Olympic and match-racing scenes, and this is why I wanted really hard to become part of this team. I feel that we will able to achieve quite a lot together. It's great fun to be with this team, and I hope I will be able to contribute a lot to success," describes Mourniac his expectations.

The 41-year old is married and lives with his wife and two kids aged 10 and 14 in Biot near the French Mediterranean coast. In his role as navigator, he benefits from his knowledge gained as a technician and physicist in Grenoble and Paris. He will certainly bring this asset into the United Internet Team Germany, and form a strong electronics team together with Tom Schöttle. Next to bowman Jean Marie Dauris, whom he knows from sailing with the AC teams Le Défi and China Team, Mourniac is the second Frenchman in the United Internet Team Germany.

These 25 sailors now form the crew with which the team will race the 2006 Acts, which are to start on 9 May in Valencia. To be able to sail training and test races between the training boat GER-72 and the new AC yacht GER-89, that will be christened on 24 April in Kiel, Jesper Bank plans to recruit a 26th crew member to man each boat with 13 sailors. However, the skipper will only start searching for this final addition to his team after the Acts: "I want to see the Volvo Ocean Race finish and to see who is on the market."


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