[Source: Groupama Sailing Team] This Saturday morning, at 0545 GMT, Groupama 4 left the Multiplast yard in Vannes, SW Brittany. After a delivery by road, Franck Cammas’ new Volvo Open 70 arrived at Groupama Sailing Team’s base in nearby Lorient at 0830 hours, a moment the whole team had been looking forward to.
After 40,000 man hours, the first Volvo Open 70 to be built in France emerged from the yard today. In the early hours of this morning, the members of Groupama Sailing Team gathered together to organise the special wide load comprising Franck Cammas’ VO 70.
Stéphane Guilbaud, Team Manager of Groupama Sailing Team, was responsible for the wide load from beginning to end: “We left at daybreak because we were keen to have a safe journey. The start of the trip, in Vannes, was pretty complicated to manage as there wasn’t a lot of room for manoeuvre. The trees prevented us from moving the boat initially. After that we had to traverse a zone were construction materials were stored. We also had to negotiate some ‘classic’ roundabouts which were complicated to get across. Despite all that the delivery trip went really smoothly…”
Indeed the transport of Groupama 4 should have taken three or even four hours, but the shore crew, with assistance from Volvo Trucks, managed to complete the transfer in just 2 hours 45 minutes.
Stéphane Guilbaud: “The whole team got together for the occasion… It’s a real high point: the end of the construction of the boat also means that the first sea trial is approaching. For all of us it’s the culmination of 11 months of work.”
Prior to the launch, scheduled for 10 May, there is still a substantial jobs’ list for Groupama Sailing Team, as the skipper of Groupama, Franck Cammas highlights: “This is a very fine stage in the history of the project: Groupama 4 has finally made it to the base and we have her in front of us! The team will be able to work on her day and night now to fine tune the VO70 with a view to her launch. It’s almost done: we have to finish the electrics and fit the keel, mast and deck hardware, even though the latter has already been pre-assembled.”
The crew still has some work to do then before the monohull is ready to criss-cross the oceans. Indeed the final steps must be performed by the sailors themselves because they’re the ones who will be tasked with Groupama 4’s upkeep during the various stages of the Volvo Ocean Race. Franck Cammas: “It’s really important that the boat is at the base with us as it really saves time: that will guarantee a quick launch. We’re happy to have such a fine engine almost ready to go sailing. She has some fine lines and we’re keen to trial her on the water. The Multiplast yard has really done a good job. It’s over to us now to finish it off…”
Ten intense days are in prospect then for Groupama Sailing Team but their spirits are high and the desire to go sailing is very much in evidence…