Archive | Franck Cammas

Class C: on the road to Geneva

Posted on 19 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Groupama sailing team] This September, Groupama C will defend her Little America’s Cup title, secured in Falmouth back in September 2013, just as the Americans on Oracle were putting the finishing touches to a fantastic comeback to snatch the oldest sporting trophy to the detriment of the New Zealanders. Passionate about sailing and about flying boats, Groupama sailing team is preparing for this clash with precision and determination.

In September 2013, a number of key figures from the teams involved in the America’s Cup made the trip to Falmouth to gauge the state of play with regards to the development of the C-Class, a flying catamaran that has boasted a fixed wing since the sixties. A genuine laboratory both aerodynamically and hydrodynamically, this class had been the prerogative of the Anglo-Saxons since the start. That is until Franck Cammas and his Groupama team decided to take an interest so as to develop their expertise on the subject.

Up against the French team, the Swiss contingent headed by Jérémie Lagarrigue on Hydros wasn’t among the favourites during a final that saw the top two boats from the fleet races pitted against each other. Despite having two identical boats designed by naval architect Marc Lombard and numerous months of fine-tuning, the Swiss crew of Besson and Lagarrigue got beaten by the Cammas – Viat pairing aboard the faster, more stable Groupama C, that really excelled to windward.

Boosted by this first master stroke, the Groupama skipper was duty bound to grant a revenge match to the Swiss team, who will host the 27th edition of the event which now goes by the name of The Little Cup and will be held in Geneva from 12 to 19 September 2015.

In order to defend their trophy in the best possible conditions, Groupama sailing team and its design office have been putting in the hours: “We’ve identified two main points of evolution: the ergonomics and the aerodynamics of the trampoline and also the appendages, namely the foils and the rudders,” explains Louis Viat, Franck Cammas’ crew and also team manager since Stéphane Guilbaud’s departure.

Dividing his time on the water with either Franck or Julien Villion at the helm off the team’s Lorient base, Louis is well placed to judge how things are progressing: “The work on the trampoline was aimed at simplifying manoeuvring so as to exploit the full potential of the boat. We’ve also streamlined the systems and made some aerodynamic gains,” adds Louis.

Another area of development is the appendages: “We’ve kept the port foil from 2013 and we’ve designed a new starboard foil in-house. We’re happy with how it feels, but that’s not enough for us. Groupama C is brimming with sensors, which should enable us to develop a significant analysis procedure from the data collected. We’re sailing in 2-minute phases, modifying one element each time. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been in our favour, serving up conditions that are often too boisterous for this type of machine, continues the team manager, and we’re lacking perspective too. We’ve also designed two new foiling rudders, but I can’t tell you any more about this particular subject. It’s top secret”.

This secret is something the eight people that make up the Lorient-based team will be taking care not to disclose, given that this Little America’s Cup is one of Franck Cammas’ primary objectives with a view to the America’s Cup. As such the programme for sailing, collecting and analysing data is set to continue for the next two months, before the 2015 race programme gets the upper hand.

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Franck Cammas expected to win the Route du Rhum later today

Posted on 09 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

At 0500hrs (CET) this morning Cammas on Groupama 3 was still sailing in a contrary southerly breeze of between 10 and 12 knots. Maintaining his present VMG he is expected at Basse-Terre at between 1200hrs and 1400hrs (CET) and at the finish line some two hours later. Cammas has been maintaining the required exceptionally high work rate since yesterday, tacking solo the giant trimaran on which he sailed round the world fully crewed to win the Jules Verne Trophy. Since very early yesterday morning Cammas had completed more than a dozen tacks, and at 0400hrs this morning passed 12 miles north of Antigua, sailing through between the chain of Caribbean islands. By 0800hrs he had just 76 final miles to go, tacked back on starboard tack and was ten miles to the SSW of Antigua.

“The end of a Transatlantic race is always long. It feels like you have finished but you have not.” Pointed out the Groupama 3 skipper this morning, positioned 76 miles from the Basse Terre buoy by 0500hrs (CET). If the wind conditions and direction remain as is, the green tri should reach the SW of Guadeloupe in seven to eight hours.

Franck Cammas approaches the finish line of the Route du Rhum – Banque Postale. Guadeloupe, 9 November 2010. Video copyright Route du Rhum – Banque Postale

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Franck Cammas expected to win the Route du Rhum later today

Posted on 09 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

At 0500hrs (CET) this morning Cammas on Groupama 3 was still sailing in a contrary southerly breeze of between 10 and 12 knots. Maintaining his present VMG he is expected at Basse-Terre at between 1200hrs and 1400hrs (CET) and at the finish line some two hours later. Cammas has been maintaining the required exceptionally high work rate since yesterday, tacking solo the giant trimaran on which he sailed round the world fully crewed to win the Jules Verne Trophy. Since very early yesterday morning Cammas had completed more than a dozen tacks, and at 0400hrs this morning passed 12 miles north of Antigua, sailing through between the chain of Caribbean islands. By 0800hrs he had just 76 final miles to go, tacked back on starboard tack and was ten miles to the SSW of Antigua.

“The end of a Transatlantic race is always long. It feels like you have finished but you have not.” Pointed out the Groupama 3 skipper this morning, positioned 76 miles from the Basse Terre buoy by 0500hrs (CET). If the wind conditions and direction remain as is, the green tri should reach the SW of Guadeloupe in seven to eight hours.

Franck Cammas approaches the finish line of the Route du Rhum – Banque Postale. Guadeloupe, 9 November 2010. Video copyright Route du Rhum – Banque Postale

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Franck Cammas heads south in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale

Posted on 01 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] Twenty four hours after a spectacular start, Franck Cammas is continuing his course at a hellish pace. Heading southward, the skipper of Groupama has already passed Cape Finisterre and is beginning his descent along the Spanish coast. Accredited with fourth place due to her SE’ly position, in reality Groupama 3′s position is doubtless much envied by her rivals.

“We’re trying to pick our way along the eastern edge of the zone of high pressure. For this, it was necessary to go fast and drop down the coast at full pelt by keeping the gennaker aloft. The sailing was borderline at times but we came out of it just fine” said Franck during a quick radio link-up with Press HQ for the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale at midday.

An attacker through and through, the skipper of Groupama 3 benefited from a powerful, fast boat to traverse the Bay of Biscay at high speed despite a sizeable swell and a dark night.

Contacted via telephone at 1600 hours, Jean-Luc Nélias, one of Franck Cammas’ weather advisors gave his view of the situation: “The tricky section is in Groupama 3′s wake now. It was important not to get caught up by the ridge of high pressure. Franck is carrying everything aloft, as he was at the start, namely full mainsail, staysail and gennaker. He’s in good shape and managing to sleep in 20 minute chunks”.

By sailing at an average of 23 knots, Groupama 3 is making up nearly 7 miles an hour on the leader of the ranking, Thomas Coville. Positioned further North and West, his Sodebo is logically closer to the finish, but has less pace. This trend could continue over the next few hours, that is unless Thomas decides to strike right out to the West.

Even further to the North and further West, Sydney Gavignet has definitively opted for the great circle route. This is synonymous with the shortest route but also the most testing as the bulk of it will be raced in headwinds. Skippering a trimaran which is theoretically a little less speedy than the other favourites, he’s trying his luck by typically committing himself to an option.

Astern but practically following the same line as Groupama 3, Francis Joyon and Yann Guichard are also seeking to make headway to the south. In a less well established wind, they’re just a few knots off the pace.

So the daggers are drawn then and it’s a fairly uniform fleet in terms of performance, despite the disparity of the trimarans. Once again it’s the sailors who will make the difference on what is a demanding course, where the weather may well have a few surprises up its sleeve…

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Franck Cammas heads south in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale

Posted on 01 November 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] Twenty four hours after a spectacular start, Franck Cammas is continuing his course at a hellish pace. Heading southward, the skipper of Groupama has already passed Cape Finisterre and is beginning his descent along the Spanish coast. Accredited with fourth place due to her SE’ly position, in reality Groupama 3′s position is doubtless much envied by her rivals.

“We’re trying to pick our way along the eastern edge of the zone of high pressure. For this, it was necessary to go fast and drop down the coast at full pelt by keeping the gennaker aloft. The sailing was borderline at times but we came out of it just fine” said Franck during a quick radio link-up with Press HQ for the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale at midday.

An attacker through and through, the skipper of Groupama 3 benefited from a powerful, fast boat to traverse the Bay of Biscay at high speed despite a sizeable swell and a dark night.

Contacted via telephone at 1600 hours, Jean-Luc Nélias, one of Franck Cammas’ weather advisors gave his view of the situation: “The tricky section is in Groupama 3′s wake now. It was important not to get caught up by the ridge of high pressure. Franck is carrying everything aloft, as he was at the start, namely full mainsail, staysail and gennaker. He’s in good shape and managing to sleep in 20 minute chunks”.

By sailing at an average of 23 knots, Groupama 3 is making up nearly 7 miles an hour on the leader of the ranking, Thomas Coville. Positioned further North and West, his Sodebo is logically closer to the finish, but has less pace. This trend could continue over the next few hours, that is unless Thomas decides to strike right out to the West.

Even further to the North and further West, Sydney Gavignet has definitively opted for the great circle route. This is synonymous with the shortest route but also the most testing as the bulk of it will be raced in headwinds. Skippering a trimaran which is theoretically a little less speedy than the other favourites, he’s trying his luck by typically committing himself to an option.

Astern but practically following the same line as Groupama 3, Francis Joyon and Yann Guichard are also seeking to make headway to the south. In a less well established wind, they’re just a few knots off the pace.

So the daggers are drawn then and it’s a fairly uniform fleet in terms of performance, despite the disparity of the trimarans. Once again it’s the sailors who will make the difference on what is a demanding course, where the weather may well have a few surprises up its sleeve…

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Volvo Ocean Race: The French are coming…

Posted on 21 June 2010 by Valencia Sailing

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Video: Groupama 70 races in Transmanche

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Groupama has just published an interesting video, albeit in French, from Transmanche, the maiden race for the French Volvo Ocean Race entry. Created in 1985 by the members of the Yacht Club des Abers, the Transmanche has become a classic over the years. Its 220-mile course is extremely simple, in the form of a return trip between the famous Breton Aber and Plymouth’s breakwater in the UK.

It is a race reserved for crews sailing double-handed, but with a special invite given to Groupama 70 and the boat that ranked second in the Vendée Globe, the IMOCA 60 Britair skippered by Armel Le Cléach. A bit over 75 competitors raced in this year’s Transmanche. Groupama 70 crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon, having covered 280 miles in around twenty hours, or what amounts to an average speed of 14 knots. “We constantly had a little more wind than that forecast on the grib files. Those one or two extra knots of breeze have a big influence on the average speed” explained Charles Caudrelier on his arrival in Aber Wrach.

For Cammas this was the first chance to test the sailing and shore crew in view of the team’s future races, mainly the RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race, where they will have the opportunity to race against Telefonica. The race is due to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on 23rd August. The approximate race distance around the British Isles is some 1760 miles and the first yachts should cross the finishing line about ten days after the start.

Groupama’s VO70 takes her maiden race. Aber Wrac’h, 21 May 2010. Video copyright Groupama

The crew aboard Groupama 70 was the following:
1. Franck Cammas, skipper
2. Damian Foxall, watch leader
3. Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator
4. Charles Caudrelier, piano and trimmer
5. Laurent Pagès, watch leader
6. Sébastien Audigane, helmsman and trimmer
7. Magnus Woxen, helmsman and trimmer
8. Philip Harmer, trimmer
9. Michael Pammenter, number 2
10. Martin Krite, number 1
11. Yann Riou, media man
12. Didier Ravon, guest journalist

While we’re at it, here’s another nice video of how Ericsson 4 became Groupama 70:

Transforming Ericsson 4 into Groupama 70. Video copyright Groupama

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Video: Groupama 70 races in Transmanche

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Groupama has just published an interesting video, albeit in French, from Transmanche, the maiden race for the French Volvo Ocean Race entry. Created in 1985 by the members of the Yacht Club des Abers, the Transmanche has become a classic over the years. Its 220-mile course is extremely simple, in the form of a return trip between the famous Breton Aber and Plymouth’s breakwater in the UK.

It is a race reserved for crews sailing double-handed, but with a special invite given to Groupama 70 and the boat that ranked second in the Vendée Globe, the IMOCA 60 Britair skippered by Armel Le Cléach. A bit over 75 competitors raced in this year’s Transmanche. Groupama 70 crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon, having covered 280 miles in around twenty hours, or what amounts to an average speed of 14 knots. “We constantly had a little more wind than that forecast on the grib files. Those one or two extra knots of breeze have a big influence on the average speed” explained Charles Caudrelier on his arrival in Aber Wrach.

For Cammas this was the first chance to test the sailing and shore crew in view of the team’s future races, mainly the RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race, where they will have the opportunity to race against Telefonica. The race is due to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on 23rd August. The approximate race distance around the British Isles is some 1760 miles and the first yachts should cross the finishing line about ten days after the start.

Groupama’s VO70 takes her maiden race. Aber Wrac’h, 21 May 2010. Video copyright Groupama

The crew aboard Groupama 70 was the following:
1. Franck Cammas, skipper
2. Damian Foxall, watch leader
3. Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator
4. Charles Caudrelier, piano and trimmer
5. Laurent Pagès, watch leader
6. Sébastien Audigane, helmsman and trimmer
7. Magnus Woxen, helmsman and trimmer
8. Philip Harmer, trimmer
9. Michael Pammenter, number 2
10. Martin Krite, number 1
11. Yann Riou, media man
12. Didier Ravon, guest journalist

While we’re at it, here’s another nice video of how Ericsson 4 became Groupama 70:

Transforming Ericsson 4 into Groupama 70. Video copyright Groupama

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