Archive | Groupama

Cammas to sail ACWS 2015 with Groupama support

Posted on 26 February 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Groupama Sailing Team] This is not the year that the skipper of Groupama is going to spend less than 320 days on the water thanks to a programme that includes an Olympic preparation, the America’s Cup World Series, the Tour de France à la Voile and the Little America’s Cup.
In this way, from 12 January to 10 February, Franck and crew Sophie de Turckheim could be found training and racing the Nacra 17 in Florida. Eighth in the Sailing World Cup, then victorious in the North American championships, the French crew have been reaping the benefits of a new physical preparation: “For the past two years, we’ve been too light. We were 15 kilos or 10% down on our crew weight. The minute there was more than twelve knots of breeze, we got eclipsed in terms of speed. This winter, together with Sophie, we’ve gained 7 kilos and the difference that makes is massive. As with all sailboat races, you need to go fast in a straight line and then you can begin to race. In Miami and Clearwater, we got back in the match, we regained our confidence and that feels good, because after the World Championships in Santander last year, we were at risk. It was tough, but it’s the kind of episode you have to know how to move on from and that’s what we’ve done”.
As part of the French team, there will be a succession of international competitions across Europe and also in France, with Hyères in April and La Rochelle in October. At the back of everyone’s minds will be the selection of a single crew to represent their country at the Olympic Games. This selection will be made at Clearwater in fact, which is where the Groupama duo secured a win early this year…

Another of this year’s objectives is the 38th edition of the Tour de France à la Voile, which will be contested for the first time on a multihull: “Beyond the budgetary aspect, the switch from the monohull to the multihull has created a real infatuation for the Tour. There will be around thirty of us on the start line, with some very fine helmsmen and some very good tacticians. The races will be dense and we can expect a lot of jockeying for position among the leaders throughout the event”.

As they wait to take possession of the Diam 24, Franck and his crew will explore the delights of the AC45 bought off Russell Coutts by Mer Agitée and chartered to Groupama. However, before they sail the new edition one-design flying machine, the black carbon catamaran will undergo a refit of nearly two months at the Lorient base so that the daggerboard casings can be replaced by foil casings: “Our participation in the ACWS circuit is important as it’s the result of several months’ work with Team France. Groupama is loyally supporting me in this quest for excellence, even though we know that the America’s Cup is not one of their objectives. Thanks to them, we’re going to do battle with the best crews in the world on tomorrow’s flying boats. It’s going to be thrilling. Together with Louis Viat, we have a wealth of experience thanks to Groupama C and that should help us, even though the other teams are already training right now. It’s the highest level in the world and it’s important to be there and to perform well to show that the French are at ease on this type of boat using a format that is similar to that of the Cup, which is our end goal”.
As such, in Cagliari, Portsmouth, Gothenburg and finally Bermuda, the French crew of Groupama will battle it out with rivals from America, New Zealand, Italy, the UK, Sweden and Japan.

Whilst the three aforesaid multihull types are one-designs and hence not favourably disposed to innovation, it’s thanks to the C-Class that Franck Cammas’ team is able to get its grey matter turning in their bid to find the means to fly faster, higher and further. Reigning champions of the Little America’s Cup, otherwise known as the `Little Cup’, Franck and Louis Viat will be defending their title on Lake Geneva in September: “We got in some training on the lake last September so as to do a recce of the site. We had a very warm welcome from the locals, who are interested in the technology and the innovations developed by our design office. With regards to the race zone, it’s really well suited to this type of boat”.
In order to defend its chances in the best possible conditions, Groupama sailing team’s design office has essentially made further developments to the foils and the ergonomics of the trampoline. Research and innovation are the very essence of this competition and the benefit of the techniques developed on the Groupama boats is bound to be an asset in this quest for performance. One question remains though, which is ever more motivating: What is the very secret international competition working on of which the Swiss host team Hydros forms part?

However things pan out, Groupama sailing team just has to continue with its work, day by day, mile by mile and tack by tack.

Diam 24 Program
Spi Ouest France (La Trinité-sur-mer) – from 2nd to 6th april 2015
Le Grand Prix de l’Atlantique (Pornichet) – from 17th to 19th april 2015
Le Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale (Lanvéoc) – from 15th to 17th may 2015
Le Mult’YCO (Bénodet) – from 23rd to 25th may 2015
La Normandy Sailing Week (Le Havre) – from 11th to 14th June 2015
Tour de France à la Voile – from 3rd to 26th July 2015

AC45 Program
America’s Cup World Series (Cagliari, Italy) – from 5th to 7th June 2015
America’s Cup World Series (Portsmouth, England) – from 24th to 26th July 2015
America’s Cup World Series (Göteborg, Sweden) – from 28th to 30th august 2015
America’s Cup World Series (Bermudas)- from 16th to 18th october 2015

Class C Program
Little Cup (Suisse) – from 12th to 20th septembre 2015

Nacra 17 Program
Trofeo Princesa Sofia (Palma, Spain) – from 30th march to 4th april 2015
Sailing World Cup (Hyères, France) – from 20th to 25th april 2015
Delta lloyd Regatta (Medemblick, The Netherlands) – du 26th to 30th may 2015
ISAF Sailing World Cup (Weymouth, United-Kingdom) – du 15th to 21st june 2015
Championnat du monde (Aarhus, Denmark) – from 6th to 10th july 2015
Championnat d’Europe (Barcelona, Spain) – from 26th september to 4th october 2015
Semaine Olympique Française (La Rochelle, France) – from 6th to 11th october 2015

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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 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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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

Comments (1)

Groupama unveils its strategy for the Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 07 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] This Thursday in Eric Tabarly’s Cité de la Voile and then its base in Lorient, vessel owner Groupama and its team, revealed the reasons behind their commitment to the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, the crewed round the world race with stopovers. It proved to be an excellent opportunity for the European insurance and banking group to display its international ambition and for Franck Cammas and his team to vie with the top Anglo-Saxon crews.

“When we committed ourselves to supporting Franck Cammas back in 1998, he was a young sports entrepreneur, who was just discovering the multihull scene. Twelve years on, he has won virtually all the crewed races and racked up no less than six records, including the legendary Jules Verne Trophy on 20th March 2010. By confirming our commitment to the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, namely until 2015, we are supporting the Group’s international development, which makes 30% of its turnover overseas and employs over 11,000 employees outside France. Groupama is today identified as the leading vessel owner in French sailing. With the Volvo Ocean Race, this presence will further develop overseas” analyses Frédérique Granado, Groupama’s director of external communications.

To achieve this, Groupama can count on the complete involvement of its team led by Franck Cammas. Today this team is made up of 45 people and within the workforce it is fairly commonplace to hear English spoken or perhaps French with a slightly exotic accent: “The challenge we’ve committed ourselves to is a sizeable one. Since 1993 and Eric Tabarly, not a single French team has participated in the Volvo Ocean Race. Up against the top crews from New Zealand, America, Spain and Ireland, it’s going to be an intense battle. We’re just rediscovering the monohull and we still have a lot to learn. However, we’re going about it with as much enthusiasm, seriousness and humility as possible. Thanks to Groupama’s commitment, we were the first to put our team together. Making up my entourage are Volvo specialists like Damian Foxall, Ben Wright, Luc Gellusseau, Hervé Le Quilliec as well as Killian Bush, who are joining together with various long-term stalwarts of the Groupama Team like Stéphane Guilbaud, Pierre Tissier, Loïc Dorez, Yann Riou and Olivier Mainguy” explains Franck Cammas.

With the purchase of Ericsson 4, winner of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, Groupama Team can boast an excellent platform for training and analysis. Rechristened Groupama 70, the Koujoumdjian design is performing an increasing number of sail trials offshore of Lorient in Brittany, where the Team is based.

When the team aren’t out sailing, the various members of the Team are participating in the design of the future boat, it too due to be designed by the Franco-Argentine architect: “Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to involve the excellent French architects in the work, as they are also only just discovering the restrictions of the class measurement linked to these 70 foot (21.5 metres long) boats. As such we opted for Juan Koujoumdjian, who is based in Valencia, Spain. However, it’s actually in nearby Vannes, at the Multiplast yard, that Groupama 4 will be built. This will represent 40,000 man hours and we know the team well because we built the maxi trimaran Groupama 3 with them” adds Franck.

With work having started in the last few days, the construction will take 10 months till her scheduled launch on 15th March 2011. In the meantime, the Groupama skipper will have also taken part in the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale aboard a Groupama 3 adapted to solo sailing, as well as the Extreme Sailing Series Europe aboard the one design catamaran Groupama 40.

Suffice to say that the schedule for the Groupama skipper is a busy one. However, supported by a committed, long-lasting ship owner and an experienced Team, Franck Cammas has what it takes to succeed in his ambitions.

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Groupama unveils its strategy for the Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 07 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] This Thursday in Eric Tabarly’s Cité de la Voile and then its base in Lorient, vessel owner Groupama and its team, revealed the reasons behind their commitment to the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, the crewed round the world race with stopovers. It proved to be an excellent opportunity for the European insurance and banking group to display its international ambition and for Franck Cammas and his team to vie with the top Anglo-Saxon crews.

“When we committed ourselves to supporting Franck Cammas back in 1998, he was a young sports entrepreneur, who was just discovering the multihull scene. Twelve years on, he has won virtually all the crewed races and racked up no less than six records, including the legendary Jules Verne Trophy on 20th March 2010. By confirming our commitment to the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, namely until 2015, we are supporting the Group’s international development, which makes 30% of its turnover overseas and employs over 11,000 employees outside France. Groupama is today identified as the leading vessel owner in French sailing. With the Volvo Ocean Race, this presence will further develop overseas” analyses Frédérique Granado, Groupama’s director of external communications.

To achieve this, Groupama can count on the complete involvement of its team led by Franck Cammas. Today this team is made up of 45 people and within the workforce it is fairly commonplace to hear English spoken or perhaps French with a slightly exotic accent: “The challenge we’ve committed ourselves to is a sizeable one. Since 1993 and Eric Tabarly, not a single French team has participated in the Volvo Ocean Race. Up against the top crews from New Zealand, America, Spain and Ireland, it’s going to be an intense battle. We’re just rediscovering the monohull and we still have a lot to learn. However, we’re going about it with as much enthusiasm, seriousness and humility as possible. Thanks to Groupama’s commitment, we were the first to put our team together. Making up my entourage are Volvo specialists like Damian Foxall, Ben Wright, Luc Gellusseau, Hervé Le Quilliec as well as Killian Bush, who are joining together with various long-term stalwarts of the Groupama Team like Stéphane Guilbaud, Pierre Tissier, Loïc Dorez, Yann Riou and Olivier Mainguy” explains Franck Cammas.

With the purchase of Ericsson 4, winner of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, Groupama Team can boast an excellent platform for training and analysis. Rechristened Groupama 70, the Koujoumdjian design is performing an increasing number of sail trials offshore of Lorient in Brittany, where the Team is based.

When the team aren’t out sailing, the various members of the Team are participating in the design of the future boat, it too due to be designed by the Franco-Argentine architect: “Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to involve the excellent French architects in the work, as they are also only just discovering the restrictions of the class measurement linked to these 70 foot (21.5 metres long) boats. As such we opted for Juan Koujoumdjian, who is based in Valencia, Spain. However, it’s actually in nearby Vannes, at the Multiplast yard, that Groupama 4 will be built. This will represent 40,000 man hours and we know the team well because we built the maxi trimaran Groupama 3 with them” adds Franck.

With work having started in the last few days, the construction will take 10 months till her scheduled launch on 15th March 2011. In the meantime, the Groupama skipper will have also taken part in the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale aboard a Groupama 3 adapted to solo sailing, as well as the Extreme Sailing Series Europe aboard the one design catamaran Groupama 40.

Suffice to say that the schedule for the Groupama skipper is a busy one. However, supported by a committed, long-lasting ship owner and an experienced Team, Franck Cammas has what it takes to succeed in his ambitions.

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