Tag Archive | "Franck Cammas"

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Extreme Sailing Series: High tension in Muscat

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Franck Cammas - Groupama] For the second time this year, the crewed multihull specialists will be doing battle aboard Extreme 40s. Fifth in the first event contested in Singapore some four weeks ago, Franck Cammas and the crew of Groupama have been putting in some practice time on Muscat’s race zone in the Sultanate of Oman.

“You should keep going back to your work and improving it” so they say.

Whether they’ve been plundering the circuit’s prize haul for years like Larson or MacMillan or they’re newcomers like Ben Ainslie or Dean Barker, the competing skippers aren’t the sort to rest on their laurels, Olympic or otherwise.

On the eve of the first day of racing, in a light wind of 5 to 10 knots blowing inshore, the crews have been warming up in more ways than one.

Together with Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan and Sophie de Turckheim, Franck Cammas is no exception: “It was interesting and also very different to the sailing conditions we encountered in Singapore. The race zone is open and the wind is very shifty. Getting off to some good starts will be all the more important for the ranking. It’ll also be more difficult as the race committee will alternate between starts where we’re on a reach or starts sailing close-hauled“.

Groupama racing in Singapore. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Returning from a week’s sailing on the Nacra 17 in Palma de Mallorca with his crewmate Sophie, the Groupama skipper has put any bad memories from Singapore behind him: “The collision we suffered is all but forgotten and most importantly, Tanguy Cariou is fighting fit again. The boat is in tip-top condition too. The shore crew has done a fantastic job“.

Alongside Franck, the tactician will be keeping his helmet on to protect his scars from the sun, his focus again on the numerous solid tacks to be performed over the course of the day: “The race zone is pretty technical with a fair bit of chop. There are some fairly clear-cut wind shifts too and you can’t always see them coming“.

In brilliant form in Singapore, the Swiss on Alinghi don’t appear to have lost the thread over the past four weeks’ interruption. Quite the contrary in fact. The New Zealanders and the British are still increasingly in the game too one might say!

Finally, the last element to take into account in terms of the difficultly of the task that lies ahead of the French crew: the advantage that The Wave Muscat and Oman Air may have in sailing on `home waters’.

Needless to say the battle is set to be of the highest level in what promises to be a light breeze. Both muscle power and brain power will be called for here, which is an area where Franck Cammas has excelled before.

The crew of Groupama Sailing Team
Franck Cammas
Tanguy Cariou, mainsail trimmer and tactician
Thierry Fouchier, headsail trimmer
Devan Le Bihan, bowman
Sophie de Turckheim, floating crew and observation of the race zone

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Hit by Aberdeen in Singapore, Groupama isn’t giving up

Posted on 22 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] Approaching the finish line, Groupama gybed onto starboard tack to respect the priority she was obliged to give her rival. Unfortunately Aberdeen went out of control in a violent gust and slammed into Groupama, which was powerless to avoid it.

Aberdeen’s windward float, hydroplaning wildly, broke Groupama’s mast after knocking Tanguy Cariou over, slightly damaging his head in the process, whilst three of the other four crew jumped into the water to avoid injury.

Questioned about the incident on his return to shore, the skipper of Groupama explained: “I had absolutely no idea it was coming, other than a shadow. We’d just finished our gybe and were powering along towards the finish line when it happened. Nick Moloney regretted the incident, but wasn’t able to bear away (alter his course) due to his gennaker, which was flapping in a strong gust of wind. His windward float was very high and it hit our mast, which subsequently snapped in half with the impact. Together with Sophie (de Turckheim) and Thierry (Fouchier), we jumped overboard to avoid being injured. Tanguy Cariou, who was in the middle of the boat, on the net, took a body blow from the incoming boat and got knocked on the head. He went to hospital but fortunately it wasn’t anything serious. As for Devan Le Bihan, he was unhurt.”

Groupama crew will have to pull an all nighter to fix the boat for Sunday’s races. Singapore, 22 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Disappointed but very calm, Franck Cammas was of a mind to quickly effect repairs to Groupama so as to be in a position to sail tomorrow. Assisted by his sailing team and his shore crew, he immediately set to work and will step a spare mast tomorrow morning after switching Groupama’s torn trampoline for that of Aberdeen’s, which is too badly damaged to race tomorrow.

It now remains to be seen if Tanguy Cariou will be able to take up his post as tactician: “I’m back from hospital. They gave me a few stitches above the eye, but my back’s killing me, my right shoulder is a mess and I really took quite a knock. At the present time, I find it hard to envisage returning to my post aboard the boat tomorrow. Franck and I will discuss the matter,” he explained.

We will see how things pan out at the jury hearing scheduled for 0900 hours tomorrow morning (0100 GMT), which will study the protest lodged against Aberdeen by Groupama.

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Video: Aberdeen Asset Management and Groupama crash in Singapore

Posted on 22 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Raw footage from the brutal crash between Aberdeen Asset Management and Groupama on Saturday, penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series event in Singapore

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Aberdeen Asset Management and Groupama crash in Singapore

Posted on 22 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

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Groupama and Aberdeen Singapore in major crash on penultimate day in Singapore, as Alinghi dominate the racing

Posted on 22 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series] The penultimate days racing in Singapore delivered possibly one of the most dramatic moments in the eight-year history of Extreme Sailing Series™. In winds that were varying from 5 to 23 knots across the racecourse, Team Aberdeen Singapore caught one of the biggest gusts of the day as they came into the finish line struggling to hold off the pace and ploughing into the back of France’s Groupama sailing team. The Extreme 40 pitlane, built on part of Singapore’s F1 track, is busy tonight with Groupama fully expecting to be back on the racetrack with a new mast. However, the damage assessment is not yet complete on Team Aberdeen Singapore. A full update will be available within the next two hours.

Groupama sailing team skipper, Franck Cammas, explained what happened: “We had big gusts and as we were finishing a gybe we saw Aberdeen come really fast from behind and that’s the moment when they came over us breaking the mast. Besides the broken mast the damage is not too serious and it is mainly on the mast, the mainsail, the jib and a hole on the trampoline so I think we will be able to race tomorrow with another mast. Tanguy Cariou is the only crew member hurt but it’s only superficial injuries. He was in the middle of the trampoline where the boat fell, which was the worst spot. Three crew members jumped off the boat. It’s the risk of racing. What is tricky here is that the wind is quite strong and very gusty which is difficult to anticipate. It’s not easy.”

Aberdeen Asset Management plows into Groupama. Singapore, 22 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Six races were sailed that saw Leigh McMillan’s team The Wave, Muscat up their game, winning 50% of the days races, and locking their sights on current event leaders, Alinghi. “Everything is going so fast, as you can see from the shore with the few clashes out there, and it’s all about improving communication,” commented McMillan. “The dynamics on the boat every race, every day, is coming together very nicely. It’s a great performance and we’re happy that we’re putting in good results. We’re fighting for podium spot, which is exactly where we want to be. We want to keep doing the same thing, finding how to work as a team. Overall great performance from everyone today and we’ll keep going to get that spot.”

Alinghi will lead the fleet going into the final day, having sat in pole position since race nine, but despite a 31-point cushion at the top of the leaderboard, helm Morgan Larson is all to aware how quickly things can change on the Stadium Racecourse. “We’re never fully confident with sailors of this calibre! But we’re happy with the way we’re sailing right now. It was a magical day. We put ourselves in a few risky situations and nearly collided with Emirates Team New Zealand but the guys did an amazing job on our boat and let the sails out to try and keep behind, flying our hull right over. That is the kind of teamwork that has gotten us where we are and we hope that tomorrow we can keep sailing this way and stay out of trouble.”

Team Aberdeen Singapore are currently assessing the damage, and a full update as to whether they will be back on the racetrack tomorrow will be available at approximately 2200 local time in Singapore.

Aberdeen Asset Management plows into Groupama. Singapore, 22 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 1, Singapore standings after Day 3, 21 races (22.02.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 163 points.
2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 132 points.
3rd Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bruno Barbarin, Thierry Wassem, Sebastien Stephant 130 points.
4th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Haylee Outteridge 117 points.
5th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 117 points.
6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 104 points.
7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 103 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 95 points.
9th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 89 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 88 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 49 points.
12th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Scott Glen Sydney, Tom Dawson, Justin Wong 47 points.

Aberdeen Asset Management plows into Groupama. Singapore, 22 February 2014. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

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Extreme Sailing Series Singapore: An instructive first day for Franck Cammas and Groupama

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama] It has to be said that there were a fair few discoveries for the crew of Groupama: the race zone in Singapore, racing against Dean Barker, Seve Jarvin and Sir Ben Ainslie in particular and finally the arrival of Sophie de Turckheim aboard the Extreme 40.

Judging by how Groupama performed in the first two races, we have every reason to be reassured. Indeed, no, Franck and his team haven’t lost the keys to performance.

Reassured yes, but attentive nonetheless. Evidence of this came with the results of a slight graze against a metal mark this morning: impact that led to a small area of delamination, preventing Groupama from participating in the ensuing races. Not to mention a long night ahead for the shore crew, which will haul the boat out and effect the necessary repairs so she is as good as new tomorrow morning and able to compete in the first day of races, which will count towards the overall ranking.

Groupama and Franck Cammas are back in the Extreme Sailing Series circuit

For the rest of the fleet, there seemed to be a fairly even split of race wins with some boats regularly at the front of the pack: JP Morgan, Team New Zealand, The Wave Muscat as well as Alinghi. Suffice to say that the racing appears to be open.

So, see you again tomorrow. It’ll be the afternoon for us and breakfast time for those of you in Europe.

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Extreme 40 teams reveal their 2014 line-ups ahead of opening Act in Singapore

Posted on 13 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Extreme Sailing Series]  In one week the anticipation that has been building around the first Act of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series™ – dubbed by many sailing fans and the media as the sailing series to watch this season – will come to a head as the first starting gun is fired, starting four days of Stadium Racing on Singapore’s world-famous Marina Bay, 20th-23rd February. Historically, the fight for glory each year has gone down to the wire, and Race Director Phil Lawrence is predicting 2014 could be one of the closest seasons to date. “Every boat on the water can win a race. I don’t know who’s going to win overall – which is how it should be.” In 2014, the pioneering Stadium Racing circuit will once again be supported by Series Main Partner* Land Rover, as it continues to deliver high-octane Stadium Racing at eight iconic locations around the world.

The home nation representatives, Team Aberdeen Singapore, supported by Host Venue Partner Aberdeen Asset Management, will be led by Australian offshore legend, Nick Moloney. Local sailors Scott Glen Sydney, one of Singapore’s top Laser sailors, and Asian Games keelboat match racing gold medallist, Justin Wong, will return to the fleet following a successful debut in 2013. America’s Cup star Adam Beashel (AUS), and World Champion and World Record Holder Tom Dawson (GBR) will complete the local team line-up.

The only skipper this year to have never previously raced in the Extreme Sailing Series ever is GAC Pindar’s Seve Jarvin. Jarvin is being supported by experienced catamaran hands Sam Newton, part of Oracle Team USA’s America’s Cup winning crew, and Troy Tindill, who sailed with Artemis Racing in the America’s Cup World Series. The team has recruited the 2013-winning tactician from The Wave, Muscat, Ed Smyth in the transfer window, and 20-year old Alexandra South, 2013 Women’s 18-foot Skiff World Champion, to complete the all-Aussie team. A seven-times 18-foot Skiff World Champion, Jarvin commented: “I’m very new to multihulls but the guys I’m sailing with have a lot of experience. Our main strength is that we are a young team that are all great mates and could be coming in as the underdogs.”

he Extreme 40 fleet will race within the confines of Marina Bay for the opening Act of the 2014 Series in Singapore. Photo copyright Lloyd Images

Having won the last two Series in 2012 and 2013 on The Wave, Muscat, British Olympian Leigh McMillan will once again be joined by Pete Greenhalgh. Match racer Kinley Fowler (NZL), who last year was part of ORACLE TEAM USA’s America’s Cup campaign will return to the Series, alongside his former Oman Air teammate, Omani national Nasser Al Mashari. Britain’s double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton will join the defending champions, and she is more than ready for the challenge of what she describes as the ‘most high-performance’ sailing she has ever done. “I’m honoured to be sailing with The Wave, Muscat and I am really looking forward to getting started. I’m sure the boys will agree with me that going into 2014 as defending champions doesn’t add to the pressure, we’ll be focusing on our own performance and taking one race at a time.”

Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi returns hoping to rectify losing the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series so narrowly in the final minutes of the final race of the year, and is one of the few teams fielding the same line-up as last season. Morgan Larson, a 49er Olympic and America’s Cup sailor, who has finished runner up for the past two seasons, will helm the Swiss team at the opening Act – an event the team won in 2013 – and will be looking for a repeat in 2014.

The team who finished third in 2013, with double Olympic Tornado gold medallists Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, will return as the familiar duo at the back of the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team. This season they are joined by experienced Tornado Olympian and Extreme 40 sailor Mark Bulkeley (GBR), Kiwi match racer Nick Blackman and 23 year old Australian Haylee Outteridge, who has recently embarked on her first Olympic campaign, in the 49erFX. The new line-up have been training in Singapore, and skipper Hagara points to “consistency and winning races” as key for this season. And the team he would like to beat? “Ben Ainslie. He is not only a great sailor, he is a gentleman, and it will be a pleasure for us to beat him!”

The winner of the inaugural Series in 2007, Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), returns to the circuit, and is joined by long term Extreme 40 sailor Will Howden (GBR), and two Omani crew, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi, who were both on The Wave, Muscat last season. The teams’ fifth man will be Australian foiling Moth sailor Tom Johnson, a newcomer for 2014.

Sir Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan BAR start their Extreme 40 offensive teeming with Olympic pedigree, with three Olympic champions on board, not least their skipper who boasts four gold and one silver medal in his trophy cabinet. Ainslie’s fellow Team GB and Beijing Olympic gold medallists, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson, will race alongside bowman Matt Cornwell, a previous Match Racing World Champion, with the final crew member still to be confirmed.

Many people will be eager to see if Dean Barker – who last met Ainslie during Emirates Team Zealand’s defeat at the 34th America’s Cup – can reverse the tables on the Extreme Sailing Series stadium racecourse. The Kiwi team will field the strongest of crews, with experienced multihull and America’s Cup hands Glenn Ashby, James Dagg and Jeremy Lomas, joined by Youth sailor, Edwin Delaat.

Winner of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, Franck Cammas, returns to the Series with heavyweights from his past Extreme 40 campaign Tanguy Cariou and Devan le Bihan, plus America’s Cup and former Extreme 40 sailor Thierry Fouchier. Cammas’ Nacra 17 crew, Sophie de Turckheim, a two-time runner up at the Laser Radial World Championships, will be calling tactics. When asked about the French teams potential this season, mainsail trimmer Cariou, remains prudent.“We’ll only be able to draw up an initial report after the first three events (Singapore, Oman and Qingdao). One thing we are sure about is that it’s going to be tough as we did virtually no training prior to the boat’s departure for Singapore. As such we’ll be lacking the points of reference of our rivals, who have been sailing on the circuit for years”.

The Swiss Realstone is back for a second season, again skippered by Jérôme Clerc, and opting for the same crew as 2013, formed around the 2012 D35 championship winning team, with eight crew members alternating throughout the year in a bid to better their 2013 results.

2014 will be the third season on the circuit for the Danish-run SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner have been training in France with Groupama Team France and Realstone, during which time they selected trimmers Thierry Douillard (FRA) and Peter Wibroe (DEN) as new additions to the team, while bowman Nicolai Sehested (DEN), will return for his second year. SAP Extreme Sailing Team finished third in Singapore in 2013, and tactician Køstner explained the importance of a good opening Act. “The Series will not be won in Singapore but a good start definitely provides the basis to gather momentum throughout the year. Singapore will be testing and is one of the most challenging places to race. The wind is very unpredictable and even a good lead can be transformed to a big loss in a short space of time. You’ve got to make the most out of the opportunities given to you and be prepared to keep fighting until you have crossed the line.”

Russia’s London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Laser sailor Igor Lisovenko, will skipper the Russian entry, Gazprom Team Russia. The team have been training in the UK in preparation, and Lisovenko looked to the season ahead. “I feel a little bit of pressure coming into the Series this year, we’re a new team and we’re looking for a good result. The main focus for us before the first event is that we need to become a team, so everyone needs to be on the same page, to help each other, to understand each others roles.” British Extreme 40 heavyweights Paul Campbell-James and Alister Richardson, who have been part of two Series winning teams apiece, and Pete Cumming, the 2009 winning skipper, will support the Russian entry.

And so the question everyone is asking. Will the experience of an existing team or a new entry reign supreme at the opening Act of the year? Watch the Stadium Racing, live, Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd February, 1600-1730 local time / 0800-0930 GMT / 0900-1030 CET. Timings subject to change. Please check the websitewww.extremesailingseries.com for the most up to date information.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 Singapore, crew lists

Alinghi (SUI)
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson(USA)
Tactician: Stuart Pollard (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: Dean Barker (NZL)
Mainsail Trimmer: Glenn Ashby (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: James Dagg (NZL)
Bowman: Jeremy Lomas (NZL)
Floater: Edwin Delaat (NZL)

GAC Pindar (AUS)
Skipper/Helm: Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Troy Tindill (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Ed Smyth (AUS)
Bow: Sam Newton (AUS)/Alexandra South (AUS)

Gazprom Team Russia (RUS)
Skipper/Tactician: Igor Lisovenko (RUS)
Helm: Paul Campbell-James (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Alister Richardson (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Pete Cumming (GBR)
Bowman: Aleksey Kulakov (RUS)

Groupama Team France (FRA)
Skipper/Helm: Franck Cammas (FRA)
Tactician: Sophie de Turckheim (FRA)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tanguy Cariou (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Fouchier (FRA)
Bowman: Devan Le Bihan (FRA)

J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
Skipper/Helm: Ben Ainslie (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Paul Goodison (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Pippa Wilson (GBR)
Bowman: Matt Cornwell (GBR)

Oman Air (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Tom Johnson (AUS)
Headsail Trimmer: Will Howden (GBR)
Bowmen: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) /Musab Al Hadi (OMA)

Realstone (SUI)
Skipper/Mainsail Trimmer: Jérôme Clerc
Helm: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Bruno Barbarin (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Thierry Wasem (SUI)
Bowman: Nils Palmieri (SUI)

Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT)
Tactician/Mainsail Trimmer: Hans-Peter Steinacher (AUT)
Headsail Trimmer: Mark Bulkeley (GBR)
Bowman: Nick Blackman (NZL)
Runner: Haylee Outteridge (AUS)

SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skippers: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) / Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN)
Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN)
Trimmers: Thierry Douillard (FRA)/Peter Wibroe (DEN)
Bowman: Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN)
Skipper/Helm: Nick Moloney (AUS)
Tactician: Adam Beashel (AUS)
Mainsail Trimmer: Scott Glen Sydney (SIN)
Headsail Trimmer: Tom Dawson (GBR)
Bowman: Justin Wong (SIN)

The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Tactician: Sarah Ayton (GBR)
Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR)
Headsail Trimmer: Kinley Fowler (NZL)
Bowman: Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)

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Franck Cammas assesses the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series and his chances

Posted on 05 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama Team France] Contested aboard 40-foot (12 metres) one-design catamarans, the Extreme Sailing Series< is gathering together twelve teams, who will battle it out in eight stages spanning France, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific: "This is most definitely the circuit with the highest level of competition in the world this year," Franck Cammas says from the outset.

To take the start of the first event of the year in Singapore (20 to 23 February) in the best possible conditions, the Groupama skipper began by calling upon the services of a regular addition to his team, Tanguy Cariou. A project manager and top-flight tactician, Tanguy successfully led the Tour de France project in 2013 that we are all familiar with. Indeed, Groupama 34 secured victory in all three rankings (overall, inshore and offshore), securing what proved to be a truly unprecedented lead over the second placed team in the event's entire 36-year history.

Together, Franck and Tanguy have called upon Thierry Fouchier, one of just two Frenchman to win the America's Cup (BMW Oracle in 2010) and a true ESS expert, Devan Le Bihan (crew aboard Groupama 34 in 2013) and finally Sophie de Turckheim, who is also preparing for the Olympic Games with Franck on the Nacra 17.

Suffice to say that it's a very fine crew, who will be sailing aboard Groupama - Team France. However, Tanguy Cariou remains very prudent when you bring up the subject of forecasts: “We’ll only be able to draw up an initial report after the first three events (Singapore, Oman and Qingdao). One thing we are sure about is that it’s going to be tough as we did virtually no training prior to the boat’s departure for Singapore in a container. As such we’ll be lacking the points of reference of our rivals, who have been sailing on the circuit for years”.

Alongside him, Franck Cammas shares a similar view: “There’s a fantastic line-up with Team New Zealand and Dean Barker, JP Morgan and Ben Ainslie and also the Australian team, which is preparing for the next America’s Cup. And we mustn’t forget the familiar faces on the circuit, like Alinghi and The Wave Muscat”.

Realistic, the Groupama skipper certainly isn’t resigned and is already casting his mind forward: “The special feature of the circuit lies in the brevity of the races, which don’t even last ten minutes. We’re always in transition, never on a straight line. The most important thing is to manage the positioning and anticipate each upcoming passage and action in line with the rules, particularly at the marks. It’s a long year though and I hope that we’ll make good progress,” Cammas concludes.

In order to help them to up their game in the necessary way, France’s double Olympic champion, Thierry Péponnet, will take up the post of coach, as he’s done over recent years in the Volvo and the Tour de France à la Voile: “The races are so intense that it’s hard to analyse them after the event and gauge what was and what wasn’t done well. This is where Thierry will help us. He’s familiar with the circuit and has been following us for a long time”.

With two weeks to go until the 2014 season kicks off, the seventeenth season for Franck in the colours of his loyal partner, Groupama, and the first under the Team France banner, everything is in position. The green catamaran will arrive in Singapore shortly as the crew hones its physical fitness and the OC Sports teams ready themselves for the organisation. In order to track the performance of Groupama Team France, you’ll notably be able to follow their progress on the Canal+ group’s stations (Infosport, Sport+ and I Télé), Team France’s audiovisual partner.

The crew on Groupama Team France
Franck Cammas, skipper and helmsman
Tanguy Cariou, project manager and mainsail trimmer
Thierry Fouchier, headsail trimmer
Devan Le Bihan, bowman
Sophie de Turckheim, tactician and observation of the race zone
Matthieu Vandame, replacement

8 stages
Singapore from 20 to 23 February
Oman from 19 to 22 March
Qingdao from 1 to 4 May
Saint Petersburg from 26 to 29 June
Cardiff from 22 to 25 August
Istanbul from 11 to 14 September
Nice or Marseille from 2 to 5 October
Sydney from 11 to 14 December

The competing crews:
Team New Zealand, Dean Barker (New Zealand)
JP Morgan BAR, Ben Ainslie (UK)
Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli (Switzerland)
Real Team, Jérôme Clerc (Switzerland)
Gac Pindar, Steve Jarvin (Australia)
Gazprom Team Russia, Igor Lisovenko, (Russia)
Oman Air, Rob Greenhalgh (Oman)
The Wave Muscat, Leigh Mac Millan (Oman)
SAP Extrem Sailing Team, Jes Gram Hansen (Denmark)
Red Bull Sailing Team, Roman Hagara (Austria)
Team Aberdeen Singapore, Nick Moloney (Sing)
Groupama Team France, Franck Cammas (France)

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