Tag Archive | "Groupama"

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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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A strong programme and confirmed ambition for Groupama sailing team

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama - Cammas] Triple Match Racing Champion of France, Champion of offshore racing and Olympic sailing, winner of the Tour de France à la Voile, the Semaine Olympique Française (French Olympic Week) and finally World C-Class Champion, Franck Cammas has scored a veritable full house in 2013, switching from one craft to another with the same degree of success and racking up 320 days on the water.

This expertise and the technological gain associated with this is naturally prompting Franck to get a good amount of racing under his belt in 2014 and thus be in phase with Groupama’s dynamic: to get close to associates and clients again, to remain ambitious and finally to support research and innovation with the aim on performance.

Franck Cammas training on his C-Class catamaran. Lorient, 9 September 2013. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

The 2014 programme

Starting in 2013, Franck and Sophie de Turckheim’s Olympic Nacra 17 preparation with a view to the Olympic Games in Rio will continue in 2014. In partnership with the French Team, the winners of the Semaine Olympique Française in La Rochelle will link straight onto training sessions in Agadir in Morocco over the course of the winter before competing in the official competitions. Up against some excellent French competitors, the Groupama duo will do what they love most: racing against the best, as much in France as overseas.

French Offshore Racing Champion and winner of the Tour de France à la Voile with an historic lead, Franck and his Groupama sailing team are returning to the big looped circuit to the great delight of the organisers, the sailing fans as well as the representatives from Groupama’s Regional Offices and their clients. At the start of the season, Groupama 34 will participate in the Spi Ouest France and Normandy Sailing Week, and when Franck can’t be in attendance, Fabien Henry, part of the crew in 2013, will skipper the one-design.

As was the case in 2009 and 2010, Groupama will also participate in the Extreme Sailing Series. This international circuit of eight races, contested at the heart of the respective venues, gathers together the top skippers every year. Taking part in this event will enable Groupama sailing team to remain at the highest international level.

World C-Class Champions in 2013, Franck Cammas and the Groupama sailing team’s Research Department, aren’t the type to rest on their laurels. Innovation and high technology, the keywords in this series, which vies with ingenuity and brings architects and engineers to light, will once again have the place of honour in 2014. On the programme: work on the platform, the appendages and also the wing. Suffice to say that the team’s various brains and computers will be at full throttle this year as the team prepares to defend the World Champion title, which will be contested in Switzerland in 2015. The team should be a position to test the race zone from September 2014.

Finally, Groupama is joining the club of founder members for the “Team France” project in its capacity as historic partner to one of the sailors. This non-financial participation by Groupama is in line with the logic outlined last year to support Franck Cammas in his sporting preparation for the America’s Cup, which is due to take place in 2017. Groupama, whose partnership with Franck Cammas will draw to a close at the end of 2015, will not be sponsoring this competition under any circumstances. However, the sporting programme for 2014-2015 will mark Groupama’s contribution to Franck’s ambition.

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Franck Cammas World C Class Champion on Groupama

Posted on 28 September 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Cammas- Groupama] Champion of French Match Racing, Tour de France à la Voile and now the Little America’s Cup! Suffice to say it’s been a winning year across the board for the Groupama skipper who, for the past sixteen years has been monopolising the top spots. For this World C Class Championship contested in Falmouth (GB), the Groupama skipper and his crew, Louis Viat, didn’t go about things in half measures, winning 7 out of 9 fleet races as well as the only 2 duel matches contested as a result of too much wind.

For two days Groupama sailing team has been predicting that it would be difficult to run more than the two races won in duel format against the Swiss crew on Hydros. Indeed, on the south-western tip of England, in Cornwall, the weather is even more fickle than it is in Brittany. And that’s really saying something…

This Saturday morning, for the final day of the Little America’s Cup, the Race Committee was keen to launch a start. For the Swiss contingent, down two races to zero, the desire to get out on the water was stronger than the sense of good seamanship which prevailed among Groupama sailing team. The cause of this was a race zone swept by a good twenty knots or so of breeze, with peaks in excess of this.

Franck Cammas wins the “Little America’s Cup” and now sets his sight on the 35h America’s Cup. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda

Whilst Groupama C remained on shore, refusing to play at `Russian roulette’, Hydros headed off for a training sail and capsized a first time without too much mishap.

Still on shore with his first two wins banked, Franck Cammas decided to leave the Swiss to take the start on their own. It was a tough decision to make but it proved to be very wise as Besson and Lagarrigue capsized, severely damaging their wing.

Ultimately then, Groupama C took the win in the World C Class Championship 2013 by default after rather outrageously dominating all the races run.

This latest victory by Groupama sailing team caps a virtually perfect season for its favourite skipper. A fierce competitor, a rigorous racer and an ambitious skipper, Franck Cammas now has his sights on the 35th America’s Cup organised by Larry Ellison.

By taking the win in this international event, which has enabled every team to develop its architectural potential and research, the French skipper has asserted himself at the head of a team which his rivals and compatriots alike are eagerly awaiting to see in the `big’ America’s Cup…

Franck Cammas:This victory in the Little America’s Cup is down to the entire team, the most long-term members of which have been working together for the past fifteen years. It’s also down to Groupama, who have provided us with active backing. It’s over to us now to go further and higher, together, so as to be ready to challenge the Americans in the big Cup. By securing a win here, we’ve proven that our design team and our design office were up to the challenge. Thank you to them.

Louis Viat (crew):Arriving in Falmouth, we were full of uncertainty as we’d never sized up our performance in relation to anyone else before. Very quickly though we saw that we were better in terms of heading and speed. In such conditions, it’s easier to win races. Added to that, Franck has been supreme. As per usual.

Martin Fisher (member of the Design Team):Groupama C really outclassed her rivals. Statistically, it was the equivalent difference between a Hobby Cat 16 and a Formula 18, that is nearly 20% extra power. As is the case in all his projects, Franck has an ability to push deeper and get the best out of his team. He’s incredible!

Expected into his Lorient base early next week, the skipper of Groupama sailing team will follow up this latest exploit five days later with an entry in the Semaine Olympique Française in La Rochelle aboard the Nacra 17 with Sophie de Turckheim.

When we tell you he never stops…

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Groupama C dominates World C Class Championship

Posted on 24 September 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Cammas - Groupama] Indeed in contrast to her big sister event, which is being competed in San Francisco at the moment, the finalists in the Little America’s Cup earn their qualification during the fleet racing. As such, since yesterday, Groupama C has been competing against ten crews representing six nationalities. Dominated by the Americans and Canadians thus far, the Little Cup is now having new life breathed into it with the arrival of the French on Groupama, as well as the Swiss on Hydros.

“Upwind, Groupama C is certainly better than her rivals. As a result our aim is to get enough of an edge on the beats to sail without taking too many risks downwind, where the boats are really finely balanced on their foils. We’ve been pretty successful with all that thus far,” the Groupama skipper comments.

However, in race No.5, things could have turned very sour: “In the final downwind leg, my trapeze cable broke. I went overboard, but unfortunately for me, the mainsheet got caught around my leg. I caused the boat to stall, but it really tightened up around my leg. I hope it’ll be better tomorrow,” Louis admits. Despite this incident, Groupama C only lost one place, thus enabling the Hydros 2 crew to secure a win…

Groupama clearly dominate the C-Class Worlds. Falmouth, 24 September 2013. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

Behind the French and Swiss, we can see the loyal Americans and Canadians, specialists of the series, where a certain James Spithill, today’s helmsman on Oracle Team USA in the Cup, was the outright number two in the World in 2010.

Suffice to say though, that the two finalist spots seem to be mathematically out of the reach of the Americans, English, Canadians and Spanish. However, it’s going to be important to watch out for what is forecast to be a very light breeze tomorrow, where boats which don’t fly are very much at ease…

In the meantime though, Groupama C is going faster with a better heading, which is good for the morale of the team, which has put countless amounts of energy into preparing for this international meeting since the end of last year.

Groupama clearly dominate the C-Class Worlds. Falmouth, 24 September 2013. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

Groupama clearly dominate the C-Class Worlds. Falmouth, 24 September 2013. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

Groupama clearly dominate the C-Class Worlds. Falmouth, 24 September 2013. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama

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