Monday, 10 August 2009

Groupama: Congratulations from Franck Cammas

by Vincent Borde

Finishing twelve minutes after the new Transatlantic record holder, Franck Cammas congratulated Pascal Bidégorry and his crew, as well as analysing this express crossing of 3h 18h 12' 56'' at an average of 31.92 knots...

An extremely close finish as they made Lizard Point...
We're happy to have crossed the line and it was nice to see Banque Populaire V over the last few hours of the course: it motivated both crews! We managed to really get Groupama 3 to cream along, which enabled us to make up a bit of ground on them... We set off virtually together and we crossed the finish with just a few minutes separation, after a little over three days at sea!

How do you explain the comeback: is Groupama 3 more at ease in these less windy conditions or was it that the wind was more favourable to you?
"It's hard to say, a bit of both. We came back on them with the wind but we were just a few miles from each other so the difference in breeze was minimal... The wind was too shifty to know who was going better. One thing for sure is that we're more at ease in relation to them in less than twenty knots than in twenty five knots of breeze!

Do you have a message to convey to Pascal Bidégorry and his crew?
Bravo! It's pretty impressive to monitor such a record when you're part of it too... They reached some incredible speeds and to have kept up that pace for 24 hours, with 907 miles, it's really a great step that's been made. I have lots of friends aboard and I think they're happy! There had to be a winner: it's them. I just hope they'll let us have the next record...

What lessons have you learnt from this crossing? What things will the Groupama team be working on?
This crossing was the final home straight before the Jules Verne Trophy. It was a successful test! Groupama 3 bettered her performance two years ago on a few little levels. We've made gains in pure performance, but it's not a very different boat. The crew is superb: it worked perfectly, it drove the trimaran flat out all the way with some very fine manoeuvres at all times. There's an excellent mindset aboard and we're all happy to head off together this winter.

Is the crew tired or were you able to keep up a rhythm as you do for the Jules Verne Trophy?
We organised ourselves so that we had the same pace as on a circumnavigation of the globe: nobody is tired and everyone has slept well, especially Steve... We could go on for weeks like that... 90% of the crew from this crossing will be at the start of the Jules Verne Trophy.

In relation to Banque Populaire V, what are Groupama 3's strong points and weak points?
We know there are conditions where they go faster, particularly close-hauled. We have a different philosophy with a shorter, lighter boat. Downwind we should go better... In a round the world, a lot can happen... In this crossing, they went faster 70% of the time: we're going to have to be more cunning in the Jules Verne Trophy where there is more weather strategy than in the North Atlantic attempt.

It was your first collaboration with the navigator Stan Honey...
We got to know each other on this crossing. For the record though, it's the start which is the most important, because after that there isn't that much strategy, just slight adjustments of trajectory according to the wind and the sail configuration. We're on the same wavelength and the exchanges with Sylvain Mondon onshore were always very positive.

Is the boat in good condition?
We're very satisfied. Afterwards, there are always details that can be improved on, notably with the foil casing. However, the foil demonstrated that it was reliable in relation to a round the world attempt: we were able to lower it right the way down throughout the crossing and trust in it.

Who went the fastest?
The best time went to Steve Ravussin's watch team, but I think it was Bernard Stamm who climbed to 44.7 knots. Swiss speed...

The numbers:
• Shortest distance: 2,880 nautical miles
• Average speed: 31.92 knots along the shortest route
• Actual distance covered by Groupama 3: 2,915 nautical miles
• Crossing time: 3 days 18 hours 12 minutes and 56 seconds
• Gain in relation to the 2007 record: 9 hours 44 minutes
• Deficit in relation to Banque Populaire 5: 2 hours 47 minutes
• Best distance covered in 24 hours: 857.5 nautical miles

Cammas - Groupama

No comments: