Sunday 25 May 2014

Delta Lloyd Regatta : Another Podium for Groupama

Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim in action at Medemblik. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Groupama

by Vincent Borde

Battling it out with compatriots Besson - Riou for first place in the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup over the past five days, the Cammas - de Turckheim duo stumbled at the final hurdle in the last double-point scoring Medal Race and secured second place in the overall Eurosaf ranking.

There are days such as these when things don't work out or where success slips through your fingers. For the final race of this Dutch meeting, reserved for the top ten in the overall ranking, the Race Committee launched an initial start. On the offensive, Franck and Sophie set out in a very good position and were leading as the fleet rounded the first windward mark whilst their direct rivals, Besson - Riou, found themselves quite a long way behind.

Luck wasn't on the side of the Groupama duo however and the Race Committee decided to cancel the race and schedule a fresh start, deeming the race zone to be crowded out by dinghies, which weren't part of the race. As such, they had to start over from scratch.

The second start saw our French team get off on another flyer in a medium breeze of around a dozen knots in which they proved to be very quick. Among the top four at the windward mark, they were a few places ahead of Besson and Riou. Whilst the leaders gybed to rejoin the right-hand side of the race zone, which was favourable upwind, Besson and Riou had no other choice than to head off for the opposite side. And it was just as well they did since they pulled level with Cammas at the leeward mark of the short course, which comprised three laps and wasn't allowed to exceed 20 minutes.

Opting for the left-hand side of the racetrack on the second beat, where Besson had switched to the downwind section, Groupama became detached from the group, which had once again opted for the right and included Besson and Riou. Poorly placed at the end of the second beat, Franck and Sophie ended up in the same situation as the leaders in the previous lap. As a result, they headed for the opposite side of the racetrack and made an excellent comeback, but it wasn't enough to catch up with the superb winners of the overall ranking.

Contacted by telephone after this past week of racing, the skipper of Groupama gave us his impressions: "Medemblik is a really special race zone, very contorted and hence difficult to read. We came here to make progress in the breezy conditions, but we only had a single windy day, during which we didn't perform very well. As such, it's clear that this is the area we need to work on, because in the light airs and medium wind we feel satisfied with our performance. We came here to vie for victory with Besson and Riou and they're on top. It's a good sign."

With regards to the results secured by the other French competitors, the skipper of Groupama highlights the fine result racked up by Ingrid Petitjean and Olivier Backes, who scored fifth place overall and have really upped their game compared with their performance in the Sailing World Cup in Hyères.

Expected at Groupama sailing team's Lorient base on Monday, Franck Cammas will link back up with the design office and Groupama C, winner of the Little America's Cup last September. On the team's programme: a number of sea trials to fine tune and test the evolutions to the foil and wing trim on this flying catamaran, which is capable of a pace nearly three times the wind speed.

Ranking after the first ten races (minus the discard):
1/ Besson - Riou (3,3,7,3,9,4,3,22,10,1) with 44 points
2/ Cammas - de Turckheim (6,6,3,10,1,1,19,16,2,4) with 53 points
3/ Bundock - Curtis (7,15,1,5,3,19,16,1,4,6) with 64 points
4/ Saxton - Diamond (8,25,18,1,4,7,5,4,20,5) with 77 points
5/ Petitjean - Backes (4,2 ,26,30,6,10,20,8,3,2) with 83 points
6/ Waterhouse - Darmanin (14,20,11,2,16,9,8,10,5) with 89 points
7/ Buhler - Brugger (OCS,4,14,11,12, 11,21,6,8,3) with 93 points
8/ Wilson - Gibson (13, 8,13,12,10,16,2,3,18,9) with 95 points
9/ Groenveld - Krol (1,14, 8,22,7,14,10,14,17,8) with 101 points
10/ Laugier - Bellet (15,7,9,25,25,3,11,18,1,10) with 109 points

Cammas - Groupama
Delta Lloyd Regatta