Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo © George Bekris)

 

In a thrilling winner-take-all final race, Emirates Team New Zealand unhooked itself from a starting buoy to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York with the high score of 52 points.

Another large crowd, estimated at 100,000, turned out on a sunny day and was treated to some very unpredictable racing. This after over 75,000 came out on Saturday.

Watch a recap here

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

No lead was ever safe on Sunday as the wind shifted through wide arcs from the west to the north and ranged anywhere from 5 to 20 knots.

“It was one of those series where everyone had good luck and bad luck, but we got our good luck at the end of the regatta,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “It was exciting and crazy at the same time. Today it was important to keep your cool and stay focused.”

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

The Kiwi crew, led by Ashby and World Sailor of the year and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup champion helmsman Peter Burling, was literally dead in the water at the start of Race 3. Crewman Blair Tuke had to jump in the water to unhook the starting buoy’s anchor line from the catamaran’s rudder. Making matters worse, the port hull was punctured by the buoy and water was leaking into the hull throughout the race.

“We saw the buoy coming at us with about 20 seconds to go,” said Ashby. “It wasn’t ideal but we were lucky in the end.”

 

The Kiwi crew’s luck came full circle on the next-to-last leg. They rounded the last windward mark in fifth place, about 42 seconds behind leading SoftBank Team Japan. But as all the crews began the downwind leg they sailed into a patch of no wind that engulfed the course.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

As the leg was perpendicular to the southerly flowing current, some of the crews were being swept over the course boundary. Land Rover BAR, Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan all were penalized for crossing the boundary in the current.

The Kiwis, further behind, held in the middle of the course and when the wind filled in the Kiwis took off on their hydrofoils at 16 to 20 knots boatspeed, leaving the rest of the fleet gasping in disbelief.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

At one point during the final race ORACLE TEAM USA looked to be in position to win. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew won the start and led around the first two mark roundings. But Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan grabbed the lead by working the right side of the course while ORACLE TEAM USA struggled on the right side. In the end the reigning America’s Cup champion placed second in the race and second for the series.

“The crowd was insane,” said Spithill. “Today was great for the fans. In these conditions you have to roll with the punches and keep fighting. We wanted to win but we’ll take the second place. The Kiwis got a Hail Mary there at the end, but you have to take your hat off to them and congratulate them.”

Third went to Franck Cammas’ Groupama Team France, winner of Race 2. SoftBank Team Japan placed fourth, Land Rover BAR fifth and Artemis Racing sixth.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Illustrating just how challenging the day was on the short, confined racecourse, Nathan Outteridge’s crew won the first race going away but was then sixth in Races 2 and 3.

“We got a little bit of luck in the first race and managed to hold on, but we had some terrible moments in the last two races…” said Outteridge. “You can’t get people to come watch sailing if you don’t bring it to them. That’s what we’ve done here. When the America’s Cup is in Bermuda next year, in super high-tech boats, we’ll get some amazing racing.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series now moves onto Chicago, June 10-12. After that it heads to Europe for events in the U.K. in July and France in September.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York Final Standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 52 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 50 points
3. Groupama Team France – 44 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 42 points
5. Land Rover BAR – 42 points
6. Artemis Racing – 40 points

 

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
(After six events)

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 244 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 236 points
3. Land Rover BAR – 227 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 203 points
5. Artemis Racing – 201 points
6. Groupama Team France – 194 points

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

 

 

victoireFC-20131210

 

For the second year running, a first since the creation of this title awarded by the French Sailing Federation for the past 12 years, Franck Cammas, the skipper of Groupama, has been voted Sailor of the Year.

Up against the winner of the Vendée Globe, who was the favourite to take the award, the skipper of Groupama won it by a fairly large majority after a particularly impressive 2013 season. French Champion of Match Racing, Offshore Racing and Olympic Sailing, not to mention a victory in the Tour de France à la Voile and the World C-Class Championship, Franck and his Groupama sailing team have once again made a clean sweep of the prizes.And yet, once again, the competition for this title was formidable:
– Francois Gabart, winner of the Vendée Globe
– Yann Eliès, double winner of the Solitaire du Figaro
– Billy Besson and Marie Riou, World Nacra 17 Champions
– Antoine Albeau, World Windsurfing Champion
– Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, World Disabled Sonar Champions.

But there we have it, as some were saying last night, ultimately, when there’s a competition, it’s always Cammas who wins! Questioned after the results were declared, the skipper of Groupama gave his verdict with the familiar simplicity we have become accustomed to during what will soon be 17 years:”It’s a massive surprise because in my view there are sailors here who have incredible achievements this year. This award comes as the result of a great deal of work and a team which is firmly in place. We have proven how quickly we can respond to switching from offshore racing to disciplines that are completely new to us. I hope that we will go further as we’ve witnessed some very, very fine images, which thrilled us all a few weeks ago in San Francisco. We’ve seen that the French were in a position to secure what is the toughest trophy in the world to win. We would very much like them all with us in the same team and show that in France, we too can do incredible things on the international stage.

Sailor of the year 2013, Franck came close to securing another win for his team as the Groupama Research Department was nominated in the category for “Prix de la haute technologie” (High Technology Prize) awarded by the French Nautical Industries Federation, for the remarkable performance put up by Groupama C, winner of the Little America’s Cup back in September. In the end though it was the French engineers and researchers from Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup
who took the prize.

Despite all that, hearty congratulations go to the superb team made up of Loïc Dorez, Pierre Tissier, Olivier Mainguy, Stéphane Chatel, Marine Villard, Martin Fisher, Gautier Sergent, Denis Glehen, Benjamin Muyl and Guillaume Verdier.Congratulations also extend to all the crew members who have sailed with Franck this year:
Sophie de Turckheim, Louis Viat, Tanguy Cariou, Erwan Israël, Fabien Henry, Arnaud Jarlegan, Devan Le Bihan, Malo Bessec, Matthieu di Russo, Christophe André, Stéphane Guilbaud, Julien Villion, Maxime Paul, Charles Caudrelier, Yann Riou and Guillaume Le Tuaud.

See you in 2014 for a year that, in sporting terms, will doubtless be extremely busy.

 

After navigating the first two stretches of water, the English Channel and the North Atlantic, Groupama 34 is dominating this Tour de France à la Voile with a 55-point lead over the second boat. In the past 35 editions of the Tour, it would seem that such a performance has never been matched before. Franck Cammas certainly isn’t letting it be said that he has already won the Tour however. Mathematically, the skipper of Groupama 34 is right, as there are still nearly 2/3 of the points to be distributed in the Mediterranean section of the race. As such, anything is still possible.
M34 ©Groupama
Though some observers were beginning to cast some doubt over Groupama sailing team’s ability to win this Tour, the three races contested at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie will have given them a cold shower, with three superb victories secured by Franck and his crew, as Bretagne Crédit Mutuel lament a poor day’s racing.

As has often been the case since the start in Dunkirk, the crew of Groupama 34 got off to some good and not overly risky starts, made fast headway, manoeuvred to perfection and opted for the right tacks with a very inspired Tanguy Cariou calling tactics: “It’s true that we’re very quick in the light airs. The crew is highly focused too”, explains a cheerful Franck Cammas, surprised when he’s asked if he can let some other competitors win sometime. “If we could win everything, we wouldn’t deprive ourselves of it. Don’t think for a minute that it’s easy though. The general level is very high and the results of the races are often uncertain just moments before the finish”.

Surrounded by a superb crew combining experience, youth and above all determination, the skipper of Groupama 34 is also reaping the rewards of excellent preparation and a training programme, which included the team from Dunkirk, skippered by Daniel Souben, who is currently lying in third position some eight points shy of second place.

The only surprise for Franck Cammas is his ranking in the offshore sprints: “I expected us to perform better in the offshore races, which are our speciality”. It should be noted though that they have won 3 out of 6…

Ultimately, of the 36 factors awarded, Groupama 34 has won 20 of them. That equates to the exact same number as those remaining in the Mediterranean stage…

Between now and Saturday however, the skipper is returning to Lorient to get some rest and also to spend some time at Groupama sailing team’s base, where the C-Class catamaran, aboard which he will be contesting the World Championships at the end of September in Falmouth, is in the process of being assembled.

Next meeting on 20 July in Roses, Spain, for the final week of racing in the 36th Tour de France, which will draw to a close in Marseille on 28 July.
Provisional overall ranking in St Gilles Croix de Vie:

1. Groupama 34 with 868 points
2. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel : – 55 points
3. Courrier Dunkerque : – 63 points
4. Sodebo : – 81 points
5. OmanSail : – 99 points
6. TPM : – 177 points
7. Genève : – 187 points
8. Nantes St Nazaire : – 204 points
9. Normandie : – 242 points
10. Martinique BE Brussels : – 272 points
11. Iskareen : – 284 points
12. Bienne Voile : – 329 points

 

Groupama 3 (Photo by Claude Almodovar)

Groupama 3 (Photo by Claude Almodovar)

On weather watch for the past week, Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama 3, and Sylvain Mondon from Météo France, have just confirmed the presence of a favourable weather window to tackle the Mediterranean crossing record held by Bruno Peyron for the past five years, with a time of 17 hours and 56 minutes on Orange II. Moored in the port of Estaque in Marseilles, Groupama 3 is all set to go and the seven crew are converging on the city to depart for Carthage, some 458 nautical miles away, on Friday morning.

A fast boat and some favourable weather conditions:

“To stand a chance of making the crossing in as fast a time as Bruno Peyron and his crew (an average of 25.53 knots), the weather conditions must be favourable throughout the course, which seems to be the case even though we’ll have to make a series of tacks under gennaker and hence sail further. We’ve optimised Groupama 3 by getting rid of any surplus gear and by sailing with seven crew as opposed to the usual ten. Indeed the duration of the record (17hrs56) enables us to complete the journey in one go, without the need to sleep. Our crew is excellent with, in particular, the arrival of Lionel Lemonchois and Thomas Coville” says Franck Cammas.

Sylvain Mondon explains the weather scenario: “Of particular note on Friday is a change in air flow as the tramontana becomes established. Right from the outset Groupama 3 will head off with the NW’ly breeze in order to benefit from downwind conditions and what will still be calm seas. This air flow must last all the way to Tunisia. It’s a very tight gap but it is enough. The wind angle isn’t optimal, which means there will be a lot of manoeuvres. Groupama 3 will have to put in a series of tacks. However the wind strength should be sufficient to beat the record. The current routing gives a time of around 16 hrs.”

Groupama 3’s crew
1) Franck Cammas
2) Frédéric Le Peutrec
3) Stève Ravussin
4) Loïc Le Mignon
5) Ronan Le Goff
6) Lionel Lemonchois
7) Thomas Coville (The skipper of Sodeb’O is currently on stand-by for the Discovery Route record. However, no window is presenting itself so Thomas will be aboard Groupama 3)
On shore: Sylvain Mondon (weather adviser)

The course time, from Marseilles to Carthage: 458 miles
The start line lies abeam of the Pomegues lighthouse located at the exit from the harbour of Marseilles, on the islands of Frioul. The logical route takes you towards the Golfe de Tunis, leaving Corsica and Sardinia to port.
The finish line is positioned abeam of the Ras Quartajamah lighthouse, on Cap Carthage, near Sidi Bou Saïd.

Photo By Arnaud Pilpre'/Sutdio Zedda

Photo By Arnaud Pilpre

Just a year ago, Franck Cammas and his nine crew capsized 80 miles off New Zealand following the breakage of Groupama 3s port float. 24 hours ahead of the reference time set by the current Jules Verne Trophy record holder when the incident occurred, the crew was airlifted to safety by helicopter before heading back to the zone to rescue Groupama 3.

Remaining true to its commitment for over 10 years alongside Franck Cammas and his team, Groupama Management renewed its trust in the project by taking the decision to set off again on the assault of the Jules Verne Trophy as soon as possible.
“The adventure we’ve been involved in with Franck Cammas since 1997 has comprised some really great moments as well as some difficult periods at times… This capsize doesn’t call into question the harmonious collaboration and the trust we have in Franck” stated Frédérique Granado at the time, Director of External Communication.

Whilst the guys busy themselves on the 700 m2 trimaran (31.5 metres long and 22 wide), all eyes are on the new, more sober decoration. However, when you look at it up close, certain details particularly stand out:

1. As with Groupama 2, some careening fabric has been laid on the forward beams. The objective is clear: “Groupama 3 is the trimaran which displays the best weight/power ratio. Today we are seeking to gain refinement, both from an aerodynamic as well as a hydrodynamic viewpoint, with the aim of limiting the braking rather than souping up the engine. This careening has demonstrated its appeal on Groupama 2. As such it was only logical that they be incorporated into her big sister” explains Loïc Dorez, head of the Groupama team’s research department.

2. The trampolines which serve as a sole in the cockpit are different: “We chose Spectra trampolines because they’re lighter and sturdier and we have arranged them differently in order to facilitate the movement of the sails on deck. This may seem like a minor thing but when you have to shift the gennaker weighing around a hundred kilos forward, it’s no longer just a detail” adds the 1.88 m tall Loïc Le Mignon.

This resourcefulness enabled the trimaran to be returned to France in record time since less than 2 months after the painful episode, Groupama 3 was back in the yard in which it was created in Vannes, Brittany.

Ten months in the yard and 50,000 hours of work later, Groupama 3 is returning to its natural element for a 2009 campaign of record attempts, which will take her into the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean and finally around the World in November for the Jules Verne Trophy.

The four records held by Groupama 3:

1. The Discovery Route (Cadiz – San Salvador) in 7 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes at an average of 21.7 knots
2. Miami – New York in 1 day, 11 hours and 5 minutes at an average of 27 knots
3. New York – Lizard Point in 4 days, 3 hours and 58 minutes at an average of 29.26 knots
4. Distance covered in 24 hours of 794 miles at an average of 33.08 knots

The three record attempts scheduled for 2009:

1. The Discovery Route (Cadiz – San Salvador) in 7 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes at an average of 21.7 knots
2. Miami – New York in 1 day, 11 hours and 5 minutes at an average of 27 knots
3. New York – Lizard Point in 4 days, 3 hours and 58 minutes at an average of 29.26 knots
4. Distance covered in 24 hours of 794 miles at an average of 33.08 knots

Although 2008 was a year principally influenced by Groupama 3’s reconstruction following her capsize in the Indian Ocean on 18th February, 2009 will provide a wealth of opportunities for Franck Cammas and his crew to get out on the water, with three record attempts in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and finally around the World. In addition to these ocean-going journeys, Team Groupama will be participating in the entire iShares circuit and will compete in five events in France, England, Germany, Switzerland and Holland.
After a relaunch scheduled for 9th February 2009, Groupama 3 will sail off Lorient, Brittany for three weeks: “Following the breakage of the port float, we’ve built two new floats whose outboard sides are made of monolithic carbon. They are heavier as well as stronger. In order to avoid making Groupama 3 heavier overall, the team has worked a great deal on other sectors so as to save weight. We’ve been particularly focussing on energy generation which will consume less and enable us to carry less diesel” explains Stéphane Guilbaud, team manager.As regards performance, you can trust in Franck Cammas: “We’ve been working on the finer detail on deck, with the positioning of aerodynamic housing which has already been tested on Groupama 2. Added to that, we’ve been studying the hydrodynamics and finally the ergonomics so as to make manoeuvres easier.”Sporting her brand new livery, Groupama 3 will cover nearly 30,000 miles in 2009. In order to get the very most out of the trimaran’s potential Franck Cammas will be gathering together a top-level crew. The trimaran already holds four records including the prestigious North Atlantic record of less than 100 hours and the most distance covered in 24 hours after racking up 794 miles: “We’re going to use our time on the water in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to select the crew for the Jules Verne Trophy. The core crew remains unchanged but some have headed off to work on other projects. We’re going to embark sailors who have already gone around the World, preferably in a multihull” continues the skipper of Groupama 3, who is following the Vendée Globe closely.

Very much at home in a competitive environment, Franck Cammas is also training up a Groupama crew who will participate in the iShares Cup organised by Mark Turner and Ellen MacArthur: “I participated in two events in 2007 and 2008 aboard these 40 foot catamarans. They are really lively and very sensitive boats. We’re going to race in France, Germany, Holland, England and Switzerland. Tanguy Cariou will be in charge of putting together the crew and the training when I’m sailing on Groupama 3” explains Franck, who concludes: “I’d like to thank Groupama for fuelling our ambitions for the twelfth year in succession. Aside from Fleury Michon with Philippe Poupon, no other shipowner has given so much meaning to the word loyalty. I am very proud and all the more determined to succeed in 2009.”

Traditionally the Nautic (Paris International Boat Show) provides sailors who are not racing with the opportunity to present their projects. Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama, is no exception to the rule and it gave Frédérique Granado, director of Groupama’s external communication, the chance to speak about their partnership: “We are about to start our twelfth year alongside Franck Cammas. This relationship clearly illustrates Groupama’s long-term commitment which is based on both loyalty and ambition. When Franck and his crew had to give up on their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, we reaffirmed our commitment the day after the capsize. Today we are looking forward to seeing Groupama 3 sailing, both in France and abroad. As such we are going to share our commitment with Groupama colleagues based in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Spain and Portugal”.