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Cammas and now the Little America’s Cup... on a catamaran

Published on 07 january 2014 at 9h00

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And to keep himself occupied between his Olympic preparation on the new Nacra 17 and the Tour de France à la voile, what does the talented Franck do? He decides to launch into another challenge: to race (and if possible win) the Little America's Cup.

This unusual regatta has existed since 1961, and challenges engineers and sailors to design the fastest machine on the water, within quite simple class rules: a catamaran, 7.6 m long, 4.2 wide, with a total sail area of 27m²... Obviously Cammas the engineer couldn’t remain indifferent to the challenge of this World C-Class Championship, commonly called the Little America's Cup, and which has never deserved its name as much as this year, when the ‘Big Cup’ was being raced on flying catamarans with rigid wings. But in the C-Class, the rigid wing sail has been standard since 1974!
This class is particularly attractive, as it leaves the architects a lot of latitude to try and pioneer new ideas. “Apart from the rigid wing, which is now a classic in this class, we have done a lot of work on the appendages, notably the foils, which allow us to fly. On small boats, it’s hard to keep in balance when you are in the air, because we have much less inertia than the America’s Cup AC 72s. We have therefore carried out lots of tests and sea trials,” said the skipper of Groupama C.

A flying regatta
This year, the racing took place at Falmouth, in Great Britain. Cold wind, fog; the races were not exactly restful, but the results of the fleet race allowing the two best crews to be selected with a view to the final couldn’t have been clearer: Franck Cammas and his crew, Louis Viat won 7 of the 9 legs raced.
In the final, Groupama C faced Hydros, sailed by a formidable crew: Jérémie Lagarrigue and Billy Besson. The first day allowed the green catamaran to show its full speed potential, with 2 wins to 0. And then...the wind freshened. And in the C-Class, they don't sail in over 20 knots of wind. It must be said that with 12 knots of wind, the C-Class boats were already hurtling along at 27 knots!
On the last day, the wind was close to 20 knots. The race committee decided to start the leg, and Franck Cammas decided...to stay ashore, quite simply refusing to break his boat. The Swiss, in Hydros, didn’t have a choice, and set off alone on the course, before...capsizing, and breaking their wing.
Groupama C is the new C-Class World Champion.
Tell us Franck, what’s your next challenge?

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