Diam 24 : victory for Cammas and Groupama 24
For his return to the exciting circuit for Diam 24s, this summer's Tour de France à la Voile craft, the skipper of Groupama certainly compelled respect on the Poulmic harbour race zone in north-west France. Up against stiff competition in a total of nine races, Groupama 24 outpaced the Swiss crew on Spindrift and Combiwest.
Despite the extreme weather conditions, which meant that no racing could take place on the first and last day, the organisers and Race Committee for the Grand Prix de l'Ecole Navale were able to run nine races, including two coastal courses involving a return sprint between the base and Brest.
In this particular discipline, Franck Cammas, Pierre Pennec and Arnaud Jarlegan upped their game in relation to the first two events of the season (Spi Ouest France and Grand Prix Atlantique), where they bagged second place, the skipper of Groupama away on his Olympic Nacra 17 preparation: "It's obviously a real pleasure to win here. We've had some good conditions for racing and the level is pretty uniform throughout. The first five boats were very similar. There was good communication aboard between the three of us and we were often in a position to make favourable decisions. The boat goes fast too".
In race formats that combined speed and tactical know-how, the 24 competing crews regularly had an opportunity to pull off some blinding moves: "Inevitably, the crews who come from the sports catamaran and multihull domain have an advantage compared with those with an offshore racing background. That said it's interesting to see a sailor like Vincent Riou winning races on PRB. He's still lacking a bit of consistency, but it shows that work pays off with a solid fourth place for him in the overall ranking".
Out on the race zone, there were a number of well-known offshore skippers like Armel Le Cléach, Francois Gabart, Bernard Stamm and Erwan Tabarly mixing it with the high performing multihull and match racing specialists with names like Damien Iehl, Xavier Revil, Pierre Loïc Berthet, Charles Henneville, Benjamin Bellet, Moana Vaireaux and double World Nacra 17 Champion, Marie Riou. Coming together in this way enables everyone to get to know each other better and it also generates some great battles on the water. That allows sailors and observers alike to have some fun as they await what promises to be a captivating Tour de France a la Voile.
In the meantime, Franck Cammas will take back the helm of the Nacra 17 in Medemblik in Holland, Weymouth in England and finally Denmark for the World Championship. Added to that will be continued training sessions aboard the flying Groupama 45 in Lorient, Brittany...
Overall ranking in the Grand Prix de l'Ecole Navale 2015
1. Groupama - Franck Cammas - 24 points
2. Spindrift - Xavier Revil - 26 points
3. Combiwest - Damien Iehl - 34 points
4. PRB - Vincent Riou - 41 points
5. Courrier Choc - Antoine Carpentier - 44 points
6. Normandy Elite Team - Charles Hainneville - 53 points
7. Prince de Bretagne - Matthieu Souben - 63 points
8. Sodebo - Moana Vaireaux - 63 points
9. Macif - François Gabart - 64 points
10. Radio Vinci Autoroute - Jean-Baptiste Gellee - 67 points
Photo : Pierrick Contin