VOR- Groupama wins!—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 4 Jul 2012
As Americans prepare to light up the night sky with fireworks, it’s fair to say that the French beat us to it in Galway, Ireland, as Groupama has been declared the overall victors in the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) after a second-place finish in the short, 550-mile sprint from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland cemented their overall win, irrespective of their results in Saturday’s in-port race. While skipper Franck Cammas and his star-studded crew have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of miles between them, most of these were completed on multi-hulls (Groupama 4 proudly flies the French flag) or during singlehanded campaigns or Juyles Verne attempts. In fact, the 2011/2012 edition was their team’s first foray into the VOR—an impressive tick by anyone’s yardstick.
Groupama Sailing Team, skipper Franck Cammas from France, celebrates winning the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, after securing second place on leg 9 from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race) Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com
'To win the Volvo Ocean Race is a very fine challenge when you're a novice in this format and French to boot!' reported Cammas, who is the first French skipper to claim this lofty prize since skipper Lionel Péan and company claimed the prize in the 1985/1986 edition. 'We weren't a favorite or even an outsider at the start in Alicante. We were also in an easy position, especially as this first crewed race around the world was about learning the ropes prior to a planned second participation. We were here to discover the scene without any pressure on our shoulders, but to win was a surprise to everyone. We entered a tunnel where all we thought about was the race and we didn't think any further than that: our world may well be a bit empty for a few days after this coming weekend.'
While much attention was rightly focused on Cammas and company, skipper Chris Nicholson of emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) deserves a call out for a brilliant down-to-the wire win in Leg Nine—the team’s first offshore leg win of the race. This win propelled ETNZ into second place overall, provisionally nudging skipper Ken Read and his Puma Ocean Racing team down to third place by a margin of six points. Be sure to check out the full VOR multimedia report, as well as plenty of great image galleries, inside, and stay tuned for more about this weekend’s final in-port race, as it becomes known.
Also offshore-related, Steve Ravussin and his crew aboard the MOD70 trimaran, Race for Water, took first place in the Krys Ocean Race’s 'prologue sprint' that took teams from Newport to New York. This Saturday, teams will leave New York astern for Brest, France, and a transatlantic passage that can only be described as a sprint aboard these powerful trimarans. Stay tuned to the website this weekend for more news from the Krys Ocean Race, as it unfurls.
Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing news, don’t miss the multimedia profile and Q&A with Paige Railey, US SAILING Team Sperry Top-Sider’s Laser Radial rep for this the 2012 Olympics, to learn what this summer’s Games will mean to Paige, and to the entire Railey family. 'It’s a very special time for my family and brother. We are best friends and it has been a family goal for us to go [to the Olympics] together. I always state that I sail an individual boat, but I am part of a team. The Railey family has been working towards this for years so it is so exciting to be competing with Zach.'
Also inside, be sure to get the latest news from the world Match Racing Tour’s Stena Match Cup Sweden, the ISAF Youth Sailing Worlds, the upcoming Route Halifax Saint-Pierre and the Finn Silver Cup.
Happy Fourth of July!
May the four winds blow you safely home,