For the second consecutive year, a first since the creation of this title awarded by the French Sailing Federation for the past twelve 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.