Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Semaine Olympique Française in La Rochelle - 'A very nice surprise'

by Groupama sailing team on 14 Oct 2013
Franck Cammas / Sophie DeTurckheim (FRA) - Nacra Thom Touw © http://www.thomtouw.com
These few words echo Franck Cammas' thoughts about this initial victory in the Olympic series. Tied on points with the English at the start of the Medal Race, which scores double points, the Groupama crew still had a great deal to lose given the handful of points separating the top four.

However, once again, at the finish, it was Frank that took the win. Franck and Sophie we should say... with the duo securing the France Elite champion title, against the world's top racers. This win caps what has been a brilliant year that has included the French Match Racing champion title, the French Offshore Racing champion title, victory in the Tour de France à la Voile and finally the World C-Class champion title.

On the waters of La Rochelle on Sunday morning, there was virtually no wind at all. One by one, according to a well-established order, the series headed offshore to compete in the only race of the day. It proved to be a rather special race, which was half as long as the other ten races that had been contested since Wednesday.
As time went by, a light breeze kicked in and peaked at 12-14 knots just as the Nacra's took the start.

Very much at ease in the light air, the crew of Groupama was all too aware that in this steadier wind, its rivals would be hard to contain. To take the overall win, it would need to finish ahead of the English duo of Saxton - Diamond and prevent any boats from finishing between them and Iker Martinez or Besson-Riou.

At the start Franck and Sophie lacked speed and had their progress suppressed by Besson - Riou, whilst the English and Spanish were ahead of them.

Clearly things weren't panning out well early on. However, as has often been the case since the start of the week, the crew of Groupama managed to get free of the pack and sail in clean air.

At the first windward mark, the English and the Spanish were still ahead, but not far away.

On the first downwind sprint, the French managed to get back in contact with the leaders and then opted for the far right-hand side of the race zone on the second beat, controlling the Besson - Riou duo, whilst the Spanish and English powered along down the far left-hand side of the course.

On the water, the spectators waited for the next crossing of tacks with baited breath. Quick and inspired, Franck and Sophie rounded the final windward mark in second position with a comfortable lead over their most dangerous rivals in the overall ranking.

At that point all that remained was a run under spinnaker to the finish line, something which our two racers excel at, leaving no hope for any of their pursuers.

This initial victory in the Olympic series represents a great deal for the Groupama skipper, who is more used to racing offshore than putting in tacks on Olympic courses: 'We're very happy to win in our very first year as we weren't the favourites.

Our aim was to finish in the top five, so you can imagine how great we feel! We're still a long way from getting the best out of the Nacra 17, which is a very demanding and very technical boat. We still lose a lot of ground over the start phases, the manoeuvring and the transitions. We need to manoeuvre well whilst keeping an eye on the surrounding race zone. However, down a straight line, we know just how to get the boat working smoothly and we're pretty quick. That's why we're going training in Morocco this winter with the French team.'

For Sophie de Turckheim: 'It was a victorious race and it's always good for morale to win. It's very enjoyable. This morning I was fairly relaxed. I said to myself that we had to sail our own race without worrying too much about what the others were doing. Franck was more hyper, as he is everyday, but there was no particular tension there. We tried to sail as we normally do and that paid off.'

Indeed, on listening to the Groupama crew, the racing was fairly simple; perhaps a little too simple for some. And Iker Martinez certainly won't deny that...

Overall ranking in the Semaine Olympique Française (French Olympic Week) after 11 races
1/ Cammas - de Turckheim FRA : 46 points
2/ Martinez - Pacheco ESP : 53 points
3/ Besson - Riou FRA : 56 points
4/ Saxton - Diamond GBR : 56 points
5/ Wilson - Gibson GBR : 68 points
6/ Zajac - Frank AUT : 68 points
7/ Macgregor - Walsh GBR : 73 points
8/ Vaireaux - Audinet FRA : 75 points
9. Ogereau - Vandame FRA : 81 points
10/ Bissaro - Sicouri ITA : 92 points
Collinson and CoZhik NZ - YNZAbsolute Marine

Related Articles

18ft Skiffs - JJ Giltinan Trophy - LIVE coverage - Race 2 - NOW ON
Live coverage of Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in 15kts Live coverage of Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in 15kts
Posted today at 3:30 am
JJ Giltinan Trophy - More images from a funky Day 1 on Sydney Harbour
More images from Michael Chittenden from the first race of the 2017 JJ Giltinan Trophy on Sydney Harbour, Michael Chittenden was on the water for the first race of the 2017 JJ Giltinan Trophy on Sydney Harbour, sailed in a funky breeze, leaden skies and plenty of rain. Plus a 300 metre long cruise liner at one end of the course and a waka wall at the other
Posted on 25 Feb
Two Man Round the North Island Race - Images from the start
The Two Man Round the North Island Race got underway under leaden skies and light winds in Auckland yesterday. The Two Man Round the North Island Race got underway under leaden skies and light winds in Auckland yesterday. Here are some images of the start as the fleet headed for the first stop over at Mongonui at the northern tip of New Zealand's North Island.
Posted on 25 Feb
Vendee Globe - Video of Conrad Colman finish in Les Sables d'Olonne
Scenes of Kiwi solo round the world racer, Conrad Colman taken at the finish of the Vendee Globe race Scenes of Kiwi solo round the world racer, Conrad Colman taken at the finish of the Vendee Globe race, which he completed under jury rig after being dismasted 700nm from the finish. In Foresight Natural Energy Colman became the first New Zealand sailor to complete the Vendee Globe, he also became the first in eight editions of the race to sail the entire race using only renewable energy sources.
Posted on 25 Feb
JJ Giltinan Trophy - Waka wall helps Yamaha to Hat-Trick in Race 1
A group of 20 wakas paddling across the course for the opening race helped New Zealand's Yamaha to win A group of 20 wakas paddling across the course for the opening race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy helped New Zealand's Yamaha to win the first race of the seven race series. 'The wakas were massive,' said Yamaha skipper Dave McDiarmid. 'We couldn't get to the bottom mark. They were in a solid line - about four deep - there was no gap.
Posted on 25 Feb
Vendee Globe - Heerema delayed by Biscay lows
With 16 boats now finished, eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. With 16 boats now finished, the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. Until now it was the 2000-2001 edition, with 24 starters and 15 finishers, which saw the biggest number of starters reach the end of their race at the legendary South Nouch buoy.
Posted on 25 Feb
JJ Giltinan 18fters - Yamaha wins first race in rain and murk
New Zealand champion Yamaha came from behind to score a brilliant win in race one of JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship New Zealand champion Yamaha came from behind to score a brilliant win in race one of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The winning Group, on Sydney Harbour today.
Posted on 25 Feb
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season with major victory at RORC C600
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season off with major victory at RORC Caribbean 600 Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered.
Posted on 25 Feb
NZ Flying Fifteen Nationals - Australia win World's opener
The 2017 Flying Fifteen New Zealand Nationals acted as a prelude to the 21st Flying Fifteen World Championship The 2017 Flying Fifteen New Zealand National Championship acted as a prelude to the 21st Flying Fifteen World Championship, hosted by Napier Sailing Club on the waters of Hawkes Bay. 55 competitors from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and Hong Kong took on the kiwis in an early indication of form before the worlds to be held in Napier from Sunday 26 February - Friday 3 March.
Posted on 25 Feb
Cool drone footage of Dongfeng Race Team on the water
Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Stunning drone footage of the re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65 has been released as the team hit the water off the coast of Lisbon.
Posted on 25 Feb