by Daniel Smith
The last time Franck Cammas (FRA) and Iker Martinez (ESP) sailed against each other they were on Volvo 70s racing around Galway, Ireland at the Volvo Ocean Race climax on 7 July 2012.
Franck Cammas and Sophie De Turckheim (FRA) - Nacra 17
Less than one year later they’re back at it, but on the Olympic multihull, the Nacra 17.
Cammas and Martinez are no strangers having fought vigorously over the gruelling 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race that saw Martinez take an early advantage only for Cammas to push ahead, take the lead and claim a victory. They sailed together on Luna Rossa in the America’s Cup World Series but their attentions have now turned to reaching the Olympic Games.
'For now my goal is to race at the highest level possible, it’s why I am on the Nacra 17,' said Cammas.
'We didn’t have the opportunity with Groupama to do a new Volvo Ocean Race and the catamaran is back in the Olympic Games so it was an opportunity to try this class. Four years ago I did the F18 World Championship and it was very fun.'
Cammas finished second at the 2008 F18 Worlds but has limited knowledge of the Olympic circuit, an area that Martinez knows very well having won gold in the 49er at Athens 2004 and silver at Beijing 2008.
'I know Iker enjoyed the Olympic class a lot and even in-between two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race he trained in the 49er so I think it’s funny for us to compete again,' added Cammas. 'I like him a lot and it’s always very interesting to race against him. We were also, a few months ago, in Luna Rossa in the same team so I know him very well and very happy to compete against him.'
Cammas enjoyed early success at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères in the light breeze with crew Sophie de Turckheim as they finished second in the qualification stage but had to retire from the competition as de Turckheim sustained a back injury.
The Frenchman added, 'I have a lot of work to do on this boat especially in the wind as it’s tough. There is a lot of things to do and manage on this boat because it is very complicated. We have to manage this but it’s hard and interesting.'
Martinez is on the up and with Tara Pacheco they took their first Nacra 17 bullet on the fourth day in Hyères and Martinez is enjoying racing against Cammas again, 'It’s always going to be difficult to sail against Franck because he is a very talented sailor but this is something completely different,' exclaimed Martinez, 'I am sure that he is going to do a very good campaign because he has the talent, a very good crew and support from sponsors and everything. We will see.'
The Spaniard teamed up with Pacheco ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma and believes he has a fantastic team mate, 'She is one of the best sailors in Spain right now,' said Martinez.
2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco Nacra 17
'She’s very competitive and a World Champion. No one gives a World Championship to you and you have to work hard to get it so I’m more than happy. Now we have to keep going.
'We can see now that the power in the boat is very important, the technique is also very important and there are a lot of different points that we have to be focused on. At least we’re here, we’ve already started and now we can only get better and better.'
As for now Martinez is fully committed to the Nacra 17 cause whilst Cammas balances a couple of other projects, 'My long term project is to do a team for the America’s Cup,' said the Frenchman. 'First we have to find money and create a team. We will also do the Tour de France à la Voile which is very slow compared to this [Nacra 17]. I think next year will be better for us with some training in the winter.'