Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta - Low down from Groupama

by Groupama sailing team on 4 Aug 2014
Groupama - Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta Yvan Zedda / Groupama sailing team
The organisers of the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta, with two years until the opening of the Olympic Games in Rio, have laid on a first-rate spread. And, just the once won't hurt, the sailors are getting to reap the benefits before the other athletes. In the Nacra 17 series, Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim on Groupama are representing France alongside Billy Besson and Marie Riou and they are up against fourteen crews from other countries.

In terms of sport, you can't get much better than the Olympic Games, with the exception of football. In terms of sailing, these same Games are still suffering the comparison with the America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and even the Vendée Globe or the Route du Rhum. And yet, you just have to take a closer look at the programmes run by those candidates up for selection to understand what low regard the French media and general public have for it.

Just imagine a public survey in which you'd ask if 'Nicolas Hénard is a politician or a double Olympic Tornado champion', or whether 'Olivier de Kersauson sailed with Thierry Péponnet to take the gold 470 medal in the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988'. The answers would certainly be disturbing...

As such, Franck Cammas' arrival in this little-known world of Olympic preparation is virtuous in the sense that it is increasing the prestige of very real yet anonymous champions like Billy Besson and Marie Riou, as well as reminding spectators of some key rules, such as the fact that just one crew represents each series at the Games. As such, we can't expect to see Cammas and Besson at the helm of a Nacra in Rio in two years' time.

However, for the Test Event 2014, it's not just possible but above all it's very real as they both won their ticket here during the Sailing World Cup in Palma early this year. Accompanied by their coach Franck Citeau, together they'll discover the various race zones for the Games. We get the low-down with the skipper of Groupama:

The race zones:
'There are two. One is offshore and open to the tradewinds and the accompanying seas. It's pretty technical as it's choppy, but the wind scarcely varies in direction. It's a race zone where you need to be very quick as tactics won't dominate.

On the interior stretch of water however, it's quite the opposite. The sea is flat and the wind is very shifty, both in terms of strength and direction. It's a bit of a lottery. There's no logic to it,' explains Franck, who could have added that it would be a very fine race zone for the Extreme 40s...

The competitors:
'There are sixteen crews and aside from the Italians and the Spanish, all the top players are here. It's interesting as it's virtually the same number of sailors as there will be in the Games, which will see twenty nations competing in the Nacra. It's a far cry from the Sailing World Cup where there were between 70 and 80 crews. We've been training everyday since our arrival, both with Billy and Marie, as well as the crews from other countries. Things have been going well, but that doesn't mean much. We'll have to wait till the real racing begins'.

The organisation:
'We've received a welcome fit for a king. As was the case during the Games in Barcelona in 1992, Sailing is at the heart of the competition and not a few hundred kilometres away as is often the case. The Brazilians are really keen to do well and you can sense that. It's really something to get such a great reception. The only thing you have to bear in mind is that you can only count on your team from a technical viewpoint. We were aware of that so we've brought all the necessary spares in the containers.'

The races:
'From Monday to Thursday, we're competing in three races a day and on the last day, Friday, it will be the Medal Race, which is reserved for the top ten. The interior or exterior race zone has been defined in advance by the organisers so now it's over to us'.
Southern Spars - 100InSunSport - NZSchaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr