Volvo Ocean Race - Practice makes perfect for Groupama

Groupama - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
In the Volvo Ocean Race, it was a case of practice makes perfect Groupama sailing team skipper Franck Cammas said after his team claimed their second in-port victory and extended their overall lead on Saturday.

The modest skipper said at times he was not the best on a start-line, but following some intense work on downwind starts on Lisbon’s Tagus River on Friday he proved had the race-winning strategy down to a tee.

'We had a great start and if you win the start it’s a little bit easier,’’ he said. 'We did a great job today. Sometimes I’m not very good with the starts so we worked a lot yesterday to practise downwind starts. They’re very tricky, there’s a lot to do in the last 10 seconds.'

Having increased their overall lead over second placed Team Telefónica from three to eight points, Cammas said his team would remain focused on doing exactly what they’ve been doing.

'We have to keep doing things the same,’’ he said. 'This is a good moment for us. It’s above what we expected at the start in Alicante so we’re going to enjoy it. We will try to do the best possible and will just see what happens in the next leg, but for sure we are going to enjoy this moment.'

With just four scoring opportunities remaining, two legs and two in-port races, Cammas said his team was certainly feeling the pressure. Adding to the heat is the Leg 8 race to the team’s homeport in Lorient, France, starting Sunday.

'For sure there will be many fans in Lorient,’’ he said. 'It’s a great country for an offshore sailing race so it will be a good welcome from the country.

'I think any pressure it puts on us is a good pressure. We need to work hard in this next leg – it can be very tough because there will be windy conditions. Sometimes the pressure can push the crew a little bit more, and this little bit more is very important.'

Despite the pressure Cammas said he and his crew remain firm believers that they are capable of maintaining their lead and winning the Volvo Ocean Race. But for now, Cammas said the team would simply take it one day at a time.

'We can win, for sure,' he said. 'We’re still in a position to do that, but it’s important to focus on each leg and each day and not on the overall leaderboard.

'It’s not efficient to do that, you just have to think about each leg as if the Volvo is only one leg. We’ll see in Galway but that’s still very far away.'

Volvo Ocean Race website