Volvo Ocean Race - Outright speed holds the key says Groupama skipper

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, approaching the finish, to claim victory in the Bretagne In-Port Race, in Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
In the Volvo Ocean Race, man of the moment Franck Cammas says that outright speed will hold the key to success in the final offshore leg of the 2011-12 Race which gets underway on Sunday -- and that his Groupama crew will approach the 550-mile stage as a long in-port race.

Groupama are firm favourites for victory in Leg 9 from Lorient to Galway having won Leg 8 and the Bretagne In-Port Race on the team’s home waters of Lorient.

So focused on speed are the French team that they have subbed navigator Jean-Luc Nélias for trimming expert Laurent Pagès.

'I think the last leg is more of a longer inshore than a shorter offshore,' Cammas said.

'The track and the routing is very simple so I think Jean-Luc can give us all his skill before the start, we can prepare the navigation very well, but then I think we need a trimmer so we can be very fast.

'The routing is for now simple, except maybe the final three or four hours, otherwise we just need to be very fast.'

With Leg 9 forecast to take less than 48 hours, a good result for Groupama, currently 25 points ahead of second-placed Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg in the overall rankings, could see them crowned overall winners prior to the Galway In-Port Race.

But the leg will be anything but easy, with rough conditions set to test the fleet right up to the finish line in Galway Bay.

'The problem in offshore racing is anything can happen on the sea, and tomorrow night it will be windy, so we have to be careful with the boat and the structure,' Cammas added.

'But for sure, I prefer to start the leg with a 25-point lead -- there is less pressure.'

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, pull down their spinnaker, during the Bretagne In-Port Race, in Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race)

Groupama Sailing Team competing in the Bretagne In-Port Race, in Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race)

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, approaching the rounding mark, in the Bretagne In-Port Race, in Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race)

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