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America's Cup - French skipper suffers serious injury from foil strike

by Richard Gladwell, on 1 Dec 2015
Franck Cammas - Groupama C - pictured after winning the 27th Little America's Cup in September Yvan Zedda / Groupama
French America's Cup skipper, Franck Cammas has been badly injured after falling overboard from the teams training boat, and hitting his right leg on one of the foils.

Reports in various French media state that his right foot was partially severed at the right ankle, after his leg struck one of the foiling catamarans rudder foils.

The incident took place at 2.00pm, local time, on the bay of Quiberon, while sailing one of the team's training catamarans, a one design GC32.

Cammas was taken ashore in a safety boat and then airlifted by helicopter to hospital where he reported to have been operated on at 6.00pm.

The GC32 is widely sailed in Europe and the first of the 32ft foiing catamarans recently arrived in New Zealand.

They are just under the allowed maximum sailing length for a surrogate boat under the America's Cup Protocol, and are a good option for the teams to train in outside the surrogate AC45's, which Groupama Team France currently do not own.

Cammas is the skipper and iconic leader of the French sailing team. In addition to the America's Cup Challenge, he is currently campaigning a Nacra 17 catamaran for the 2016 Olympics, and recently became the first sailor to round Cape Horn in a foiling catamaran.

He has had a long standing relationship with Groupama, a large insurance and financial services company, and under their sponsorship won the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race in Groupama. Cammas (42) is one of then most experienced multihull sailors in the world.

The issue of crews falling overboard and striking rudder foils was discussed during the 34th America's Cup, sailed in AC72's, and the rules were changed to prohibit the rudder appendages extending beyond the maximum beam of the AC72, to try an minimize crew injury. On the occasions that AC72 crew did get washed overboard there were no rudder strike injuries, however that was more due to good luck rather than good management.

There has been no announcement from Groupama Team France as to their future plans for the Challenge. However they are expected to continue with a substitute skipper in the absence of Franck Cammas, who is expected to be on shore duties from some time.

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