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Franck Cammas and his crew ready for the opening of Riva Cup season

by Norauto Press on 23 May 2016
Norauto ready for take-off on the GC32 Racing Tour - 2016 Riva Cup Eloi Stichelbaut / Norauto
Official partner of the French team for the America's Cup since last February and for the last five years, the brand now joins Franck Cammas and his sailors in the GC32 events. Flying Catamarans, the fastest and most demanding boats in the world, come together with the world's best skippers to compete in beautiful locations in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.

In these countries, where the brand is already very strongly established, the crew of the GC32 Norauto aims to build on its five months of training carried out on two boats in Brittany, near the team’s home port of Lorient.

Following on from a 'pre-event' on Lake Traunsee in Austria, when Norauto finished well ahead with the New Zealander, Adam Minoprio, at the helm, it is now Franck Cammas’ turn to lead the GC32, this time at the foot of the Alps in Italy, on the magnificent Lake Garda. The event takes place this week, from 26th to 29th May, in Riva Del Garda.

Known and recognised by European motorists, Norauto is a new player in international sailing. The brand got involved in sponsorship in early 2016. Despite being a newcomer, it already has wins and podium places in the preliminary regattas of the America's Cup AC45* and in GC32. The company is the leader in vehicle maintenance, with more than 600 auto centres in nine different countries. 'This sponsorship programme is a first for Norauto,' states Thibaut Derville, Managing Director of Auto 5, the Belgian subsidiary of Norauto.

Why choose sailing?
He is responsible for the brand partnership, and explains: 'You may associate us more with cars than with sailing and we do want this new association to be surprising! For a brand to develop and grow, we need to make regular new shifts. It is a tremendous asset to have a strong brand. We are joining other big, major players in the the motor industry who are already involved in sailing. The purpose of Norauto is to carry out vehicle maintenance and facilitate mobility for all, but there is also a strong link between the values of Norauto and those of high level sailing competitions, both in technological innovation and in the strong dependence on teamwork.'

And today, innovative sailing means flying boats. Halfway between boats and gliders, multihulls take off several feet above the water and move at extremely high speeds. They push sailors to their absolute limits.

Flying, racing, progressing: the GC32, the perfect support

'The GC32 is a great boat, with very similar performance levels to the AC45. It is light, quick and reactive, with very stable foils that allow the boat to push forwards confidently. The set-up on board also looks like the AC45 , because the levels of speed and acceleration are very similar. So, the GC32 is very important in our training for the America's Cup,' explains Franck Cammas.

After his foot was seriously injured during a training exercise at the end of 2015, the skipper has now rejoined the competition barely five months later. During his convalescence, which, he says, taught him ‘patience’, his team continued sailing. 'We had two complete permanent crews with Adam Minoprio at the helm, as well as Pierre Pennec - who replaced me when necessary - and I took over again in March. It was very effective. We practiced speed racing, but also departures, and maneouvres like transition phases. Everything happens fast on board and you need very strong communications skills. It was clear to me in New York (in the AC45 on seventh and 8th May) that each team member has made good progress individually and collectively, so everything is running smoothly'

In the Lake Garda event, the skipper will be surrounded by the same crew that will accompany him 10 days later to the AC45 event in Chicago; the continuity helps keep up the level of concentration. 'On Lake Garda, there are strong thermal winds at around 20 knots, sometimes more. On flat water, it’s ideal conditions for these boats and all in a great setting - it’s perfect! Also, there will be a high quality of competition in the GC32 circuit, with experienced teams like Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) and newcomers, such as, for example, the Swiss team, Tilt, who have been focused on other things for a long time, but this year, will be supported by members of Team New Zealand,' he says, before concluding: 'If we take part in the GC32 Racing Tour, we’re aiming to win, and we will give it everything we have.'

*catamaran with a fixed wing, used in the preliminary events of the America's Cup.

Franck Cammas, skipper of the GC32 Norauto
Born December 22nd, 1972 in Aix-en-Provence
Lives in Lorient (Brittany, France)
Elected Sailor of the Year in France in 2012 and 2013
Podium place in the America's Cup World Series New York, May 2016, AC45 Team Groupama France
Two time world champion in Class C 'Little America's Cup' 2013 and 2015
Winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012
Winner of the Route du Rhum solo in 2010 and the Jules Verne Trophy on the Groupama 3 maxi-trimaran (30 metres)
Six multihull records between 2007 and 2010
Six titles World Champion in ORMA (Trimaran Open 60 ')
Triple winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre

Team for the Riva Cup:
Thierry Fouchier: Mainsail trimmer
Thomas Le Breton: Tactician
Hervé Cunningham: Headsail trimmer
Devan Le Bihan: bowman
Matthieu Vandame: substitute
Bertrand Pacé: coach
Olivier Manguy + Alois Fayot: shore team

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