Raising the benchmark: Groupama C

Yvan Zedda / Groupama
We look at Franck Cammas' Little America's Cup winner
At last week’s Little America’s Cup, Franck Cammas and his team demonstrated that they had raised the benchmark considerably with their all-conquering catamaran, Groupama C. Wholescale advancement of this kind is likely to become run of the mill if the America’s Cup continues in winged foiling catamarans, as it seems it will. One can easily imagine Cup teams using the 25ft long wing-powered foiling cats for their small scale wing and foil development instead of the SL33s, that the Kiwis and Luna Rossa used for this last Cup, or the AC45s, that Artemis and Oracle Team USA worked on. With the team freshly returned from having won the Volvo Ocean Race, work on Groupama C got underway in the summer of 2012 with Cammas forming a design team including Martin Fischer, Guillaume Verdier and Benjamin Muyl (both Verdier and Muyl were also part of Emirates Team New Zealand’s design team), plus engineer Denis Glehen and sailmaker Gautier Sergent. They worked in conjunction with Groupama’s in-house design team of Loïc Dorez, Marine Villard, Olivier Mainguy, Pierre Tissier, Edouard Touchard, Stéphane Chatel and Italian trainee Stefano Cacciola. In developing their new boat, the Groupama team not only acquired Steve Killing-designed Alpha, Canadian Fred Eaton’s 2007 LAC winner and 2010 runner-up in the hands of Jimmy Spithill and Glenn Ashby, but also created a foiling Phantom F18 (another design by Martin Fischer). These were used as test beds for foil and wing development prior to the team launching their new C-Class this summer. The platform for Groupama C was constructed in TPT (like the Hydros boats) by Multiplast in Vannes, while the wing was built in-house using regular composites. Saying this, judging from how little the Groupama C wing sagged when being carted in and out of the team’s tent last week, it was presumably