First victory for le Cam

Bonduelle wins the 60ft trimaran Grand Prix in Cagliari, Sardinia

Sunday June 24th 2001, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Figaro champion Jean le Cam showed himself as a force to be reckoned with by winning the 9 Telecom ORMA Grand Prix in Cagliari, Sardinia, his first win on the highly competitive 60ft trimaran circuit.

Moderate to light conditions in the three day long Sardinian Grand Prix gave the new 60ft trimarans such as le Cam's Bonduelle a chance to spread their wings. Bonduelle, Fujifilm and Groupama in particular seemed to enjoy these conditions regularly showing pace over the other five tris. However the 60ft trimarans are fully powered up in less than 10 knots of breeze and this was enough to cause stress cracks in the mast of day one winner Loick Peyron's new Fujifilmduring Saturday's racing.

The final day of racing, sailed in a 15 knot south easterly sea breeze, was dominated by Jean-Luc Nelias' Belgacom which won two races as Fujifilm and Franck Cammas' Groupama fought it out for second place. The battle of the green tris was not resolved until a few metres before the finish line of the last race.

Going into the race (race seven of the series) Fujifilm was on 19 points and Groupama on 20 points, requiring Cammas to keep a boat between him and Peyron in order to take second place. Alain Gautier's Foncia-Kingfisher obliged for most of the race until the final leg when Peyron squeezed past only to be caught right at the finish line by Giovanni Soldini's Fila approaching on starboard. Cammas finished third, Soldini fourth and Peyron lost his second place in the Grand Prix.

Le Cam sailed a solid Grand Prix, never actually winning, but never having a bad race. Although he is new to the 9 Telecom Offshore Racing Multihull Association circuit, Le Cam is no stranger to trimarans. In the 1980s he dominated the Formula 40 series aboard his Biscuits Cantreau trimarans and sailed in several transatlantic races in a previous generation of his current 60ft trimaran.

For Alain Gautier and Ellen MacArthur on Foncia-Kingfisher, the Grand Prix was disappointing. Despite a second and a third place on the final day, the boat doesn't appear to relish the light Mediterranean conditions. However they still lead the overall 9 Telecom ORMA championship.

The next race in the series is at Fécamp on 30 August, prior to the Transat Jacques Vabre, two handed transatlantic race in November.

See page two for results...
See more of Gilles Martin-Raget's photographs from the Grand Prix see pages 3 and 4...

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