Cammas on top again

Consistency pays yet again for the green and white tri at the Marseilles Grand Prix

Monday July 7th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Franck Cammas (below), once again proved himself the force to be reckoned with in 60ft trimarans, when he won the Marseilles Grand Prix with a string of victories aboard his van Peteghem/Prevost design Groupama. His latest win (following the Challenge Mondial Assistance and the Lorient Grand Prix) came despite damaging his trimaran's boom on Friday, the first day of racing.

On this occasion it was much closer, with four boats capable of winning the Grand Prix going into the final race today - the ninth of the series. While Cammas was ahead at this stage, a - by his standards - disappointing fifth in the last race left him tied on points with Jean-Luc Nélias on Belgacom, but beating the light blue tri on the tally of wins. Ultimately only four points separated the top four, with Michel Desjoyeaux's Géant and Karine Fauconnier, winner of the last Grand Prix in Cagliari, on board Sergio Tacchini also with wins to their credit..

In today's first race, held in a 10-15 knot westerly, Jean le Cam's Bonduelle was recalled. Cammas got off a flying start, while Nelias picked the wrong side of the first beat. Groupama rounded the weather mark first and on the run it was only Fauconnier who was able to offer her any serious competition, while Géant, Belgacom, Sodebo slogged it out for third.

Cammas went on to win the second race today in similar style, finishing on this occasion 35 seconds ahead of Desjoyeaux's Géant.

The final race became the most tactical, skippers chosing opponents to influence their positions in the final results. This time it was Karine Fauconnier who took control, sailing with a crew that included Damian Foxall, Sharon Ferris and Italian America's Cup and Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race sailor Stephano Rizzi.

Swiss sailor Steve Ravussin on Banque Covefi (the former Fujicolor) prior to the start of the Grand Prix had announced a new sponsor with whom he will be carrying out an extensive refit and modification to Alain Gautier's old Foncia for November's Transat Jacques Vabre. At the start Ravussin alone left the line on port tack and was soon left behind those who had chosen the opposite side of the course.

As the race panned out, Cammas was taking a knocking, his overall lead in the Grand Prix in jeopardy - locked out at the first mark behind Sodebo and subsequently overhauled by Desjoyeaux and Fred le Peutrec on Bayer. During the race both Philippe Monnet's Sopra Group and Lalou Roucayrol on Banque Populaire retired, the latter with a broken headboard, while Sodebo broke one of her top battens. Thomas Coville's red tri has been sailing under reduced sail since they destroyed their big genniker on Friday.

The next racing for the 60ft trimarans is the Fecamps Grand Prix on 29-31 August.

Prior to this regatta much modification is going to be made to Gitana X which to date has been putting in a decidedly lacklustre performance. Back at Multiplast where she was built, a major weight saving regime will be put into effect by for example removing the beams that extend aft from her aft crossbeam where she is supposed to be able to sheet large gennikers and the pivoting system for the daggerboard is to be revised. A lifting rudder is to be fitted to her central hull, like the latest van Peteghem/Prevost designs, and the angle of incident of her foils is to be revised.

Marseilles Grand Prix results
1 Franck Cammas (Groupama) 10+5+1+5+1+2+1+1+5 = 31 points
2 Jean-Luc Nélias (Belgacom) 1+6+4+3+5+3+3+3+3 = 31 points
3 Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 2+10+6+1+2+1+4+2+4 = 32 points
4 Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) 4+4+8+2+4+5+2+5+1 = 35 points
5 Thomas Coville (Sodebo) 7+3+2+8+7+4+5+6+2 = 44 points
6 Frédéric Le Peutrec (Bayer CropScience) 3+1+3+6+12+7+7+7+6 = 52 points
7 Lalou Roucayrol (Banque Populaire) 12+2+5+4+3+6+6+8+13 = 59 points
8 Giovanni Soldini (TIM) 5+7+7+7+9+12+10+9+9 = 75 points
9 Stève Ravussin (Banque Covefi) 9+12+10+10+6+10+9+4+8 = 78 points
10 Jean Le Cam (Bonduelle) 6+9+9+9+8+8+11+11+10 = 81 points
11 Philippe Monnet (Sopra Group) 8+8+13+12+11+9+8+10+13 = 92 points
12 Lionel Lemonchois (Gitana) 11+11+13+11+10+11+12+12+7 = 98 points

ORMA 2003 Championship standings
1 Franck Cammas (Groupama) 0+0+2+0 = 2 points
2 Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 2+12+4+3 = 21 points
3 Lalou Roucayrol (Banque Populaire) 4+6+5+7 = 22 points
4 Thomas Coville (Sodebo) 5+15+3+5 = 28 points
5 Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) 13+18+0+4 = 35 points
6 Stève Ravussin (Banque Covefi) 9+21+6+9 = 45 points
7 Jean-Luc Nélias (Belgacom) 3+39+11+2 = 55 points
8 Lionel Lemonchois (Gitana) 11+39+8+12 = 70 points
9 Alain Gautier (Foncia) 7+39+11+14 = 71 points
10 Frédéric Le Peutrec (Bayer CropScience) 13+42+11+6 = 72 points
10 Jean Maurel (Bayer CropScience) 8+39+11+14 = 72 points
12 Laurent Bourgnon (Sopra Group) 10+39+11+14 = 74 points
13 Philippe Monnet (Sopra Group) 13+42+9+11 = 75 points

More of Gilles Martin-Raget's photos on the following pages...

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