18 knots upwind - 27 downwind

James Boyd describes racing on Franck Cammas' new Groupama trimaran at the ORMA Grand Prix in Fecamp
From time to time one gets a ride on a race boat that enables top bragging rights. For me Sunday was just such an occasion when I was fortunate enough to sail on Franck Cammas' brand new, state of the art 60ft trimaran Groupama, not for a half baked press trip around the bay in 2 knots of breeze but to taste 60ft trimaran sailing in anger in 20 knots of wind on board for the penultimate race of this weekend's Fecamp Grand Prix. Getting a ride in a race on one of the top 60ft trimarans is a rare privilege - the next 'special guest' to sail on board the new Groupama after thedailysail is supposed to be Russell Coutts. While the Open 60 and Mini circuits in France are becoming increasingly international the 60ft trimaran circuit remains much more of a closed shop with precious few foreigners taking part. 11 boats were racing in Fecamp with 10 crew on each but among these the only non-French or Franco-Swiss sailors were to be found on Thomas Coville's Sodebo: former djuice bowman Jonas Wackenhuth, American Steve Calder plus semi-French sailors Stefan Fodor and Jochen Krauth. One reason for this, a Sergio Tacchini crewman explained to me as we celebrated their victory in Fecamp's only nightclub sometime later, is due to language. In the high octane environment of sailing boats this fast and complex round the cans with a relative large crew, commands must be understood and carried out within a split second. There is no time for translation. This was all too apparent from what I experienced. First things first. Before one can sail on a race boat in France one needs a licence. I figured my chances of getting out on Groupama were scuppered when I turned up in