Cammas on the mend

Groupama Team France skipper undergoes successful surgery but cans Nacra 17 campaign

Tuesday December 1st 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama Team France severely injured his right left when he fell off his 32ft foiling catamaran while out training on 30th November.

The two-boat training session was one of five days of preparation for the French team for the 35th America's Cup. It was like another other starting with a gym session in Thalasso Quiberon, breakfast, a video debriefing with coach Bertrand Pacé and then sailing.

Out on the Bay of Quiberon, sailing out of the the Ecole Nationale de Voile at Port Haliguen, the weather conditions were ideal with westerly wind of 17-18 knots and flat seas, protected by the Quiberon Peninsula. At the helms of the GC32 catamarans were Franck Cammas and New Zealander Adam Minoprio who were locked in some match racing.

In the last training race of the day, Cammas entered the starting box on port and manoeuvred his boat alongside his sparring partner. It was at this moment that the accident occurred, when the catamaran had risen up on its foils at a speed up to 25 knots - Cammas lost his nbalanced and fell overboard damaging his right leg on the weather T-foil rudder in his descent.

Immediately, one of the crew seized the helm to prevent a capsize as coach Bertrand Pacé, who oversees training aboard a RIB, rushed to Cammas' aid and pulled him out of the water as gently as possible. Pacé calling the emergency services and at low speed motored into Port Haliguen nearby.

12 minutes after his arrival, a doctor arrived and 30 minutes later, Cammas is transferred to hospital in Nantes by helicopter to receive of the best trauma care. In hospital he was operated on for several hours late in the afternoon. He was subsequently told by the doctors that he will not lose the use of his foot - the arteries, nerves and tendons have been repaired.

On Tuesday morning in hospital, Cammas was awake and keen to continue the training on the water in Lorient and to visit the Salon Nautique in Paris He has also been grateful to receive all the messages of encouragement. "Thank you all, - these messages go straight to my heart and give me even more will to return quickly."

Following the operation to repair a double fracture to his tibia, carried out by the orthopedic surgery department of the Hotel Dieu in Nantes, Cammas will not be back on the water until a long period of rehabilitation is complete in 2016.

While Groupama Team France will forge on between Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson sadly the incident means the end of his Nacra 17 campaign for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with Cammas' teammate Sophie de Turckheim.

Just a few days earlier Cammas had rounded Cape Horn in a Nacra F20 foiling catamaran as part of the Julbo Sail Session, accompanied by a novice sailor -Johannes Wiebel (GER).


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