Photos: Didier Ravon

Minoprio to stand in for Cammas

Kiwi match racer to take the helm of Groupama Team France AC45F at the America's Cup World Series Oman

Wednesday February 17th 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: Oman

Following an injury that caused his foot to be nearly severed while his was out training, Franck Cammas has announced he will not be sailing on board the Groupama Team France AC45 F for the America's Cup World Series event in Muscat, Oman, that will take place over 27-28 February. 

Cammas is still undergoing rehabilitation following an open fracture of the tibia-fibula in November. Standing in for him will be Kiwi former match racing world champion and round the world sailor Adam Minoprio, previously one of Luna Rossa's AC45 Turbo helmsmen.

Also on board will be wing trimmer Thierry Fouchier - the only Frenchman to have won the America’s Cup. Thomas Le Breton is previously France’s Olympic representative in the Finn and will be calling tactics, while the experienced Hervé Cunningham will trim headsails and Devan Le Bihan will nominally be bowman.

Franck Cammas will be in Oman as an observer. He provides his assessment of the crew: 

Adam Minoprio (New Zealand). Aged 30. World Match Racing Champion (2009), second in the Volvo Ocean Race on Camper (2011-2012):
“I got to know him in the Volvo Ocean Race. He’s a ‘Kiwi’ who is somewhat different from other ‘Kiwis’. He has already done a lot of work with overseas teams and was recommended to us by Martin Fischer from the Design Team. He’s done a lot of sailing on the AC 45 Turbo and although he’s never competed on an AC 45, he’s the perfect helmsman to stand in for me, to help me progress and to step up my game.”

Thierry Fouchier (France). Aged 50. Winner of the World Match Racing Tour (2001). 4 participations in the America’s Cup, including victory on BMW Oracle (2010): “He was already part of my team on Groupama 1 and 2 so we know each other well. He is synonymous with both maturity and calmness aboard the boat. At the same time, he’s someone who is very precise. He brings with him his vast experience of the Cup, which we didn’t have, and he always stays very calm, even in panic situations. He’s essential.”

Hervé Cunningham (France). Aged 43. A multihull specialist and an inshore racing expert in ORMA, MOD 70, D35, Extreme Sailing Series…
“I’ve raced just once with him (an Extreme 40 event), as he was often on competing projects. He has a massive amount of experience on numerous craft, including the America’s Cup, and he can’t be ignored in France. He’s a true professional, who is a valuable asset on a boat and is always where he needs to be when it’s time to help out during manœuvres.”

Thomas Le Breton (France). Aged 34. Three Olympic preparations. Number three in the world on a Finn (2011). Sailor aboard Oman Sail’s MOD 70: “He’s only recently joined us. He has all the necessary qualities and he has the perfect profile for what we need on these boats. Not only does he have an impressive physique, he’s a very precise tactician and someone who is very calm and serene aboard, who doesn’t say much but always has wise words.”

Devan Le Bihan (France). Aged 32. Winner of the Tour de France à la Voile, Extreme Sailing Series, AC45 Series Groupama Team France in the 2015 season: “He is a little younger so he doesn’t have the same experience as the others, but he has been working for around ten years in the domain to achieve a standard of excellence. He has a background in match racing, he’s an all-rounder and he trains very hard physically, with a very professional approach. Added to that, he’s strong!”

Arnaud Jarlegan (France). Aged 39. Two Olympic Tornado preparations (with Billy Besson), World and European champion in F 18:
“He has vast experience of sports catamarans and brings his sensitivity to small boats, which is key on an AC45. He is very tall, has better than average movement around a boat and he has very good reflex actions, particularly on this type of boat.”

Olivier Herledant (France). Aged 36. World number two in match racing: “He has a striking profile, as he’s a big guy and has a good mind. He’s done a lot of very high level sailing for a long while, match racing with Mathieu Richard and calling tactics. He isn’t especially familiar with the multihull, but he learns very quickly and is both precise and calm.”

Matthieu Vandame (France). Aged 33. World F18 champion, winner of the Tour de France à la Voile: “We’ve often rubbed shoulders on the Nacra 17 circuit and we’ve raced F18 together. He hasn’t yet racked up experience on big boats as he’s young, but he has an impressive physique, a good personality, motivation and the perfect attitude for this type of project.”

Nicolas Heintz (France). Aged 32. European match racing champion. GC32 specialist: “He’s only recently joined us. He’s the man I’m least familiar with. He’s been sailing the GC32 with overseas sailors for a long while. He’s someone who is very serious about physical training and he’s a very precious asset in terms of boat preparation. Not only is he the most powerful member of the team, he also has big potential.”

In addition to the sailing crew, Cammas also part of the team are Bertrand Pacé as coach, Neil Maclean-Martin, physical trainer, as well as other French and overseas specialists. Pacé and Maclean-Martin are currently training up the ten strong squad, alternating between sessions on the water on the Baie de Quiberon and time in the weights room.

Bertrand Pacé: “Though the various talents are combined within Groupama Team France, the individual personalities must serve the group as a whole. It is this group cohesion that has been the main focus of our work over the winter with what is a replenished team. We’ll see if all our hard work pays off in Oman.”

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