Radical reform?


Leading French radio journalist Christian Bex (left) interviews ORMA President Gilles Cambournac at Sunday's press conference
 

Leading French radio journalist Christian Bex (left) interviews ORMA President Gilles Cambournac at Sunday's press conference

We speak to ORMA President Gilles Cambournac about the proposed developments to save the 60ft multihull class
Tuesday's look at the trials and tribulations of the ORMA 60 class followed a press conference in Paris on Sunday where the ORMA class and Benjamin Rothschild, owner of the two Gitana trimarans, introduced the new concept for the class along with a new name - the MultiCup. Often French classes are volatile and factionalised so it is a tribute to the individuals involved that they have not only been able to get around a table, but since doing this have found they have much common ground. To give some background to the ORMA class - the end of the 1980s saw the demise of the 'class one' maxi-multihulls, at the time 75ft in length (in the mid-1980s the maximum length had been 85ft) as exemplied by Serge Madec's all-conquering Jet Services V, which went on to become Commodore Explorer, and in the hands of Bruno Peyron became the first boat to gain the Jules Verne Trophy for sailing around the world non-stop in less than 80 days back in 1993. With the demise of the big multihulls due to escalating costs at a time when the French economy was less than buoyant, so the new grand prix multihull class became the 60 footers. This followed the impressive performance in the mid-1980s of two British 60ft trimarans, Tony Bullimore's Nigel Irens-designed Apricot and Mike Whipp's Adrian Thompson-designed Paragon, these two boats the forebears of today's crop of trimarans. To rationalise the class ORMA was created in 1991-2 by Philippe Facque, formerly the skipper of the maxi-catamaran Royale, winner of the Quebec-St Malo in 1984. The Royale brand of cigarettes and its owner SEITA (now part of the giant Franco-Spanish Altadis Group) have been tied to the class by association ever since. Aside from being race organiser, Facque also understood the

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