Victory for Groupama 2

A report from the ORMA 60 match race around the Trophee SNSM course

Wednesday June 25th 2008, Author: Groupama, Location: United Kingdom
While it may have lacked in boat numbers, the quality was very much in evidence in the ORMA 60s racing for the Trophy SNSM where two past winners in the ORMA 60 trimaran class, Banque Populaire and Groupama 2 match raced their way around the course. With top crew on board both boats, skippers Franck Cammas and Pascal Bidégorry spent 50 hours on the race course and enjoyed every minute of it. However Banque Populaire skipper Pascal Bidegorry, winner of the 2007 race, didn’t manage to defend his title and Cammas and his crew on Groupama 2 beat them home into Saint Nazaire after 560 miles of sailing by just six minutes..

For Cammas the victory came in the latter stages having trailed his blue rival by 14 miles at the halfway stage. “We made some mistakes, but we never gave up," commented Cammas. "Up against a high class adversary in the form of Banque Populaire, we really had to fight, especially after getting stuck for three hours at Ushant on the way up to St Malo. I am proud of my crew. We didn’t sleep much and didn’t eat much, but we won and that’s why we came here”.

His face reddened by the sun, sailmaker Jean-Baptiste Levaillant added: “It’s a really fine course. Not only were we able to admire the Breton coastline, but we also appreciated the highly technical and very tactical nature of the course. In the end it was very open too as, despite the slight errors we made, we managed to get back with Banque Pop”.

Navigator Stève Ravussin commented: “Even for a specialist from Lake Geneva (!), the light airs weren’t easy to handle as there’s considerable current here. At Ushant, we weren’t making any more headway. After battling for two hours, we ended up in the same spot. That's very rare on a multihull."

He added “During the return trip back to Saint Nazaire, Franck took control of the navigation”, suggesting the skipper was better... Cammas explains: “ Banque Populaire was ahead but we knew he was going to stall ahead of us with the current on the nose. This enabled us to close on them and then attack”.

At Ushant on the way back Groupama 2 managed to catch up with Banque Populaire before overtaking them in virtually no wind in the Mer d’Iroise off Brest. From then on the pace picked up quickly as the breeze built to around 15 knots, enabling the two trimarans to sail at between 20 and 30 knots to the finish.

Side by side under gennakers, the two crews were able fully to power up their 60ft trimaran, their central hulls just touchig the surface of the water, perfectly balanced.

1. Groupama 2 - 2 days 1 hour 58 minutes and 14 seconds
2. Banque Populaire 3 - 6 minutes and 25 seconds behind the winner

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