Route du Rhum bravery award: Franck Cammas

Yvan Zedda / Groupama
ORMA 60 veteran turned Volvo skipper Franck Cammas is to singlehand Groupama 3 in the Route du Rhum
The man getting the prize for the largest cajones prior to the start of this year’s Route du Rhum is Franck Cammas. While the Route du Rhum’s new Ultimate class will gather together the likes of Francis Joyon’s IDEC and Thomas Coville’s Sodebo, giant boats but ones designed for singlehanded, Cammas will be on the start line on 31 October alone aboard his 105ft trimaran Groupama, the same boat he sailed around the world earlier this year to a new Jules Verne Trophy record time supported by nine crew. Cammas is known to be one of the most level headed of the French trimaran skippers and this ambitious move, which race pundits are comparing to Eric Tabarly singlehanding his Whitbread maxi Pen Duick VI in the 1976 OSTAR (which he won), seems out of character. “It is exciting for me to have this challenge to race alone with this boat,” says Cammas. “For me it is interesting. It is not the ideal boat for the Route du Rhum, because it is built for a crew and it is a little bit heavier.” Beside this is the Route du Rhum, the key event that put multihull racing on the map in France. “For multihull guys it is important, you have to do it. But it is a good race – not the first three days, but after that,” Cammas says, referring to the cycle of depressions that head east across the north Atlantic in early November, one of which demolished the ORMA 60 fleet eight years ago. In fact Cammas has detuned his mighty green monster especially for the Route du Rhum. Since the Jules Verne Trophy, Groupama 3 has been fitted with a new rig some 4m less than the 40m tall origin, which Cammas says is now the same height