Final training days on Groupama 70

But Franck Cammas' Volvo Ocean Race team are taking to other boats

Tuesday March 1st 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Since 15 February, Groupama Sailing Team has been back at their base in Lorient, France following their training in the Canaries and a subsequent break.

The sailing team has until 15 March to carry out sail trials aboard their training boat and test platform Groupama 70, the former Ericsson 4.

Damian Foxall reports: “We have less than 20 days to get in some training on Groupama 70. Over the past month, we’ve had to be opportunistic and snap up every opportunity to go sailing and get best use of the weather conditions which present themselves.”

Franck Cammas has some well defined objectives for the last sail trials on Groupama 70 prior to the launch of the team's new Juan K-designed Groupama 4, scheduled for early May: “We’re going to make the most of the remaining days to continue to test the sails, the boat’s performance and the trimming configurations. This will also be an opportunity to train up the crew offshore in some tougher conditions.” There are a number of depressions during this season, bringing regular rainy spells and steady winds of over 35 knots to Brittany and its sailors. These are an opportunity for Cammas to push his crew and their boat to their limits.

Training isn’t limited to sailing Groupama 70. To work on the crew’s tactics and cohesion, some are also training on some smaller craft. Franck Cammas and three of his crew have competed in match racing events in La Rochelle and Quiberon over recent weekends, winning all their races.

From 21 to 25 April, aboard an M34 Franck Cammas and Groupama Sailing Team will compete in Spi Ouest France in La Trinité-sur-Mer. There is also the possibility of the team competing in this year's Tour de France a la Voile.

Meanwhile Groupama 4 is nearing completion at the Multiplast yard in Vannes. Around 30 people, are currently working on the hull and deck structure at the yard in Vannes.

“It’s the final sprint," says Pierre Tissier, project manager of the VO70's construction. "As such we’ve chosen to return to Lorient to train so the sailing team can come together with the boat building team and the research department. The sailors also have to lend a hand in the assembly of the onboard systems so as to be capable, after having built Groupama 4, to repair them if the need arises.”

See video of the crew training in Lanzarote here

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