Franck Cammas on the Volvo Ocean Race

Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama
The Groupama skipper looks at the race so far and what lies ahead in leg five
Franck Cammas and his crew on the Groupama 4 VO70 did a fine job on leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race to arrive in Auckland in first place, the first French victory in the fully crewed round the world race since Lionel Pean and L’Esprit d’Equipe cleaned up in 1985-6. On this last leg, Groupama edged into the lead on day seven as the fleet emerged into the Pacific on their unusual track east and Puma was banking her ‘buffalo girls’ flier to the north. The French team then doggedly hung on to their advantage, extending to 40 miles ahead within the next 24 hours and doubling this gain over the next 48 hours, the kind of behaviour we have become used to seeing when Cammas has been racing trimarans. “We started the Volvo with a lot to discover and we made some mistakes for sure - after Alicante on the first leg,” admits Cammas. On that leg they chose to split from the fleet taking a route hugging the African coast as the other VO70s benefitted from staying offshore. Fortunately for them, three of their competitors broke and they were still able to claim third place into Cape Town. Groupama nearly pulled off a similar tactical manoeuvre on leg two when, as the fleet was unsuccessfully banging its head against a slow moving trough blocking their way east, the French VO70 charged off to the south, pulled into the lead which they subsequently lost when they were held up in the Doldrums. “Now we are avoiding mistakes more and more and we are doing a better job sailing and I am happy with that," says Cammas. "The outcome for the last two legs – we have sailed not so bad, very well sometimes, compared to the others. For sure the crew