For years, the Kiwis and their collective sailing expertise have been synonymous with success in the America’s Cup. But a group of Gallic sailing icons is looking to change all that during the next Cup cycle with an outfit they’ve dubbed Team France.
“France boasts maritime talent, technological experience and a collective desire,” says team co-founder Franck Cammas, who won the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Groupama. “The example set by Team New Zealand is a good reference for outlining our aims and this challenge. I believe that we can create a similar, lasting group.”
Joining Cammas in spearheading the effort are solo-sailing icon Michel Desjoyeaux, winner of two Vendée Globes, and past Jules Verne Trophy holder Olivier de Kersauson, both of whom will focus on the technological side of the campaign.
According to Desjoyeaux: “I don’t want to be aboard, because there are more competent sailors than me for that, but working on the technical aspect has massive appeal for me. When Franck came to see me, I joined up immediately.”
As for Cammas, in addition to winning one of the gutsiest Volvos in recent memory, he also won the “Little America’s Cup” in September aboard a full-foiling wing-sail C-Class catamaran that looked surprisingly like a miniature version of the AC72 that won the real thing.
Clearly, the French are about a heck of a lot more these days than just shorthanded marathon events.
Photos courtesy of Team France (top);
courtesy of Yvan Zedda/Groupama