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Groupama 24 : superb finish at Normandy Sailing Week
Situated around thirty miles to the West of the Isle of Wight, the town of Weymouth and host of the Olympic Sailing Games 2012, is currently organising the ISAF Sailing World Cup for the 2015 season. The only French crew taking part in the Nacra 17 series, Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim will be vying with the world's top sailors here with less than a month to go until the World Championships of the series in Denmark.

Whilst two of the French team crews have opted to wind things down a little after a very hectic start to the season, the crew of Groupama is picking up the pace and making the most of every opportunity to further progress with their taming of the Olympic catamaran: "We're making the most of Weymouth to trial the new set-up on our boat. It's important to evolve, as our rivals aren't sitting idle. We saw evidence of that recently at the Eurosaf in Medemblik, where the two top spots went to the Danish crews," comments Franck Cammas.

With some solid training sessions in Lorient and Port la Forêt, which enabled them to continue to up their game in breezy conditions, Franck and Sophie will once again benefit from the boisterous conditions announced in Weymouth to increase their fluidity in downwind conditions: "Over in Medemblik we won one race in strong wind, which would have been unimaginable last year. We're really quick close-hauled and not too bad downwind, but we still need to do better," adds Sophie de Turckheim who, like Franck, has increased her muscle power, responsiveness and weight over the winter thanks to a good muscle development programme.

Renowned for their tactical cunning and their unwavering determination, the two champions from the domains of offshore racing and the Laser Radial are fully behind this Olympic bid: "It's good to get away from the federal context and have your own programme like here in Weymouth. Bertrand Pacé is here to coach us. He has a very good vision of the race, as much tactically as technically. Our debriefings are really rewarding," continues the skipper of Groupama, who despite being the only French entry in the Nacra, will be able to cross tacks with fellow compatriots racing in the Finn, 470, 49er and Laser Radial categories.

Among the thirty-two entries in the Nacra 17 category are the two Danish crews who excelled in Medemblik, as well as three Australians, including Darren Bundock, five Britons, three Italians and finally two New Zealanders, including Gemma Jones. Suffice to say that from Wednesday, the racing will be in full swing through until Saturday as the crews contend with a strong wind to try to bag a place in Sunday's Medal Race, for which the wind is set to drop off significantly.

Photo : Yvan Zedda/Groupama
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