On the shores of Lake Geneva, Franck Cammas and Louis Viat have led their catamaran Groupama C to victory in the Little Cup 2015, thus securing a historic double to complement the title they took in 2013 in England.
Taking the win with a score of 2 points to 0 against the Swiss team of Axon in the final after dominating the qualifying rounds, the crew of Groupama has reaped the benefits of the extraordinary work of its Lorient-based design team, which is now setting its sights on the 35th America's Cup.
The odds-on favourites since the start of the week, Franck Cammas and Louis Viat have certainly lived up to the spectators' expectations: "It's one thing to be favourites and quite another to secure a win. Louis Viat and I have really enjoyed racing together even though it's a tough race zone to apprehend". Despite the light airs that dominated proceedings throughout the week, the foiling catamaran only let victory in one of the eight races go to her rivals: "The boat is extraordinary. In the slightest puff of breeze, she accelerates away and rises up on her foils," continues the skipper of Groupama. Designed by Franck Cammas and Groupama sailing team's design office in 2012, just after taking victory in the Volvo Ocean Race, nobody is impervious to Groupama C's charm: "We've had a lot of visits over the past week. Some of them are announced beforehand, others are more discreet like that of Andy Claughton, chief technology officer in the English BAR team for the 35th America's Cup," explains one of the members of the French team.
"Groupama C is very well-designed and the technology developed here is clearly akin to that used on the boats in the Cup. The work carried out by our team will contribute a great deal to the design of the future Groupama Team France. Indeed, this is what drove us to get involved in the Little Cup back in 2012 with Groupama's help".
Often one step ahead, and not just on the water, Franck Cammas is one happy skipper: "It's always great to win. Thank you to all the team who have participated in this project. The work hasn't been for nothing and this result testifies to that. We'll now address the America's Cup more directly. What we've learned here will be particularly beneficial given that the days spent sailing the AC45 are limited by the rules governing the Cup".
Groupama C, which in all likelihood has the best speed to power ratio in the world, will be dismantled on Sunday and repatriated to Lorient, the French team's port of registry.
It now remains to be seen where and when the 28th Little Cup will be contested. However things pan out, one thing is clear: the organisation offered by the Swiss Hydros team and their partner Lombard Odier, managed by Frenchmen Jérémie Lagarigue and Denis Horeau, has also been of a very high standard.
Another point worth noting is the fine performance posted by the finalists Benoît Marie and Benoît Morelle who, despite an Archimedean boat with a design dating back to the last century, managed to take advantage of the very light conditions that reigned on Lake Geneva to qualify for the final.
As for Franck Cammas, the moment the competition is over, he'll hop on over to his base in Lorient, then La Rochelle, before heading over to Barcelona to join his crew, Sophie de Turckheim, to prepare for the European Nacra 17 Championships.