The Groupama Team France sailors are training relentlessly for the 2017 America’s Cup; the crew spend their life on the water – or just above it, masterfully “foiling”.
The team, who are sponsored by Noraut, race the GC32 foiling catamaran and are currently leading the GC32 Racing Tour, following three event wins out of the four stages held so far.
Franck Cammas will helm at the season finale which will be held in Marseille from 13th to 16th October. Match-racer Adam Minoprio and his French team-mates have been invited to race from Thursday to Sunday in Lisbon on another GC32 circuit, Act 7 of the well established Extreme Sailing Series™. The team will need to prove that they are able to adapt when they race on the Tagus River, underneath the Belem Tower. They will face a very high level of competition on stadium-like short and tight courses close to the shore.
‘It is really great to be one of the two teams to have been invited to race on this Extreme Sailing Series™ event and to line up against the other GC32 fleet. It is going to be on their course, on their terms and going to be quite difficult for us, but I am really looking forward to taking up the challenge of racing the top teams on the other circuit,” confides Adam Minoprio.
Stadium racing – an exercise in style!
The New Zealander first raced on the Extreme’s in 2015 as a crew member on GAC Pindar. “It was a big eye opener for me to see the style of racing they do on such short courses so close to land; you are never on one tack for more than 10/15 seconds,” explains Minoprio “On the GC32 Racing Tour you have a long race track to get back into the race, can do good manoeuvres and pass other boats, but here on the Extreme Sailing Series™, it is all about the start and fighting with the other boats. It is very different but you learn a lot.”
Who are the main rivals?
“In sailing, as is the case in other sports, there are not many who reach the top level in their discipline. They know each other and meet often,” explains Adam “There are definitely two teams who have risen to the top this year on the Extreme Sailing Series™. There is Oman Air, skippered by Morgan Larsson who has a lot of experience (helmed Alinghi last year) and Alinghi, with the very talented Arnaud Psarofaghis who we have sailed against a few times this year on the GC32 Racing tour where he sailed with Team Tilt.
The river Tagus, a magical setting
‘I have sailed into Lisbon twice on the Volvo Ocean Race. It is a great place, I think the venue is going to be awesome, the river is massive there and the sea breeze comes in like clockwork. As long as it is normal conditions with the sea breeze coming in, then I think it is going to be fantastic.
The recently crowned Youth 49er World Champion on board Norauto!
At just 21 years old, Thibault Julien is the pure product of a Team France youth programme. The young sailor from Saint-Nazaire in France, raced on board Groupama on The Tour de France this summer and then successfully went through selection in Toulon on the GC32. He is one of the qualified finalists to go through to the Youth America’s Cup in 2017 in Bermuda. At the same time Thibaut went on to become World 49er Youth Champion last month. The ESS rules mean that there must be either a ‘non professional sailor’ or crew member under 26 years of age. Thibault Julien is therefore the happy chosen one on board Norauto.
Two Portuguese Football players on board with Norauto
With over twenty sites around Portgual, this event is important for Norauto. Dozens of members of staff from the various car centres will come to support their sailors. Norauto has also invited two well-known International Portuguese Football players from Benfica Lisbon football club to come and see what it is like to be a team member in a different sport. Defenders, Bruno Basto – who has played for the Girondins in Bordeaux – and Paulo Madeira – who has played in 24 international matches for Portugal, will visit the competition on Friday.
by Norauto Press