A week on from the Sailing World Cup in Miami, some of the top crews preparing for the Olympic Games in the Nacra 17 have been participating in the North American Championship in Clearwater, Florida. Aboard Groupama, Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim took the competition by storm, outpacing Spaniards Iker Martinez – Marina Lopez and French duo Moana Vaireaux – Manon Audinet. An interesting victory with a year to go until the World Championships of the series, on the same race zone.
Eighth and tied on points with Vaireaux and Audinet in Miami, Franck and Sophie were keen to shine in Clearwater for the North American Championship, which gathered together three Olympic series: Nacra 17, 49er Men and 49er FX Women: “Since our arrival in the USA a month ago, we’ve competed in 38 races. That’s exactly what we need, because in racing configuration, you’re under more pressure than in training. That’s where you give your all,” explains the skipper of Groupama.
“Even though there were fewer of us than in Miami, the level was very high. Together with Iker Martinez and Moana Vaireaux, we really hung on in there. The weather conditions were very varied, both in terms of the wind and the sea. Sophie and I are really happy with how we performed. We’re in an upward phase,” Franck Cammas continues.
This second victory (following on from the Semaine Olympique Française in La Rochelle in October 2014) since their early days in the Nacra 17 series has bolstered their decision to race: “We’re learning lots and making progress too. Aside from the Extreme 40s, I don’t know another circuit where we get off to so many starts with some excellent racers around us. This past winter, Sophie and I have put on seven kilos so as not to be so specifically geared towards light airs and be more versatile. It’s a lot more pleasant racing in these conditions, though we still have some work to do in breezy downwind conditions to ensure we’re in a position to attack. The rest of the time we’re on the pace,” adds the skipper of Groupam
Never satisfied and still determined to be selected for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, Franck and Sophie are returning to France for a month before heading back to Spain to prepare for the Princess Sophia Cup in Palma followed by the second leg of the Sailing World Cup in Hyères.
On the programme between these Olympic races: putting on a few more kilos, sailing in Lorient aboard Groupama C to prepare to defend the Little America’s Cup title this coming September in Geneva and also sailing the Diam 24, so as to find their footing on the one-design trimaran that they will sail in the next Tour de France à la Voile.
Suffice to say that they’re certainly not lacking work in Groupama sailing team.
North American Championship: Overall ranking
1. Franck Cammas/Sophie de Turckheim
2. Iker Martinez/Tara Pacheco
3. Moana Vaireaux/Manon Audinet