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French Team to Arrive Late to the Dance

Published on December 14th, 2016

There are six teams competing for the America’s Cup, and most experts will say there are five that arguably can win the prize. Who is the sixth team? When on the record, courtesy prevails, but even Inspector Jacques Clouseau knows it’s his countrymen.

Groupama Team France struggled in the America’s Cup World Series, and they are now appearing to be the last team that will begin training in Bermuda. While most teams will be launching their 2017 America’s Cup Class (ACC) boats in Bermuda by January, the French have other plans.

Their 2016 training program ends in France on December 18, after which Team Manager Bruno Dubois explains how their 45-foot training catamaran will be transformed into an ACC boat.

“Our training catamaran, which was launched last July, is made up of 90% of the elements that will be used in the ACC boat that will compete in Bermuda this coming May. However, we’re going to bond onto it some hulls that are 1.5 metres longer and add some slightly more advanced systems.”

This work will be carried out by Groupama Team France’s shore crew, who will work with the Multiplast yard in Vannes, France from December 26 through to mid-January when the boat will be transported to Bermuda.

“The first part of the team will set off at the end of January to assemble our base, and the other half, including the sailors, will head off in mid-February,” explained skipper Franck Cammas. “At that point, we’ll work reassembling the boat (in Bermuda) and carry out trials. The ACC boat will go for her first test sail in the first week of March and then, from that stage, the team will train relentlessly right through until the first race on May 26.”

When the French begin training, they might be up to two months behind the other teams. However, on the plus side for the French, their adversaries will invariably lose training days when Bermuda’s winter weather delivers excessive winds.

For now, the French will put together a series of training sessions for the sailors on the waters off Quiberon, France on board two GC32s, plus they are facing an intensive week of mountaineering.

When racing starts on May 26, they will learn quickly their status. Their first qualifying match is against defender Oracle Team USA.

Source: America’s Cup, Scuttlebutt

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