French great Cammas impressed by Ainslie in Oman

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 28, 2016 4:26 AM

By Tessa Walsh

LONDON (Reuters) - French sailing great Franck Cammas is impressed with Sir Ben Ainslie's team Land Rover BAR after the British Olympic gold medalist moved up to second place after the first day's racing in the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in Oman on Saturday.

Cammas is assessing the tactics and strategy of the fleet of high-tech foiling AC45F twin-hulled catamarans competing in Muscat as he looks to regain his role as skipper on Groupama Team France, only three months after an accident that nearly severed his foot.

"The British guys have been steady at the front. It's impressive as they started at the back after a penalty and finished third and then won twice after," he told Reuters.

Former Jules Verne Trophy holder Cammas is recovering quickly with titanium screws and plates in his ankle which was shattered in December when he fell off the back of the boat and his leg hit Groupama's rudder.

"My recovery is in advance of schedule which is good, but they would like more calm and quiet," Cammas, who has spent the last decade and a half building an impressive list of race wins and record times, added.

Cammas is, however, keen to get back on board Groupama, which is being skippered by Kiwi Adam Minoprio for the ACWS.

The boat will stay in Oman for another week after the competition, as the team use the light wind conditions to see if Cammas can withstand the intense physical demands that the high-tech boats put on sailors.

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"If I start in light winds, there's less risk, it's good to be back on the boat. If we go in a straight line, it's probably OK, but I can't jump and run from one hull to the other, I have to walk slowly for now," Cammas said.

Cammas has been working hard on Groupama's team management and yacht design in Lorient, Brittany, in the interim, as the team readies its larger catamarans for the main America's Cup event in Bermuda in 2017.

(Editing by John O'Brien)