Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bold move gives Groupama early lead in second leg

Franck Cammas: prepared to take a gamble, makes a call
via Inmarsat.
Photo: Yan Riou/Groupama/Volvo Ocean Race
Risk management is the backbone of every Volvo Ocean Race team. 

How innovative to be with the boat design, how hard to push the boat and equipment and how adventurous to be when navigating the leg.

At the beginning of leg one, Groupama’s skipper Franck Cammas took a gamble when they took the unconventional route down the east coast of Africa.

French flair
Unfortunately the gamble did not pay off.

When pressed on the matter during his first dockside interview, he put the navigational gamble down to “French Flair”.

Before leg two, Franck went on record saying he didn’t want to make the same mistake again. 

Big gate
And yet, which boat has taken the first flyer in leg two? Yes, Groupama.

This "French Flair" took the team south, breaking away from the fleet in an effort to get round the low and into the trade winds that would catapult them round the head of the fleet and north again.

“We did have some kind of complex after the first leg - we didn't want to go it alone. When we saw that big gate in the south of the front, we went for it but no one else did.” Cammas explained.

No walkover
“We are coming back step by step,” he added as his Groupama sailing team pressed on.

“We are leading at the moment and it is great. There are lots of smiles on faces when the position report comes in now."

However it will not be a walkover.

Bold decision
Ken Read's Puma is hot on their heels pushing hard to catch them.

Ken, currently steering his boat in third place, said he took his hat off to Cammas for making the bold decision to break from the fleet and go south: “I give the French credit. They took matters into their own hands.

"They stuck to their guns and went for it and it looks like it’s going to pay off for them, at least for now.”

Risky business
Risk is everything in this game.

It looks like the French are happy to up the risk and do something different.

As this race goes on, we will see the stakes getting higher, together with the amount that the teams are willing to risk.

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