sail-world.com -- International C-Class Catamaran Championship - Groupama is unbeatable
International C-Class Catamaran Championship - Groupama is unbeatable
Wed, 25 Sep 2013
At the 2013 International C-Class Catamaran Championship, variable winds from zero to 15 knots shook up the Little Cup fleet on Tuesday. While the leaderboard didn’t change significantly today, noteworthy was Mischa Heemskerk and Bastian Tentij’s performance in Race five; the Dutch crew of Hydros II were the first to prove that Franck Cammas and his Groupama C isn’t unbeatable.
'It’s hard to describe how great it feels to go from the lows of yesterday to the highs of today,' said Heemskerk, who suffered a partially destroyed wing during Monday’s high-wind action. 'I was literally crying on the boat yesterday, sure that we could never repair the wing in time to continue, certainly not in one night.' Heemskerk’s shore team, along with the support crew from Billy Besson’s Hydros I team, worked through sunrise to rebuild every rib and the entire leading edge of the wing’s second element; a job normally taking about a month.
Hydros II surged ahead of their teammates in all three races on Tuesday, though they remain in fourth position thanks to two DNF scores after their capsize on Monday. 'We’re very slippery through the water, and we continue to make changes to the boat to increase her speed and all-around ability,' explained Heemskerk.
Second place Hydros I couldn’t manage better than a third place in any of Tuesday’s races; crew and team principal Jeremie Lagarrigue nursing the boat around the course with a broken upper twist limiter and a jury-rigged port foil control system. 'We did the best we could to repair our problems on the water, but we suffered quite a bit from these small problems,' he said. With three races scheduled for Wednesday and the two finalists chosen at day’s end, Lagarrigue has a real battle on his hands against teammates Heemskerk and Tentij. 'We are all here to try to get into the final, and whichever boat earns that berth, the team will put 100% of their effort into ensuring the boat is as fast as possible,' said Lagarrigue.
For a few moments on Tuesday it seemed first place might be in jeopardy for Franck Cammas despite his winning every race up until that point in the regatta. On the final run of Race five, with Cammas hitting over 22 knots of speed in just eight knots of wind, crew Louis Viat’s trapeze wire snapped, ejecting him from the boat. The wing sheet tangled around Viat’s lower leg, towing him through the water at breakneck speed. Fortunately for the crew, the sheet snapped after a few seconds, leaving Cammas alone aboard a damaged boat.'I could only play the wing sail by hand, like a windsurfer,' said Cammas. The round-the-world master collected his crew and sailed to a second place in the race without a trapeze wire, mainsheet, or intact trampoline. Groupama C bounced back to yet another win – their fifth in six races – to close out the day, while Viat suffered a painful injury to his leg; he is expected to race on Wednesday. Howden spoke to Cammas after racing.
Two time Little Cup Champion Fred Eaton continued to struggle with Fill Your Hands’ foil control system, explaining that his team just hadn’t had the time to develop it properly. 'We realized about a month ago that we were going to be behind the French and Swiss foilers, and we’re sitting in third place, about where we expected,' said Eaton. 'For an amateur sailor like me to have Franck Cammas, Billy Besson, and Mischa Heemskerk going after me on the line is still a pretty amazing thing!' Eaton’s crew Magnus Clarke spoke to reporter Alan Block yesterday.
Damage continues to plague the fleet, with high humidity and low temperatures making carbon fiber repairs difficult and unpredictable; Steve Clark’s Aethon looked perfect after a late night of repair to her wing, but before the first race of the day was complete the wing had failed. Clark’s second boat, sailed by American multihull standout Lars Guck, had a stronger day. Guck spoke to our media team.
The biggest surprise comes perhaps from the Patient Lady VI – Fifth place in this fleet is quite an accomplishment for a 28-year old racing boat that weighs in 200 pounds heavier than her competition.
The final day of qualification racing begins Wednesday at 1100 GMT. Only the top two boats will advance for the right to battle for the Little Cup; the remaining competitors start from zero again in their fleet competition for the final podium position.
Results after six races (one discard): 1 – Cammas/Viat, Groupama C, 5 points 2 – Besson/Lagarrigue, Hydros I, 12 points 3 – Eaton/Clarke, Fill Your Hands, 18 points 4 – Heemskerk/Tentij, Hydros II, 20 points 5 – Bontemps/Gahinet, Patient Lady VI, 27 points
Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Ratings: PY, Entries: 11, Scoring system: Appendix A