Cammas closer to triumph
Franck Cammas, welcomed into his home port of Lorient by hordes of ecstatic French sailing fans, moved a big step closer to only France’s second overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race with a commanding leg 8 victory.
The win, after overcoming treacherous north Atlantic conditions on the 1,940-nautical mile stage from Lisbon to Lorient in Brittany, leaves Cammas on the verge of following Lionel Pean as France’s only winner (1985) of the 39-year offshore sailing classic.
France is one of sailing’s leading nations with a big following for the sport but they have not entered a crew in the Volvo since 1993-94 and Cammas was considered an outsider at the start of the race in Alicante, Spain in October last year after making much of his reputation as a solo sailor.
But he has melded his international crew into a formidable, winning formula and after a slow start they have gradually moved to the top of the leaderboard after overtaking long-time leaders Telefonica, of Spain, last month.
Friday’s win in Lorient leaves them 23 points clear of Puma following the US boat’s third place on the eighth stage.
Camper, who were runners-up to Groupama, lie five points further adrift from Ken Read’s Puma.
Cammas insisted that the overall triumph was not yet in the bag with 30 points available to the winner of the final stage from Lorient to Galway at the beginning of July.
“It’s a very good feeling for sure, it’s a dream we had 10 months ago and we realised this dream now by winning in Lorient,” said Cammas.
“It’s not finished, we still have one leg to do and it is important to do this leg very well.”