Groupama off for Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 qualifier

Groupama 4, skippered by Franck Cammas - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race 2011. Groupama 4 is now christened and the crew are taking her out for the official qualifier for the next VOR. The race rules stipulate that those Volvo Open 70s competing in the upcoming edition of the crewed round the world race with stopovers must cover 2,000 miles without stopping before 03 October 2011.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012’s third competitor will set off on her qualifier leaving the dock this Wednesday at 1000 hours. Skipper Franck Cammas and navigator Jean-Luc Nélias have created a qualifier course which suits the needs of the team. 'We're seeking some windy zones so as we can trial all sorts of sails and manoeuvres in variable conditions'.

As such the crew are heading due South to traverse the Bay of Biscay and get past Cape Finistère, before rounding a virtual mark offshore of Lisbon and setting a course towards the North-West and the Azores archipelago and then finally returning to Brittany. 'We should be back again by next Wednesday,' concludes Jean-Luc Nélias.

'We're setting out with the aim of sailing as if we were in race mode, with the same pressure in the maneuvers, the way we trim the boat and the same set-up aboard', explains Franck Cammas.

The crew onboard:

• Franck Cammas
• Thomas Coville
• Damian Foxall
• Jean-Luc Nélias
• Brad Marsh
• Phil Harmer
• Martin Krite
• Martin Strömberg
• Erwan Israël
• Sébastien Marsset
• Yann Riou

'The rules dictate that the qualifier takes place on an ocean in offshore conditions. It's an opportunity for the young crew members to rack up some miles and for the replacement sailors to get a feel for the boat', explains Luc Gellusseau, race rules manager within Groupama sailing team. Bruno Jeanjean, bowman aboard Groupama 3, has joined the crew as an extra to get a seven day taster of the damp delights of the foredeck of a Volvo Open 70.

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