America's Cup racers may foil downwind, this guy can do it and rescue an MOB by hand
High speed and foiling dramas aren’t confined to San
Francisco. The International C-Class Catamaran Championship has been
producing some hairy moments as well and, yesterday, a remarkable rescue.
The International C-Class is an antecedent of the big
wingmasted America’s Cup cats, and like the AC72s have foils and wingmasts
(indeed the championships have always been known as the Little America’s Cup).
Unsurprisingly, then, they have been attracting some top multihull sailors who
have not found a place at the Cup, including French maestro Franck Cammas.
Yesterday, Cammas produced a demonstration of skills
well beyond the normal scope of inshore racing when he rescued his crewman from
the water and went on to finish 2nd. Picture this:
Cammas, who had won all four races of the regatta, was
reportedly hitting 22 knots in 8 knots true on the final run of race five, when
his crewmember Louis Viat’s trapeze wire broke and Viat fell overboard.
As Viat went over, the trampoline broke and the
mainsheet paid out, wrapping around his leg and towing him behind. He was
injured before the sheet eventually parted.
With his crew and wingsail control sheet gone, Cammas
immediately took stock and grabbed the wing of his boat Groupama C to operate
it and allow him to turn back to rescue Viat.
“I could only play the wing sail by hand, like
a windsurfer,” Cammas explained.
Cammas managed get back to his crewman, pick
him up and the pair continued racing to to finish 2nd out of five
boats, despite having no trapeze wire, wing sheet or intact trampoline.
Beat that for skill and sang froid.