Franck Cammas has been airlifted to hospital with serious leg wounds after being badly injured

French America’s Cup skipper Franck Cammas has been seriously injured in an accident while training aboard a foiling GC32 catmaran.

According to French newspaper Le Télégramme, he suffered an open fracture at the bottom of the right tibia. [UPDATED 1/12 – confirmed as an open fracture of tibia and fibula but no damage to nerves or ligaments. Operated on the same evening.]

Cammas was at the helm of one of two training boats and sailing in Quiberon Bay, Brittany, today when he fell overboard and was run over by the rudder of the boat while it was foiling at speed, his team reports. His right leg was badly injured.

Cammas was quickly recovered by a support RIB and was taken to shore, where he was airlifted by emergency helicopter to Nantes hospital.

The GC32 is the new boat being used for the Extreme Series and is like a scaled down version of the America’s Cup foiling cats.

But compared to those catamarans, the GC32 has proportionally larger rudder T foils and centreboard J foils, and despite its relatively small size has recorded a top speed of 39.2 knots.

This is the second serious accident this year involving injury by a multihull rudder. In June, a woman had to have one leg amputated and surgery on the other following a collision with the 40m trimaran Spindrift 2. She was aboard one of the marshall boats at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race start from Lorient and was badly injured when Spindrift’s starboard rudder cuts across the RIB.

Cammas, 42, is one of France’s most talented sailors, with wins in disciplines as varied as the single-handed Solitaire du Figaro, ORMA trimarans and the Volvo Ocean Race. He is skipper of the French America’s Cup team Groupama.

 

The GC32 foiling catamaran, capable of high speed foiling upwind and downwind

The GC32 foiling catamaran, capable of high speed foiling upwind and downwind

 

The GC32 has proportionately larger foils than America's Cup catamarans

The GC32 has proportionately larger foils than America’s Cup catamarans

 

Photo Sander van der Bosch

  • Chuckl8

    This injury, as well as the one at the VOR start, are not getting anywhere near the concern they should be getting. Ever since the first AC boats began foiling, the obviously very real danger involved in having large, sharp blades on boats moving at relatively high speeds has been almost ignored. The fact that there are no other comments here yet is evidence of that ignorance.

    My guess is that since sailing, and even ocean racing, is a more or less benign sport when compared to motor racing and other racing that have much more obvious potentially deadly elements, the rules-makers and participants in sailing have not yet wrapped their heads around what should be addressed, and soon; … high-speed blades are dangerous.