Groupama 3 will not contest the Jules Verne Trophy again in 2009 in order to alter floats 17/6/08

On 18 February, whilst sailing with a day’s lead over Orange’s record, Groupama 3 fell victim to serious damage to her port float. In a matter of seconds the maxi trimaran, skippered by Franck Cammas, flipped over.

Five days later, Groupama 3 was righted in the New Zealand port of Dunedin and loaded onto a cargo ship. After five weeks at sea, the trimaran was unloaded in Lorient and delivered to the Multiplast yard where it was built.

The list of work to be undertaken was not short, and architects and engineers have not yet agreed about the precise cause of the damage: “Material fatigue where there’s been an impact with a floating object may be the source of the damage. What we are certain about is that the construction is not in question,” explained team manager Stéphane Guilbaud.

Now Groupama’s owners have come to the decision to delay any attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy until the boat is back to its best: “Groupama 3 must be repaired according to the book in order to continue its campaign in the best possible conditions. To take risks by working quickly would make no sense. It is the safety of our crew that takes precedence. Delaying the attempt for a year to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy is the best decision we can make today,” declared Frédérique Granado”, the group’s communications manager.

Skipper Franck Cammas continued: “maxi trimarans like Groupama 3 are increasingly quick. In big, messy seas like those you face in the Indian Ocean, any impact is incredibly violent. Living aboard sometimes becomes impossible. With the wealth of experience we’ve gained, we have decided to alter the two floats by replacing the honeycomb-carbon sandwich with monolithic carbon. Groupama 3 will be a little heavier whilst continuing to be high performance”.

Team manager Stéphane Guilbaud explained the repercussions of this: “To alter the two floats will extend the duration of the work by nearly two months. Rather than being relaunched at the start of November, Groupama 3 won’t be able to leave the Multiplast yard prior to January. Suffice to say this will be too late to attempt to contest the Jules Verne Trophy again in 2009”.

“Thanks to Groupama, we’re not only going to repair the trimaran but also improve on it,” added Cammas. “The whole team is working on her and she really deserves it as she’s a fabulous boat.”