Franck Cammas, the skipper of the winning boat in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, will sail Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong with Dongfeng Race Team.
The Chinese-flagged team announced Cammas, who recently skippered the French America’s Cup team in Bermuda, would stand in for the injured Pascal Bidegorry.
Cammas, aged 45 from Lorient in Brittany, will sail as navigator on board Dongfeng alongside skipper Charles Caudrelier, one of his closest friends in professional sailing and a former crew member on Groupama, the winning boat in the 2011-12 campaign.
“Franck is joining the crew because of Pascal’s injury, which is not good news for us because Pascal has been a key element of the team since the beginning,” said Caudrelier. “Franck was available and he was ready as a back-up – we had already spoken about his wish to participate if he could help.
“It is not easy to replace your navigator with someone you haven’t sailed with. Franck for me is the guy I have sailed with the most; it means we have so much experience together like I have with Pascal. So he was the first choice for sure and he was available and really motivated to come.”
Cammas scrambled at 12 hours notice to get to Melbourne from his home in France and will arrive tomorrow afternoon local time as Dongfeng Race Team prepares for the start of Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong on Tuesday.
“I am very motivated to do a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and it is obviously with Dongfeng that I feel most at ease, culturally and in terms of the people on board,” he said.
“Being a crew member, instead of a skipper, is not the most natural situation for me but the team's performance comes first and we are in line with Charles on that,” Cammas added. “Charles is a friend, we have our story together which allows us to communicate well with each other.”
Neil Maclean-Martin the Dongfeng Race Team human performance manager, said Bidegorry’s injury will take time to heal. “Pascal sustained an injury to the joint between one of his ribs and the sternum when a wave hit the cockpit and he fell against the supporting bar of the wheel,” he said.
“As with all rib injuries, this is painful and restricting. Frustratingly there are only a few things we can do for treatment to support the natural healing process.”
Bidegorry sustained the injury eight days before the finish of the heavy weather leg from Cape Town and it was immediately obvious to him that he could not sail again until it is healed. “Franck is a good choice for Charles,” he said. “They have known each other for years and they have great experience together in the Volvo Ocean Race. After an exhausting Leg 3, I have no doubt that the energy of Franck will be a real benefit to the team.”
Dongfeng Race Team currently lies second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon in third place and then both Leg 2, from Lisbon to Cape Town, and Leg 3, from Cape Town to Melbourne in second place.