Franck Cammas elected Sailor of the Decade
As is the case every year, the Fédération Française de Voile (French Sailing Federation) rewards its champions. However, with 2020 being such a special year, it has had to adapt and come up with an election that differs from the norm somewhat. In this way, on Thursday 17 December, a jury of experts gathered together virtually to designate the French sailor deemed to be the best of his or her generation from 2010 through to 2020. And it is Franck Cammas who has been elected Sailor of the Decade, a rather prestigious award to add to his incredible list of achievements. However, in addition to the numerous victories racked up by the sailor originally from Aix-en-Provence, but expatriated to Brittany midway through the nineties, it is his multidisciplinary career ranging from offshore racing to Olympic sailing, not to mention the America’s Cup, which the jury chaired by Michel Desjoyeaux were keen to recognise through this title.

Highly honoured to receive this distinction, the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild shared his initial impressions with us: “We don’t practice our sport to receive distinctions, but it’s always wonderful when we’re decorated in this way, particularly so this year where the election covers the past decade. Since I started out in sailing, I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in some very varied disciplines: from crewed and singlehanded offshore racing, to small and very big boats, Olympic sailing and the highest level of match racing, with a notable participation in the America’s Cup. I have a voracious appetite for work and sailing and I love constantly developing and discovering new craft. Over the past ten years of my career, there have been some highs, with some very fine victories, as well as some lows, with failures and an accident during training in 2015, which could have had some serious repercussions. From these ten years, I inevitably treasure the tonnes of fantastic memories, but being at the helm of a French boat for the America’s Cup is both rare and exceptional. It was quite frustrating as we didn’t hold all the cards to defend our chances out on the water, but I retain very fond memories of it as it was a very powerful experience. With this distinction, inevitably my thoughts go out to Groupama, who supported me throughout a very large part of my career and to all the people in the team, thanks to whom I had the opportunity to be a part of all these fine challenges. Today, my daily life is being written with the Gitana Team and the whole Edmond de Rothschild Group. Over the past two years, Charles Caudrelier and I have been working flat out on this project. Gitana perfectly embodies everything I’ve learned over the past decade. From technology, to innovation and the very highest level of the sport. Flight has been the major revolution over recent years.  By joining the Gitana Team at the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, I have joined in the pioneering approach of this whole team with regards offshore flight. I’m incredibly lucky and I hope that I’ll be able to enjoy so many fine challenges with the same degree of passion over the next ten years.” 

This year, the president of the Jury for the Sailor of the Decade was a certain Michel Desjoyeaux, an extraordinary sailor who no longer needs an introduction: “I was delighted to learn the news from his lips! Mich has not only been a great inspiration for me, he was also a key figure in the early days of my career in Figaro. He enabled me to fast-track my learning and for me the Pôle d’entraînement training cluster in Port-la-Forêt is indicative of how today’s competitive sailing is able to boast the level of rigour and professionalism we are familiar with today”,  concluded the newly elected Sailor of the Decade. 

However, Franck Cammas won’t have time to rest on his laurels. Together with Charles Caudrelier and the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the sailor is back on stand-by to set sail on another attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy. Indeed, back in mid-November, the five-arrow team had to give up on their first attempt and retrace their steps after three days at sea as a result of damage to the boat’s port rudder and foil. After a few days of repairs in her port of registry in Lorient, the latest Gitana is back up to her full potential once more. As such it’s all systems go again and the weather cell is back together in the quest for the ideal window to attack the round the world sailing record.     

Franck Cammas’ major victories, from 2010 to 2020 

Jules Verne Trophy 2010, with Groupama 3, in a time of 48 days 7 hours 45 minutes
Route du Rhum 2010, with Groupama 3 in the Ultime category
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 with Groupama 4
Tour de France à la Voile 2013 with the M34 Groupama
Sailor of the Year 2012 and 2013
C-Class World Champion  2013 and 2015
Rolex Fastnet Race 2019, with the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
Brest Atlantiques 2019, with the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild     

Not to mention… 
Olympic preparation on the Nacra 17 for the Olympic Games 2016 (not selected) 
Participation in the America’s Cup 2017, skipper Team France   

Jury to elect the Sailor of the Decade
Michel Desjoyeaux, sailor, president of the jury to elect the Sailor of the Decade
Henry Bacchini – Vice-President of the FFVoile
Alain Pichavant – CEO of the Nautic Festival
Lieutenant commander Patrice L'Hour – head of the Naval College’s Manœuvres grouping        Major Henri Duval – Technical Director of Military Sports and President of the International Military Sports Council

Nine journalists
Public votes which counted for two votes (over 16,000 votes this year)

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