Franck Cammas talks of salvage and lucky escape

Franck Cammas has been talking of his crew’s lucky escape after Groupama lost a float and capsized 80 miles from New Zealand. Cammas said, “We were very lucky in our misfortune: if it had happened 40 hours earlier, it would have been at 55 degrees South with the water at 3 degrees C! It was the only point in a circumnavigation of the globe, other than Cape Verde, where we could pass within fifty miles of a coast. We were pretty lucky!”

He went on to thank the rescue services: “The New Zealand rescue services, alerted by our distress beacon being set off, were on the scene four hours later — we saw three helicopters, which did a fantastic job airlifting us off,” Cammas said. “Everything was performed in an orderly fashion and at a quick pace since each helicopter was able to take four people. The rescue was pretty tough with six metre waves. The helicopter couldn’t take us whilst we were on the boat so we had to jump into the water to track down the diver as the trimaran was drifting at three knots. Our rescuers were very fast as we were all onboard helicopters within an hour.

“Groupama 3 is salvageable, even though the port float is highly damaged: we’ll need the weather forecast to become milder as there were six to seven metre waves at the time. Conditions will improve and we’ll go to the zone with a diver to free as many of the parts as possible, which are loading down the platform, prior to righting the boat and bringing her back to the coast, which is only 80 miles away. It’s feasible! We’d really like to come back and vie for the Trophy again next winter if possible,” Cammas concluded.

See impressive post-capsize video here