Switzerland’s Bernard Stamm and France’s Jean Le Cam have hardly stopped over the past few months, busily putting their new project into place: to take part in the third edition of the Barcelona World Race. Logics and circumstances have brought them together and now these long time rivals join forces forming an incredibly experienced tandem.
The Cheminées Poujoulat team formed by Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam has been through quite bustling days. Following two busy refit months in Brest, during which the rigging, the ballast configuration and the keel have been modified, the boat is finally back on the water. Last Tuesday the boat left the shipyard on a semi-trailer, the keel was fitted yesterday and the boat was launched today in the commercial port of the French city.
Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm is no stranger to the highs and lows of solo and short handed ocean racing. In 2012 he was devastated not to be given a finish to the Vendée Globe solo round the world race after he was inadvertently given outside assistance while making repairs in the south of New Zealand. After finishing fourth in the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre his IMOCA 60 was lost at Christmas last year when he was on delivery back from Brazil, reporting later that ‘I swam for my life’ during an incredible rescue. He and Jeff Cuzon were rescued to the Azores from Cheminées Poujoulat during the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre.
Bernard Stamm, Jean Le Cam and Philippe Legros left Brest last Tuesday and stopped over for about thirty hours in Corunna to avoid strong gales off the coast of Portugal. They arrived in Barcelona shortly before 8.30pm on Wednesday.
Early December each and every year, Paris welcomes the nautical world to the Paris Boat Show, Le Salon Nautic. On Friday, opening day, the main stage welcomed the Barcelona World Race and distinguished guests, the race organisers and the crew of Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamma and Jean Le Cam.
He is regarded as a regular fixture on solo races and had done his share of two-handed Transats and crewed racing, but sailing two handed around the world is something almost new for the very experienced French sailor Jean Le Cam. “I did this Barcelona World Race in 2011 with Bruno Garcia but we dismasted after just 10 days, so for me that scarcely counts as useful experience”. Le Cam maintained last week when he was in Paris for the famous boat show there, Le Salon Nautic.
As the Barcelona World Race fleet near the Capo de Gata and the final 150-mile approach to Gibraltar there has been no change in the overall placings this afternoon. Hugo Boss continue to lead the fleet, around 3.5 miles north-west and a nose ahead of Cheminées Poujoulat, with the Swiss-French team showing the fastest boat speed of the fleet (11.2 knots).