Trimaran Groupama capsizes

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The 10-strong crew of the 105-foot French trimaran Groupama had to take refuge in the central hull after a catastrophic failure of the port, outer hull led to a capsize yesterday about 85 miles east of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Skippered by Franck Cammas, they were attempting to break the world record of just over 50 days set by another Frenchman, Bruno Peyron, in 2006 when the outer hull broke in two, the beams attaching it to the central hull snapped, and the whole boat pitchpoled over. All 10 were lifted off by helicopter.

Looking forward to a different kind of round the world race, the Norwegian Knut Frostad was yesterday confirmed as the new chief executive of the Volvo Round the World race, in succession to the Australian Glenn Bourke. Cammas had been between 24 and 36 hours ahead of schedule when, in winds of between 25 and 30 knots and waves of 20 to 25 feet the structure failed. The crew was able to make radio contact with the French emergency services at Cap Gris Nez , who in turn, alerted the New Zealand authorities. A spotter plane followed by two helicopters were sent out and the rescue effected in three hours.

Frostad has been the frontrunner ever since Bourke unexpectedly resigned ahead of the next Volvo round the world race, which starts from Alicante in October. He was followed by race director Andy Hindley, who is leaving to administer the P1 powerboat circuit.

"I am thrilled about the opportunity," he said, adding, "The 2008-09 race is pretty much laid out. My job is to ensure that the race is organised expertly."

He was in the squad for Norway at the 1988 Olympics and had a place in the Flying Dutchman four years later in Barcelona. He sailed round the world races in Intrum Justitia and Innovation Kvaerner before skippering djuice in 2001-02. In the last race he completed some legs on Brasil 1.