GROUPAMA Team France skipper Franck Cammas has admitted Portsmouth’s America’s Cup World Series event has come too early for his side to challenge for victory.
And the 42-year-old is ‘not happy’ with his team’s lack of preparation as they take to the Solent tomorrow to fight for qualifcation points in the quest to face off against ‘Defender’ Team Oracle USA in 2017’s Bermuda finale.
With Land Rover BAR enjoying home advantage under Sir Ben Ainslie’s tuition and Emirates New Zealand keen to avenge an agonisingly loss in 2013, competition promises to be fierce among a stellar fleet of six AC45 catamarans.
But a lack of training appears to have ended the French outfit’s realistic chances of race glory in Portsmouth.
Cammas said: ‘I am not happy.
‘We didn’t have enough time to prepare because we started the schedule very late for this America’s Cup.
‘We have not had enough training as a crew. But we will train today and then tomorrow and Sunday we will learn a lot competitively in this course.
‘It’s just a first step and I think we will be better in the next months.’
Cammas, a former Volvo Ocean Race winner, insists the pressure is now off as his Groupama side concentrate on the long-term picture.
He said: ‘I cannot tell you we can win this race because we are not really prepared for that.
‘We will try to do our best – we have no pressure. We have to learn and the goal is to be ready in two years and have the best chance to perform.
‘But for now, we don’t have the best chance because to beat these good teams we have to work and work for a long time.
‘It is normal we cannot win here because otherwise there will be a big problem with the others.’
The Portsmouth course, though, was able to raise a smile from the likeable Frenchman, who admits everything is in place for a memorable weekend of racing.
Cammas said: ‘There is sea, there is wind and there are spectators on the beach, so it is good for races!
‘There are many good competitiors out there so it is a good fight.
‘Yesterday the conditions were quite easy and fun.
‘But I think this weekend it is more stressful for everybody, which is what counts for the final result.
‘It is good to start the circuit here in England, there is very good organisation.’