December 01, 2015

PARIS (AP) America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas of Groupama Team underwent successful surgery after sustaining a double shinbone fracture in a training accident.

Cammas will be sidelined for several weeks before starting rehabilitation in January, the team said on Tuesday.

The 42-year-old Frenchman was injured when he fell off his high performance catamaran and the rudder sliced into his right ankle.

The accident happened Monday when he and his team were training on two foiling GC32 catamarans at the National Sailing School in Quiberon Bay. Cammas was thrown overboard while the catamaran was going full speed in 17 knots of wind.

Cammas was rushed to shore and then flown by a medical helicopter to a hospital in Nantes, where he had surgery on Monday evening.

''Thanks to all of you. These messages touch my heart and give me even more courage to come back as soon as possible,'' Cammas said on the team's website.

Cammas was traveling at 25 knots (31 miles per hour), and his foot was reportedly partially severed after the accident.

Following the operation, doctors told Cammas that he would not lose the use of his right foot, and that the arteries and nerves had not been impacted.

His team is hopeful he can resume competing at some point next year, although only after ''a long period of rehabilitation''- appearing to rule him out of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

''Words aren't easy to find in times of crisis,'' Groupama Team France manager Bruno Dubois said. ''We'll keep focusing on our common goals. Of course I hope to see Franck back at the helm as soon as possible.''

The GC32s are the new boat for the Extreme Sailing Series. The boats are smaller than the 45-foot catamarans used in the America's Cup World Series, which are regattas leading up to the 2017 America's Cup, which will be sailed in 48-foot catamarans.

When foiling catamarans reach a certain speed, they rise up on the rudders and daggerboards, with the hulls completely out of the water to increase speed.

Cammas is one of the world's leading multihull sailors.

On Nov. 21, Cammas became the first sailor to round Cape Horn on a foiling catamaran. He did it on a Nacra F20 Carbon FCS, accompanied by novice sailor Johannes Wiebel of Germany.

Groupama Team France is a new team this America's Cup cycle. It finished a distant last place in the six-boat fleet after the first three America's Cup World Series regattas.

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