Francisco Seco/AP/Press Association Images
VIDEO: Groupama take Volvo Ocean Race in Galway
The French boat, with Kerryman Damian Foxall on board, ended the eight month race with victory in the west.

FRANCK CAMMAS BECAME the second Frenchman to win the Volvo Ocean Race in its 39-year history in the early hours of this morning when his Groupama boat completed the eight-month marathon.

Second place for Cammas in the ninth and final stage was enough to stretch his overall lead to an unassailable 24 points with only the final point-scoring event of the race, the Galway in-port, to contest on Saturday.

Cammas looked an unlikely winner when the nine-month, 39,270-nautical mile event, the world’s longest top-level professional sporting competition, began in October.

He was immediately hampered when a failed navigational gamble left him trailing early pacesetters Telefonica.

But the French crew, their country’s first representatives in the race since 1993-94, clawed back the early deficit and victory in the eighth stage followed by a win in the Lorient in-port race on Saturday all but ensured their eventual triumph.

Cammas follows Lionel Pean, who won on L’Esprit d’Equipe, as France’s second overall victor.

“This is an incredible moment for me,” said the 39-year-old Cammas, who grew up watching an event that was originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

“It was always my dream just to participate in this race. The first book I ever read was about the Whitbread. We will party all together tonight.”

Victory for Spanish/New Zealand team Camper in the final leg secured second spot overall for them, ahead of US team PUMA.

YouTube credit: volvooceanracevideos

- © AFP, 2012

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