ICCCC: As One Cup Ends, Another Begins

Published on September 19th, 2013

As the 34th America’s Cup winds down in San Francisco, the ‘Little America’s Cup’ gets ready to begin in Falmouth, UK. Willy Clark reports…

The board is set and the pieces are moving.

Welcome to Restronguet Sailing Club, home of the 2013 International C-Class Catamaran Championship (September 22-28). It has been three years since the (25-foot) C-Class last got together, and way longer than that since this many were in the same place at the same time. There are 10 boats set up on the lawn at the moment, nine of which have already gotten their feet wet.

The closest the C-Class has ever come to this level of participation was seven entries at the 2010 ICCCC in Newport, RI. However, of those seven programs, a number were not really ready to compete at a high level. That is not the case this go around.

You have to go back to the early days of the Class, when nations were still holding trials to determine who challenged for the Little America’s Cup, to get a time when this many teams were competing in C-Cat, the world’s most technically advanced racing catamaran.

Going through the tents, you come first to Switzerland’s team Hydros. The Swiss have been in Falmouth for over a month training with their big black machines and sailing team of Jeremy Lagarrigue, Billy Besson, Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij. Up the hill you will find Challenge France, the French team out of Quiberon headed by Benjamin Muyl and wielding Patient Lady VI.

Next you arrive at Fred Eaton’s team Canada, with new build Fill Your Hands helmed by Eaton with crew Magnus Clarke, and 2010 champion Canaan piloted by Billy Gooderham with Christian Pavey on the wing. They are sharing a tent with Steve Clark’s Cogito Project, who have both Aethon and Cogito on site and ready to go. Clark and Oliver Moore will be on board Aethon, while ’96 and ’04 winner Cogito with a new wing is in the hands of Lars Guck and Max Kramers.

Moving further along the line and you come to Alpha, the 2007 champion sold to Groupama last October, and now in the hands of the Spanish program headed by John Downey and Sito Aviles. Then there is Groupama itself with their green foiler and All-Star squad of Franck Cammas and Louis Viat. This does not include England’s own Team Invictus, who are feverishly working to get their wing finished for day one. Portugal’s Team Cascais, headed by Tony Castro, is also on the entry list with their new build Wild Horse; however, they are not yet on site.

Measurement is already underway, and all the teams with the exception of Invictus have gotten in the water despite unfavorable conditions throughout most of warm-up week. The Swiss have been sailing out of Falmouth since July. The Americans and both French squads took advantage of brief weather window Wednesday evening. And the Canadians have been out twice…

The event officially kicks off on Sunday with the first warning signal set for 11:00 AM. There are nine fleet races scheduled between Sunday and Tuesday. Wednesday is a scheduled layday, then the top two finishers from fleet racing match race for the Championship while the rest fleet race in the Petit Finals. There are as many designs and different modes of thought as there are competitors. Who is favored? Unknown, but everyone looks fast.

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