Skunked at GC32 Racing Tour Marseille

Published on October 13th, 2016

Marseille, France (October 13, 2016) – A solid 40 knot easterly with gusts of more than 50, put paid to any thoughts of racing on the opening day of Marseille One Design, the final event on the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour.

The GC32 Racing Tour organisers, along with Sirius Events, organiser of Marseille One Design, made the call to cancel racing last night when it became obvious that gale would be battering France’s second largest city and the Rade Sud course area for the entire day.

“Right now we can see that it was a good decision, because we have 40 knots and gusts of 45 knots, so it is safer not to go racing,” explained GC32 Racing Tour’s principal race officer, Anne Mallédant, as powerful gusts rocked the race committee’s office at Marseille’s Roucas Blanc Marina. According to the forecasts, the easterly gale is set in until tomorrow midday, after which, Mallédant says, there might be a window to get some racing in. “It depends on the position of the centre of the depression – at the moment the weather models disagree about that.”

Typically the GC32s don’t race in winds above 25 knots, although in reality it is more sea state dependent. However, unlike many inshore race boats, the GC32s are more flexible in the conditions in which they can race because their mainsails are fitted with a reef.

Sebastien Rogues, skipper of Team ENGIE, agreed with the decision: “Outside it is 40 knots, sometimes more, and with a GC32 it is much better to stay in port in that! Tomorrow the wind will drop during the day. After lunch it may be perfect.” With racing cancelled, Team ENGIE has spent today training ashore in the gym or with their coaches. “And later, we’re going karting…” says Rogues.


Storm-driven waves crash on to Marseille’s Frioul Islands. Photo: Sander van der Borch / GC32 Racing Tour.

The GC32 Class Association has been using the opportunity of this last event of the season to make plans for the future.

Following Sharon Ferris-Choat’s participation with Flavio Marazzi’s ARMIN STROM Sailing Team on the GC32 Racing Tour and of the all-female crew on Team Thalassa Magenta at last week’s Extreme Sailing Series in Lisbon, so the class has revised its rules governing the make-up of crews.

From next season on GC32 crews will comprise either five male crew or six crew if at least two are female.

Christian Scherrer, Class Manager of the GC32 International Class Association, explains: “We are keen to open up the sport and enable women to compete on equal terms with male crews. It will also allow mixed crews to race the GC32s.”

Sharon Ferris-Choat welcomed the change, especially as maximum combined crew weight will remain at 437.5kg. “It has opened up the GC32 fleet to all sailors, not just the big guys, that is to say: Women, youth and smaller men. On a six person crew, average weight will be 72kg, whereas at the moment it is 85kg. I am proud to be part of the driving force behind this change and provide this opportunity to other sailors.”

Ferris-Choat says that the optimum for 2017 will probably be four men and two women. She hopes the team she runs with Flavio Marazzi may be able to field teams on both the Extreme Sailing Series and the GC32 Racing Tour in 2017.

At the Annual General Meeting for the GC32 Class Association, former Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi was re-elected for another two years as President. Marazzi is being joined on the GC32 Class Association board by Pierre Casiraghi, skipper of Malizia-Yacht Club de Monaco and Harry Spedding, Technical Team Leader of the Extreme Sailing Series.

Teams competing in the GC32 Racing Tour at Marseille One Design
ARGO (USA) skipper Jason Carroll
ARMIN STROM Sailing Team (SUI) skipper Flavio Marazzi
GUNVOR Sailing (SWE) skipper Gustav Petterson
Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco (MON) skipper Pierre Casiraghi
Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) skipper Naofumi Kamei
NORAUTO (FRA) skipper Adam Minoprio (NZL)
Orange Racing (NED) skipper Laurent Lenne (FRA)
Realteam (SUI) skipper Jérôme Clerc
Team ENGIE (FRA) skipper Sébastien Rogues
Team Tilt (SUI) skipper Sébastien Schneiter

2016 GC32 Racing Tour – overall results after four events

2016 GC32 Racing Tour – owner-driver results after four events

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About the GC32 Racing Tour:
2016 is the fourth year of the GC32 Racing Tour and its third since the GC32 was transformed into a foiler over the winter of 2013-4. The GC32 Racing Tour seeks to attract both private owner-driven boats and commercially-backed teams with a circuit aimed at providing the best foiling catamaran experience for participants. This remit includes choosing venues known to provide optimum wind conditions for foiling and race courses large enough to enable the boats to hit maximum speeds.

2016 GC32 Racing Tour schedule
26-29 May: GC32 Riva Cup – Riva del Garda, Italy
7-10 July: GC32 Malcesine Cup at The Foiling Week – Malcesine, Italy
3-6 August: 35 Copa del Rey MAPFRE – Palma de Mallorca, Spain
22-25 September: GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup 2016 – Sotogrande, Spain
13-16 October: Marseille One Design – Marseille, France
Special event: 12-15 May – GC32 Alps Challenge Traunsee match racing – Gmunden, Lake Traunsee, Austria.

Teams for 2016:
ARGO – Jason Carroll (USA)
ARMIN STROM Sailing Team – Flavio Marazzi (SUI)
Gunvor Sailing – Gustav Petterson (SWE)
Malizia – Yacht Club Monaco – Pierre Casiraghi (MON)
Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) – Naofumi Kamei
NORAUTO – Franck Cammas (FRA)
Realteam – Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
Spindrift racing – Yann Guichard (FRA)
Team ENGIE – Sébastien Rogues (FRA)
Team Orange – Laurent Lenne (FRA)
Team Tilt – Sébastien Schneiter (SUI)

About the GC32
The GC32 is a 10m long (12m including bowsprit) by 6m wide foiling catamaran conceived by Laurent Lenne and designed by Dr Martin Fischer, now part of the Groupama Team France design team. It is built in carbon fibre by Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai.

The GC32 is fitted with T-foil rudders and J-shaped daggerboards/foils, conceptually similar to those used on the America’s Cup catamarans, with adjustable rake on all appendages. However relative to the boat’s size, the foils are substantially larger, allowing the GC32 to foil even in low wind speeds and with much great stability and ease. Despite having big foils, GC32s are fast! Alinghi holds the record with a peak speed of 39.21 knots. Unlike the AC catamarans, the GC32 features a more manageable soft-sail rig and has one design sails. It is demountable with a two piece mast for easy transportation.

Source: Event Media

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