GC32 Racing Tour moves to Spain

Published on July 25th, 2017

Setting sail on the Bay of Palma next week will be 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE, held August 2-5 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Organised by the Real Club Nautico de Palma, the Mediterranean’s most prestigious multi-class regatta is also the third stage of the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour.

As in 2016, ten GC32 flying catamarans will compete at Copa del Rey MAPFRE, but this time, for the first occasion ever on the GC32 Racing Tour, privately backed owner-driver teams will outnumber those with pro-drivers. Perhaps they have been motivated by the success of American Jason Carroll and Team Argo, who won not just the owner-driver trophy but the overall prize at the GC32 Villasimius Cup in Sardinia last month.

Team ARGO returns for Copa del Rey MAPFRE as do their arch-rivals, Pierre Casiraghi on Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco. The event is a favourite for Mamma Aiuto!’s Naofumi Kamei from Japan, having won two years ago on a TP52 and sailing with a largely Spanish crew led by Manuel Weiller. Brand new to the circuit will be Australian Simon Delzoppo’s .film Racing, including 2015 GC32 Racing Tour champion Leigh McMillan (details).

The GC32 Racing Tour is looking forward to the return of French skipper Erik Maris and his Zoulou team, which last raced his GC32 at Key West Race Week in 2015. “Erik really enjoyed the boat and the atmosphere. The class was very small at that time – there were only four boats,” remembers the team’s Thierry Fouchier. Since then Maris has been occupied with his other passion, motor racing and this year competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “He is still passionate about sailing,” continues Fouchier.

Maris comes with a strong multihull background having previously competed in the Extreme Sailing Series and the D35 catamaran circuit on Lake Geneva. He also has a formidable CV in monohulls and was 2003 Swan 45 European Champion and 2005 Mumm 30 World Champion.

Sailing on board with Maris and Fouchier will be other Groupama Team France crew including tactician Thomas Le Breton, Bruno Mourniac from the youth crew and bowman and GC32 veteran, Nicolas Heintz. “We’ll get in some training to get Erik used to helming again, and for us to remember how to use ropes!” quips Fouchier, who was main sheet trimmer for the French America’s Cup team. “The GC32 is a good boat and I think the GC32 Racing Tour is good for owner drivers – it goes to the nice locations and the format is ideal.”

Also competing at Copa del Rey MAPFRE will be Código Rojo Racing Team, skippered by Federico Ferioli. The Argentinean team joined the GC32 Racing Tour this season, but Ferioli has fond memories of Copa del Rey. “I was there last year to watch the GC32s – that’s when I fell in love with the class,” he admits. As to his prospects, he adds: “We are excited, but anxious as well. It is great to do Copa del Rey – it is a big event, a nice place and there should be nice weather.”

Integral to the Argentinean team will be Portugese sailor Renato Conde, who regularly competes with the SAP Extreme Sailing Team. His role will double as coach.

As to the owner-driver majority in Palma next week, Ferioli is looking for to it. “There are more boats and the Australians look like they have an experience crew, so the level will be very high. For us, we have a long way to go. We need more days on the water to polish our manoeuvres and get properly acquainted with the boat.”

Competition in the GC32 Racing Tour at 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE will take place August 2 to 5 on a mix of windward-leewards and America’s Cup-style courses, plus the ANONIMO Speed Challenge, where crews and corporate guests compete to get the fastest timed run.

GC32 Racing Tour teams at 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE
.film Racing (AUS) – Simon Delpozzo*
Team Argo (USA) – Jason Carroll*
ARMIN STROM Sailing Team (SUI) – Flavio Marazzi
Código Rojo Racing Team (ARG) – Federico Ferioli*
Team ENGIE (FRA) – Sebastien Rogues
Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco (MON) – Pierre Casiraghi*
Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) – Naofumi Kamei*
Movistar (ESP) – Iker Martinez
Realteam (SUI) – Jérôme Clerc
Zoulou (FRA) – Erik Maris*
* = owner-driver

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2017 GC32 Racing Tour
May 11-14 – GC32 Riva Cup / Riva del Garda, Italy
June 28-July 1 – GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
August 2-5 – 36 Copa del Rey / Palma de Mallorca, Spain
September 13-16 – GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup / Calvi, Corsica
October 12-15 – Marseille One Design / Marseille, France

About the GC32 Racing Tour:
2017 will be the fifth year of the GC32 Racing Tour and its fourth since the GC32 was transformed into a foiler over the winter of 2013-14. 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.

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: Sailing Intelligence

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