Zoulou perfect at GC32 Racing Tour Marseille

Published on October 14th, 2017

Marseille, France (October 14, 2017) – Erik Maris’ Zoulou scored a perfect scoreline on day three of Marseille One Design, the final event of the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour. In a similar display to that of Franck Cammas’ NORAUTO here last year, the French team has pulled out a significant lead of 11 points going into the final day of racing tomorrow.

The wind today went from ‘marginal foiling’ to ultra-light, although still sail-able and fair, forcing the crews on the seven GC32s to dig out their playbooks for these conditions. Perhaps the most impressive display of the day came on the windiest part – the last run of the first race.

In this, the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour’s overall leader Realteam, skippered by Jérôme Clerc, led Sébastien Rogues’ Team ENGIE at the last top mark rounding. Holding third, Zoulou split to the opposite side of the last run where she found her own private breeze, enough to get her up on foils and soar past her French-speaking rivals to take the bullet.

“We got a little bit lucky on that one,” admitted Zoulou’s Swiss helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis. “We were able to catch up big time.”

In the two following races, it was easier for Zoulou. She led at the top mark and simply extended from there.

After three races the wind dropped off a fraction more and Principal Race Officer Stuart Childerley called time, sending everyone back to the Marina Olympique du Roucas Blanc, recently chosen as the sailing venue for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Of their light air sailing technique, Psarofaghis explained: “The team is sailing really well and the boat is going fast, so it was easier for us. We started in a good spot and we could sail VMG without any trouble. The crew made good manoeuvres and some strong tactical calls and no one was pushing us to make mistakes. We could sail our own race.” But as to the special light wind techniques they employ, he added: “There are many things you can do differently in these conditions, but they are secret!”

Behind the flying French, Realteam and Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! from Japan were the best scoring boats today, both posting a 2, 3, 4. However in final race it was the turn of Australian newcomer Simon Delzoppo and his .film Racing to claim second.

“You have to focus on the breeze,” said Delzoppo. “It is even harder when you get up towards the front to maintain there, because there are guys breathing down you neck all the time.” He put their second place in the final race down to a good start and then…hanging on. “We just sailed smoothly and just tried to hold our position and cover a bit. Everyone was right on our tail at the end, so it wasn’t easy.”

His crew, which includes 2015 GC32 Racing Tour champion Leigh McMillan on tactics, has done a reasonable amount of practice in lighter conditions. He added: “On a day like today, it is important to get off the line well – it is hard to make up ground unless you can get some good wind shifts.”

Meanwhile the other local French hero, Sébastien Rogues on Team ENGIE has his work cut out if he is to achieve his objective of a podium finish on the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour. He has not only to beat Mamma Aiuto!, currently six points ahead of him on the Marseille One Design leaderboard, but must have put two boats between Team ENGIE and the Japanese.

But today for Rogues it was about dealing with the light conditions. “Today, 80% of the racing was about getting a good start. Otherwise it was a great day just with 4-5 knots of wind. I was happy to be on the sea and happy to race with my team.”

Racing for the final day tomorrow is also looking light and the intention is to move the first warning signal forward to 1200 CET.

Racing is planned for from October 12 to 15.

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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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