Returning to the ‘Polynesia of the Med’

Published on September 6th, 2018

For a second consecutive year, the GC32 Racing Tour will visit the southeastern tip of Sardinia with racing on September 12 to 16 in Villasimius. For Italian sailing fans this is a significant location as, since last year, the Italian Luna Rossa team has challenged for the 36th America’s Cup and is currently developing its latest generation of flying boats just 45km away in Cagliari.

NORAUTO powered by Team France, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas, claimed the first two events of the GC32 Racing Tour but saw America’s Cup challenger INEOS Team UK take the most recent win in Palma. However, that event saw the British team helmed by Leigh McMillan, with skipper Sir Ben Ainslie reclaiming the role in Italy.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the circuit,” said Ainslie. “The (second) event in Lagos was the first event for me and for the team and it was good to podium. Then Leigh and the guys did really well in Palma. Now we have to take what we learned there into the next event.”

Aside from the return of Ainslie, the team also has Luke Parkinson, fresh from finishing the Volvo Ocean Race on Team Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag, standing in for Giles Scott, the reigning Olympic Finn gold medallist.

Returning to defend their GC32 Villasimius Cup title is Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA), present leader in the GC32 Racing Tour’s Owner-Driver championship.

“Villasimius is beautiful and is exactly what we want for sailing,” comments Argo mainsheet trimmer Anthony Kotoun. “Not much traffic, good wind, some waves to make it a little exciting, but not too exciting. It offers a big range of conditions from the two courses – the open water, big place and around the point, where it was more flat water and shifty, which makes it fun.”

Last year’s event remains the only one the US team has won on the GC32 Racing Tour to date. “That was the first regatta where we were finally firing on all cylinders – from starting, to boat speed, boat handling and tactics,” continued Kotoun. Last year’s GC32 Villasimius Cup was the first time the port, that locals describe as the ‘Polynesia of the Mediterranean’, had hosted a major international yacht race.

Other teams competing will be Realteam, skippered by Jérôme Clerc, winner of the GC32 Racing Tour in 2017. From France is owner-driver Erik Maris and Zoulou, usually the team to watch in the ANONIMO Speed Challenge – where teams attempt to record the fastest average time on two reaching legs with a gybe in between.

From New Zealand is Simon Hull and his Frank Racing team, new to the GC32 Racing Tour in 2018 and still dining out from winning the Owner-Driver competition in Lagos. South America is represented by Argentinean Federico Ferioli’s Código Rojo Racing, which continues to make solid improvements.

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2018 GC32 Racing Tour schedule
23-27 May: GC32 World Championship / Riva del Garda, Italy
27 June-1 July: GC32 Lagos Cup / Lagos, Portugal
31 July – 4 August: 37 Copa del Rey MAPFRE/ Palma de Mallorca, Spain
12-16 September: GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
10-14 October: GC32 TPM Med Cup / Toulon, France

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, has one design sails and no hydraulics. It is demountable with a two piece mast for easy transportation.

Source: Event Media

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