Grand Finale of GC32 Racing Tour 2018
Published on September 19th, 2018
(September 19, 2018) – Next month’s GC32 TPM Med Cup will be the fifth event and grand finale of the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour. Supported by Toulon Provence Mediterranee and the city of Toulon (France), racing for the foiling catamarans will be held October 11-14 on the Rade de Toulon.
Given the right wind conditions, crews and spectators will be able to experience the thrill of one of the world’s fastest classes of gravity-defying sailing boats, capable of top speeds approaching 40 knots (74km/h).
Fully foiling catamarans are not new to France’s third biggest Mediterranean port and capital of the Var department. In September 2016, Toulon hosted the French stop of the America’s Cup World Series, sailed in flying AC45 catamarans.
In fact, two America’s Cup skippers from that event will be returning to compete with their GC32 teams in October: Sir Ben Ainslie at the helm of INEOS Team UK and Franck Cammas, racing NORAUTO powered by Team France, 2016 winner of the GC32 Racing Tour and its present leader.
While he has lived for more than 20 years in Brittany, Cammas – the Route du Rhum winner, Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Solitaire du Figaro winner and multiple ORMA 60 trimaran champion – is Provencal. He was born and spent his childhood in Aix-en-Provence.
Having enjoyed racing his flying America’s Cup catamaran in Toulon two years ago, Cammas is looking forward to returning next month. As to the conditions likely for the GC32 TPM Med Cup, he says: “You can get anything. When there is the Mistral, it is strong, especially outside, but should be flat water.
“Otherwise, it is a light easterly with the sea breeze from south-southwest. Toulon bay is very big, so you can also sail inside the bay. Even outside it is protected.”
Being the only French stopover of the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour, which so far this year has visited top sailing venues in Italy, Spain and Portugal, Cammas’ sponsor NORAUTO will be using Toulon as the prime opportunity to entertain its corporate guests, both at the GC32 TPM Med Cup base at Mourillon and out on the water.
Toulon Provence Mediterranee will also be supporting a youth team at the GC32 TPM Med Cup. This will be led by three time French Youth Match Racing Champion and SB20 World Champion, Robin Follin, who skippered the Team France Jeune entry to fifth place in the last year’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda.
For Toulon, his crew will comprise other sailors from Team France Jeune, pleased to have been given the opportunity by TPM to sail together again. “All of the guys were enthusiastic, with the same spirit. We are friends and that is the advantage of sport – it leaves you with very good emotions,” explains Follin.
Follin, 23, is also pleased to be returning to the GC32 Racing Tour, having sailed its first event in 2017 on Riva del Garda, Italy, prior to going to Bermuda. “The circuit is one of the best in the world. It is really professional, like Formula 1 – everyone knows their boats well.
“All my friends who are doing Olympic sailing say it is the circuit they’d like to race on one day.” For Follin it is also a pleasure to be returning to compete in Toulon. “When I was a child I raced Optimists there – I know the place well.”
A third French team competing at the GC32 TPM Med Cup will be Erik Maris’ Zoulou. The present leader of the GC32 Racing Tour’s 2018 Owner-Driver championship, Maris and his team, which includes French America’s Cup legend Thierry Fouchier and others from Franck Cammas’ 2017 America’s Cup crew, also holds third place in the Tour’s overall scoreboard.
A past Swan 45 European Champion, Farr 30 World Champion and experienced multihull sailor, Maris is also a passionate racing driver having competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Racing at the GC32 TPM Med Cup will take place over October 11-14.
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