Dicey start for GC32 Racing Tour 2019
Published on May 23rd, 2019
Sardinia, Italy (May 23, 2019) – The opening day of the GC32 Villasimius Cup, the first event on the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour, saw a stiff southwesterly buffeting the ten GC32 catamarans while moored in the Marina di Villasimus as their crews prepared for the season’s first encounter.
Unfortunately, once out on the water and preparing for the 1300 CET start, the wind went through a 180° and dropped, now coming from off the shore. Mercifully this wind stabilized itself for long enough to get one race completed and a second started.
In the former the majority favored the left hand, inshore side with INEOS Rebels UK and Red Bull Sailing Team winning the pin. It was only the Phil Robertson-helmed ChinaONE Ningbo that tried the right, at one point looking in good shape. At the top mark it was a confident-looking Ben Ainslie and his INEOS Rebels UK that rounded first.
“Getting around that left turn first was key to the race,” admitted INEOS Rebels UK tactician Giles Scott. “Things got a little bit tight on the next beat with Oman Air and NORAUTO getting lifted inside.”
Nonetheless the British America’s Cup team held on and finished with a comfortable lead.
Already for the second race, the wind was turning light and funky as the Ernesto Bertarelli steered Alinghi rounded the top mark in first followed by Oman Air. Sailing into pressure down the run, the two-time America’s Cup winners extended and onto the next upwind their lead seemed unassailable.
As Alinghi’s mainsail trimmer Arnaud Psarofaghis put it: “It’s always frustrating when you are leading and the racing is cancelled, but it was fair enough after a big 90° shift.”
Despite numerous moves of the race committee boat, setting up courses on different axes and on different parts of the bay and even another start, which had got underway only for the wind to fizzle out less than five minutes in. This was the last straw for the race committee who abandoned – again – and sent all the teams home.
“It was frustrating because the forecast for today was good,” admitted NORAUTO skipper Franck Cammas, the GC32 Racing Tour’s defending champion. “The race committee tried hard to get in some racing, and we waited a long time on the water, but that’s part of the game.
“We had a good fight with Ben (Ainslie – INEOS Rebels UK) and Adam (Minoprio – Oman Air) – we had to do a big luff because they gybed just in front of us when we were on the lay line, but we didn’t make any big mistakes.”
Giles Scott agreed with the race committee’s decision to cancel the second race. But regarding tomorrow’s forecast he warned: “It is similar – with a decent cloud of uncertainty!”
Racing is scheduled for May 23-26.
2019 GC32 Racing Tour schedule
23-26 May: GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
26-30 June: GC32 World Championship / Lagos, Portugal
31 July-4 August: 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE / Palma de Mallorca, Spain
11-15 September: GC32 Riva Cup / Riva del Garda, Italy
6-10 Nov: TBA
Source: GC32 Racing Tour