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Most competitive ever GC32 Worlds

Published on July 7th, 2022

It wasn’t that foiling was unheard of prior to the 2013 America’s Cup, as the singlehanded Moth Class had switched to lifting hydrofoils at the start of the 2000s. But never before had it been done on such a large scale, and when the AC72 lifted out of the water, the sport was changed forever.

There was a rush to market the phenomena, and the GC32 was making a lot of noise. First launched in 2012, and further refined in 2014, this was now a fully flying foiling 12m catamaran. Interest soared, a one design class established, a circuit scheduled. Game on!

While still the domain of expert sailors with somewhat deep pockets, 28 boats have been built, with ten of them to be on the start line for the 2022 GC32 World Championship on July 13-17 in Lagos, Portugal.

From as far away as Australia and the USA, the field comprises the most competitive GC32 fleet ever, including America’s Cup winners, challengers and SailGP teams. Among these a favorite is Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

Red Bull Sailing Team won the last GC32 World Championship when it was held September 2021 in Sardinia, Italy, while Alinghi won the previous World Championship two years earlier, also in Lagos. Although Red Bull has come on board with Alinghi to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s GC32 crew exclusively comprises members of its AC sailing squad.

“It always harder if you return to a place for second time,” admitted Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Arnaud Psarofaghis, who steered the Swiss team to its 2019 GC32 World title. “You understand the wind more and everyone will sail better. I think the fleet is improving every day.”

SailGP will be represented by Danish and Swiss teams, led by Nicolai Sehested and Sébastien Schneider, respectively. Unofficial America’s Cup challenger K-Challenge Team France will be skippered by Nacra 17 Olympian Quentin Delapierre, who also helms France’s SailGP team Another SailGP team comes from Canada with Graeme Sutherland filling in for Phil Robertson as skipper.

The most enthusiastic teams are the five on the GC32 Racing Tour that are privately owned. For them the circuit provides a unique experience as they compete directly against professional teams. Leading the charge here is Erik Maris and his Zoulou crew, who topped the 2022 Owner-Driver leaderboard.

American Jason Carroll and his Argo team, fresh from their record-setting Newport Bermuda Race, looks forward to this new challenge. “We relish the challenge of sailing against the other owner-driver teams as well as the immensely talented teams from the AC and SailGP. It’s going to be a great event!”


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