The first ever GC32 Championship for the combined fleets from the GC32 Racing Tour and Extreme Sailing Series™ will begin in Muscat, Oman. The ultra high-speed foiling one design GC32 catamarans will be competing at the GC32 Championship from Tuesday 28th February until Sunday 5th March. Racing will take place off Al Mouj Marina (The Wave, Muscat), on the outskirts of Muscat where the event’s host, Oman Sail, has its headquarters.
Run by the GC32 International Class Association in association with OC Sport, the 2017 GC32 Championship is the first of what, will be an annual event.
A team greatly anticipating this first joint venture between the two GC32 circuits is Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, which has previous experience of both: The former America’s Cup defender won the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series and competed on the GC32 Racing Tour in 2015. Bertarelli, who has been campaigning racing multihulls since the early 1990s, has confirmed that he will helm for the GC32 Championship.
Alinghi’s coach Pierre-Yves Jorand said: “We have been very much in favour of having a common championship with as many boats as possible involved. We are very excited and looking forward to competing with a lot of boats – it will be great fun and good competition. Having that many boats on the start line will be tough.”
Alinghi has competed in Muscat on many occasions and Jorand says the venue is perfect for racing during the northern hemisphere winter. “There’s usually a good sea breeze – 10-12 knots, sometimes building to 15 with a little chop and pleasant conditions in terms of water and air temperatures.”
While Alinghi will sail with its usual line-up, co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner have some new crew joining them on board SAP Extreme Sailing Team this season. Both competed on the GC32 Racing Tour last year: British sailor Richard Mason sailed on Malizia-Yacht Club de Monaco while former Match Racing World Champion and Volvo Ocean Race sailor, Adam Minoprio from New Zealand, was instrumental to Norauto’s overall victory.
Jes Gram-Hansen commented: “SAP Extreme Sailing Team is looking forward to participate in the first GC32 Championship. It will be interesting to see how the teams from the two GC32 circuits will compare. We will use the Championship as a final preparation for Adam and Richard to gel with the rest of the team before heading into Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series, also in Muscat.”
Travelling furthest to compete at the GC32 Championship will be Team Argo of American Jason Carroll. Argo is a two time World Champion in the Melges 32 class and first joined the GC32 Racing Tour in 2015. Last season they concluded the GC32 Racing Tour on a high, finishing second at the final event, Marseille One Design.
With Ernesto Bertarelli helming Alinghi, Carroll will face some stiff competition to win the GC32 Championship’s Owner-Driver trophy. He commented:
“Team Argo is looking forward to new competition from the Extreme Sailing Series as well as the chance to square off with our old friends from the GC32 Racing Tour. The upcoming championship will be our first trip to Oman, which certainly adds to the excitement. We expect this will be the toughest event to date. We can’t wait for racing to begin!”
Two other GC32 Racing Tour teams making their Oman racing debuts will be 2016 runner-up Team Tilt and Team Engie. Led by Sébastien Schneiter, Team Tilt is gearing up to represent Switzerland in this summer’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda and for the GC32 Championship will be rotating through a squad of seven under 24-year-olds.
Schneiter said: “We are looking forward to going to Oman and to sail for the first time with the two circuits together. It will be interesting! We are excited finally to do our first regatta on foiling boats with our Red Bull Youth America’s Cup crew after so much training at the end of last year. We hope to have good conditions there to learn as much as we can as we enter our final phase of training.”
French former Class 40 champion, Sébastien Rogues, will be sailing with his same crew as he had on Team Engie at the end of 2016.
“We have a very good spirit and we want to capitalise on that and progress with this team,” said Rogues who is looking forward to lining up against the Extreme Sailing Series boats for the first time. Rogues says they are expecting the conditions at the GC32 Championship to be relatively light, although they expect anything. “We are ready for the battle. The large fleet will make it a difficult race, but we have prepared for that.”
Another skipper with previous experience of both GC32 circuits is Oman Air’s newly announced man on the helm, Phil Robertson. Last year, the New Zealander skippered Gazprom Team Russia at the Extreme Sailing Series St Petersburg Act and subsequently steered Flavio Marazzi’s Armin Strom Sailing Team to second place on the GC32 Racing Tour at Copa del Rey Mapfre in Palma. However Robertson’s most notable achievement was claiming the US$ 1 million first prize for winning the World Match Racing Championship title last summer.
Oman Air comes with one of the most successful GC32 crews. Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Ed Smyth all sailed on Sultanate of Oman, which won the GC32 Racing Tour in 2015.
Phil Robertson commented:
“I have always thought it is a very, very cool concept to have all the boats racing on one start line, the two different fleets and anyone else that wants to from around the world who’s got a boat. So I am excited to hit the start line with so many foiling catamarans.”
by GC32 Racing Tour
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin at the Sailing World Cup Final © Jeff Crow / Sport the Library
Last month the World Sailing Council met in Barcelona, Spain, and confirmed the Nacra 17 will convert to foiling for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the only foiling class among the 10 Olympic sailing classes.
Most agree it’s a natural evolution for the sport and will be a fantastic addition for spectators. The Nacra sailors at Sailing World Cup Final Melbourne presented by Land Rover say once they’ve mastered the art of foiling it will create thrilling racing.
On the announcement, Nacra 17 Rio 2016 silver medallist Lisa Darmanin (AUS) said,
“I’m excited and a little scared. While Jase (Jason Waterhouse) is getting technical in Bermuda with the America’s Cup, my plan is to be in the gym becoming bullet proof. When we first start foiling the race course will be pretty scary at times, but come the Games it will be incredible.”
Darmanin’s helm Jason Waterhouse has the advantage of being part of the America’s Cup outfit SoftBank Team Japan who use foiling AC45s.
“The foils on the Nacra will be different to the AC but actually learning about campaign management and development has been the biggest eye opener for me, and I’ll bring that experience to our next Olympic campaign.”
John Gimson & Anna Burnet at the Sailing World Cup Final – photo © Jeff Crow / Sport the Library
Helm John Gimson and crew Anna Burnet (GBR) anticipated the switch and have been sailing a foiling Nacra 20 in Bermuda, plus Gimson spent time on an AC45 during the last Cup cycle.
“We’re really excited about it,” Gimson said while rigging up for day two of their Sailing World Cup Final attempt. “I think it’s going to be quite a full on year getting used to foiling, but I think it’s good for the long term. It’s cool for the sailors to be the only foiling Olympic class and I think it’ll open up a new world for the spectators, and bring the Olympics into the 21st Century.”
“Foiling feels pretty cool, it’s pretty fast, twitchy, and I loved it,” Burnet said of her time on the Nacra 20.
Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson at the Sailing World Cup Final – photo © Jeff Crow / Sport the Library
Helm of the only team to take a win off Waterhouse and Darmanin in Melbourne so far and one of the few female Nacra 17 helms worldwide, Kiwi sailor Olivia Mackay, embraces the move to foiling. On the experience of flying above the water she says it’s really quiet and surreal, and hard to judge speed when the boat is lifted on its hydrofoils.
“I’m so excited for the class to go foiling,” Mackay said. “Forty boats foiling into the bottom gates is going to be interesting, and entertaining to watch.”
To retrofit the current generation of Nacra 17s would compromise performance according to Waterhouse, and the plan is for brand new boats to be manufactured. The talk about the yard is the new fleet will be ready in time for next year’s European Championship at Kiel, Germany, in July, but Waterhouse has some reservations that the new technology may price youth and developing nations out of the mixed gender class.
“For a kid it’s going to be harder to convince mum and dad or a federation to fund them in the Nacra, without a result to help them out. The positives are it’s a new challenge and development is part of the sport; it will be good for sailing’s image,” Waterhouse added.
Not only will the Nacra 17 will be flying in Tokyo but at the same conference in Barcelona the foiling Nacra 15 was confirmed as official equipment for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires 2018.
by Lisa Ratcliff in Melbourne
photo © Sam Kurtul
Land Rover BAR – the British challenge headed by Olympic legend Ben Ainslie – has won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series with a first place finish at the ultimate event in Japan this weekend.
Ainslie’s team sailed extremely well to secure the overall title with a race to spare. With the overall series win, Land Rover BAR earns two bonus points for the next stage of the America’s Cup (see below).
Oracle Team USA and skipper Jimmy Spithill pushed hard, finishing ahead of BAR in the first race of the day, but Ainslie was able to sail with controlled aggression to a 4, 2, 3 scoreline, and into the overall series win.
“This has been a goal for us for the whole season and for this event. The guys have done an incredible job,” Ainslie said from the water following the second race of the day.
“For us as a new team it sends out a strong message for all our supporters that we can do it.”
For the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka, it came down to a tie-break with Land Rover BAR clawing into a tie with Artemis Racing in the final contest, and taking the regatta by virtue of a better result in the last race.
But with attention shifting to Bermuda and the America’s Cup racing next year, the focus was on the overall title and bonus points it confers.
By taking first place on the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard, Land Rover BAR has collected two bonus points to carry forward into next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda.
With a second place finish on the overall leaderboard, Oracle Team USA secured one bonus point for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers next year.
photo © Carlo Borlenghi © http://www.carloborlenghi.com
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Worlds Series Fukuoka Results:
Land Rover BAR, 75 points
Artemis Racing, 75 points
Oracle Team USA, 70 points
Emirates Team New Zealand, 65 points
SoftBank Team Japan, 61 points
Groupama Team France, 59 points
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall:
1. Land Rover BAR — 512pts
2. Oracle Team USA — 493pts
3. Emirates Team New Zealand — 485pts
4. Artemis Racing — 466pts
5. SoftBank Team Japan — 460pts
6. Groupama Team France — 419pts
Super Sunday will be the decider in Fukuoka
Hakata Bay in Fukuoka was the scene for the historic first ever day of America’s Cup racing in Japan and it was Land Rover BAR who finished day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka racing on top, adding one more point to their overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series lead.
The event village was full of Japanese fans and despite a light wind the six America’s Cup teams put on a show of America’s Cup racing for the first time ever in Japan, and with a win for SoftBank Team Japan among the day’s highlights, it could not have been a better start to America’s Cup action in Japan.
In race one the start was tightly contested but it was series leaders Land Rover BAR who were quickly into the lead. Groupama Team France crossed the line early, leaving them with a startline penalty and putting them back into sixth, but as the boats headed to gate two it was the British team who were stamping their authority on the pack with only Emirates Team New Zealand giving close chase.
The fight at the front grew closer as the boats headed to mark three, Emirates Team New Zealand closed the gap to Land Rover BAR and then edged ahead as they set off on leg four. That lead was short lived, however, as an unexplained and somewhat dramatic move by the Kiwis halfway down leg four gave the advantage to Land Rover BAR, leaving the New Zealanders in second, Artemis Racing in third, Groupama Team France fourth, having clawed their way back after their startline penalty, and Oracle Team USA and home favourites SoftBank Team Japan in fifth and sixth respectively.
In the end, even a late penalty on leg six could not slow up the British team too much, and they duly won the first race of the day ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing, Oracle Team USA, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France in that order.
Saturday’s second race saw SoftBank Team Japan take the early advantage, streaking into a lead with the boat up on its foils as they headed Oracle Team USA and the rest of the pack to gate two. This time, Land Rover BAR were at the back of the pack, perfectly demonstrating the sheer unpredictability of America’s Cup racing in its modern guise.
Another penalty for Groupama Team France pushed them back behind the British team, but at the front of the pack Oracle Team USA had a brief glimpse of the lead at gate 3 before SoftBank Team Japan regained their advantage as they foiled down leg four. From that point they never looked like losing and as the hometown favourites crossed the line in first place the cheers from the crowd could be heard in Tokyo!
Oracle Team USA finished race two in second, Land Rover BAR, having staged a mighty comeback, were third, Artemis Racing were third and Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama Team France again brought up the rear.
The final race of the day was race three and even though SoftBank Team Japan had a good start it was Oracle Team USA who rounded the first mark in the lead. Behind them the Japanese and British teams were fighting for second and third and it was Ben Ainslie’s team who took the advantage, moving ahead of Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan crew in third, but only for a short time as the Japanese team pushed themselves back into second on the fourth leg. Halfway towards mark four Land Rover BAR moved back ahead of SoftBank Team Japan who had a halyard failure slow them down and from that point the battle for second place was where the real action took place.
Emirates Team New Zealand had moved up and suddenly Groupama Team France were also in the mix with the Kiwis and the Brits, the race towards second place at the line seeing the advantage change constantly, but in the last race of Saturday it was Oracle Team USA who were celebrating, Land Rover BAR in second, Emirates Team New Zealand in third, Groupama Team France in fourth and Artemis Racing just nudging ahead of SoftBank Team Japan in a photo finish at the finish line in a drag race on the foils for fifth.
The results mean Land Rover BAR heads Oracle Team USA on both the Fukuoka and overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboards.
With bonus points for next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in play for the top two finishers in the overall series, it’s still all to play for with four teams in with a shot at earning a head start in Bermuda.
Selected team quotes:
Kazuhiro “Fuku” Sofuku, Bowman and General Manager, SoftBank Team Japan: ““It was amazing this morning to walk through the streets and see so many people coming down to watch the event. It was great! It’s such a good opportunity for us to introduce the Japanese people to great sport and also to show people all around the world how beautiful our country is. We had mixed results today but we will work harder tomorrow and with the great support we have here I’m sure it will be a great day.”
Giles Scott, Tactician, Land Rover BAR: “We’re in a really great place. I think we’ve put one point on Oracle Team USA today, we’ve held the lead we came into this regatta with, but it’s double points tomorrow so I don’t think we can rest on our laurels. The way I look at it, you ask any of these guys where they want to be coming into the final regatta, they’d be lying if they said they didn’t want to be in the lead. We’re certainly no different, we’re happy with our lead and I think we’d take that pressure any day.
Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA: “I thought we sailed pretty well today. We were on the back foot in the first race, but the boys rallied and you have to be able to come back from those tough situations and we did a good job of that today. I think we have to come out tomorrow and go as hard as we can. It’s so difficult to push one boat back but if there are any opportunities we’ll take them. We’re fighting for the win. We’re not shooting for second place. At the end of the day all we have to focus on tomorrow is winning races.”
Franck Cammas, Skipper, Groupama Team France: “Throughout the day the wind was increasing and in the last race that meant we were able to foil and that was good for the show and for our team as the rest of the day was not really like that. In race three we had improved but we lost places at the last mark. We know the mistake we made but otherwise we were in the game in the middle of the fleet in the final race, the boat speed was good down wind, but there were too many mistakes and we have to avoid that tomorrow.”
Peter Burling, Helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand: “It was a really tough day. It’s been a while since we sailed in those kind of conditions, I think the last time was Chicago, and to finally get the boats foiling, that’s what they’re designed for and it’s good that the crowd got to see that sort of spectacle. For us, we had a fair bit of rust on, as I say, we hadn’t sailed the boats in those sorts of conditions since Chicago, so there was a fair bit to chip away on and I think that’s why we were sailing better in the last race.”
Nathan Outteridge, Skipper, Artemis Racing: “It wasn’t the greatest of days for us and it progressively got worse I guess, looking at the points, but today was probably about as hard as these boats are to sail. We were pretty happy with our first two races, it was a bit disappointing to lose Ben right at the final mark, and in that last one we probably just pushed a bit too hard at the start, a bit too aggressive trying to get round that first mark in the first two, and got a bunch of penalties because of that. However, we fought hard to get back into it and beat SoftBank Team Japan right there at the end, and got that final point and that point will probably mean a lot tomorrow.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka Leaderboard
(Team Name — Finish Position — Points)
Land Rover BAR — 1, 3, 2 — 27 points
Oracle Team USA — 4, 2, 1 — 26
Emirates Team New Zealand — 2, 5, 3 — 23
Artemis Racing — 3, 4, 5 — 21
SoftBank Team Japan — 5, 2, 6 — 21
Groupama Team France — 6, 6, 4 — 17
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR — 464 points
Oracle Team USA — 449
Emirates Team New Zealand — 443
SoftBank Team Japan — 420
Artemis Racing — 412
Groupama Team France — 377
The stage is set for the final weekend of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
The ultimate event is taking place in Fukuoka, Japan this weekend, the first America’s Cup racing in Asia, and showcase event for SoftBank Team Japan, the first Japanese Cup challenger in 15 years.
Land Rover BAR has a 14 point lead over Oracle Team USA going into the final races in the two-year series.
But with 90 points on offer over the six races scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, the fight for the title is still open.
“It is very close in terms of the overall points. We have a bit of a gap to the other two boats, but in reality we’re going to have to sail really well this weekend if we want to end up on top in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series,” said Ben Ainslie. “We have to do the absolute best we can.”
While second placed Oracle Team USA has their sights set on the top of the leaderboard, the team could be forgiven for looking over its shoulder at Emirates Team New Zealand, who are just three points back. But skipper Jimmy Spithill says the focus is on taking a win.
“We never think about looking after second place,” Spithill said. “We are here for the win. No question, it’s Ben’s to lose but stranger things have happened. We’ll be giving everything we can to try and reach the top.”
The spotlight this weekend won’t only be on the leaderboard. For SoftBank Team Japan, this weekend marks an opportunity to bring America’s Cup racing to Asia and Japan for the very first time.
SoftBank Team Japan sailor and general manager Kazuhiko Sofuku sailed with previous Japanese challenges, but this is the first time he’s been able to race in his homeland.
“I’m very excited to be here and already I feel like this is going to be a really big event,” he says. “There is so much enthusiasm from the media and the fans and I know ticket sales have gone very well. I am looking forward to seeing everybody who is going to come out to see us this weekend.
“For us as a team this could be the perfect way to keep building up our performance. We were third in Chicago and Portsmouth, then second in Toulon and we keep improving so as long as we do that the results will follow.”
On Friday, the teams took to the water for Official Practice racing, with SoftBank Team Japan taking a popular first race win.
Four races were completed in light to moderate conditions. The final race of the day was the designated substitute race, which may be scored over the weekend should conditions not be suitable for racing. Series leader Land Rover BAR took the win, with Oracle Team USA in second place.
Six races are scheduled over the next two days – three on Saturday, and three more worth double points on Super Sunday.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series – Overall Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR — 437
Oracle Team USA — 423
Emirates Team New Zealand — 420
SoftBank Team Japan — 399
Artemis Racing — 391
Groupama Team France — 360
She is fully foiling, simple and easy to use
The revolution continues, after the launch of the first production foiling catamaran in the world 3 years ago, over 100 Flying Phantom are now foiling in 26 countries.
The Flying Phantom is a unique racing boat using the finest technologies from the aeronautic industry. Phantom International is now introducing a new range of high-end foiling boat oriented for freeride.
The Flying Phantom Essentiel is an 18’ all around boat easy to use, able to foil in a wide range of conditions and attract new people to foiling. This new boat is based on the expertise Phantom International has built up over the last 5 years being the pioneer in foiling catamarans.
The Flying Phantom Essentiel is foiling with both dagger boards down like we tested on the first Flying Phantom prototypes in 2012. This foil configuration makes the boat to be more user friendly and less physically demanding for the crew. She is able to reach 20 knots in 10 knots of wind ! The boat can be stowed on the beach as the dagger can be fully removed from the top. The L shape rudders increase safety for the crew if anyone falls overboard.
The Flying Phantom Essentiel is equipped with optional side wings in place of trapeze to improve crew accessibility.
The boat will be officially launched during the Paris Boat Show in December, production will start early of 2017 for spring deliveries.
The Flying Phantom Essentiel will offer a unique opportunity to a broad spectrum of sailors to enter into the foiling experience !
We look forward to present you this amazing boat.
Length: 5,5m / 18’
Width: 2,55m (EU road legal)
Mast: 9,1m aluminum
Hulls construction: Epoxy glass sandwich
Main sail: R Polyester laminate / 17sqm
Jib: R Polyester laminate / 5sqm
Code 0: R Polyester with furling system / 20sqm
On the 19th of October the Nacra 17 class members assembled for an electronic Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).
Three topics debated were:
a) an update to the class constitution
c) whether or not class members recommend full foiling for 2020 or not
A presentation covering the proposed changes to equipment, pricing, and procedure was shown to 50 members in attendance over the course of 2 hours.
Details of how the boats would be made stronger and more consistent were included. Also shown was three pricing options for a mk 2 Nacra 17 was presented which can be downloaded here:
The three options for equipment going forward are:
a) retrofit a mk1 boat to go full foiling for 7,900 euros
b) Buying a new platform for 14,500 euros, retaining the ability to sell the mk1 platform for a net cost of about 7500 euros
c) Buying a new boat for 24,250 euros, an increase of about 2000 euros from the mk1 price
Following the presentation was a discussion with questions and answers from class members and leadership. At the close the meeting, voting was opened to class members. 89 members voted from the total membership of 132, above the 40% threshold required to form a quorum. All of the motions passed, with the advertising and constitution motions receiving 87% support or higher. the major question of whether to recommend to World Sailing whether Nacra 17 should go fully foiling for the 2020 Olympic or not was a closer vote, but ultimately passed 48 votes to 33, for a 59% support level
As such, the Nacra 17 class has sent a letter to the head of the Equipment Committee of World Sailing with the class recommendation. Class president, Marcus Spillane, will convey this position at the World Sailing Conference next month in Barcelona.
Equipment of the updated configuration will become available following confirmation from World Sailing Conference of their position on the matter. Teams wishing to get onto the waiting list for mk2 equipment should be in contact with the Nacra Sailing head office.
Photos ©: Sander van der Borch / GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 Racing Tour at Marseille One Design – Overall
Franck Cammas and his crew on Norauto powered by Groupama Team France proved convincingly that their dominance of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour was no fluke. On this closing day of Marseille One Design, held in at times in ‘top of the range’ conditions, the French team managed a perfect five-out-of-five score line. This left them a massive 24 points clear of American Jason Carroll’s second placed Argo.
On the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour leaderboard, Noruato’s only threat going into Marseille One Design was Sebastien Schneiter’s Team Tilt. The Swiss youth crew finished fourth, enabling Cammas and his crew to claim the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour trophy by a six point margin.
“We are very happy with the work we did and it is a very good circuit for us to spend more time competing in races with this kind of boat,” said Cammas. “The level of everyone has got higher and higher through the year. We were ahead at the beginning, but since then everyone’s got better at manoeuvring and now you have to really fight to win each race.”
The Volvo Ocean Race winner added that Norauto’s perfect scoreline was probably due to their beginning of season training.
“But we improved over the four days too and we’re happy to finish the season like this, with a perfect scoreline.”
For this final day, the forecast promised 9-11 knots, but after an hour on the water waiting for the wind direction to stabilise, much to the pleasure of everyone, it built into the high teens, gusting into the mid-20s. Fortunately in Marseille’s well protected Rade Sud, the flat sea state made for a fast ride with the GC32s fully foiling, frequently hitting speeds in the mid-30s.
The other French team, Sebastien Rogues’ Team Engie had a mixed day, in two races making it a French 1-2, but ultimately finishing Marseille One Design fifth overall. Team Engie was second best scoring boat of the day, a testament to the hard work Rogues and his team have put into improving this season. However equalling their scoreline was the Japanese team Mamma Aiuto! which did well in the two opening races.
Making a late charge today was the Swedish youth crew on Gunvor Sailing, which after a string of deep results, finished second in the final two races.
“We are still improving and still very new in the boat and making a lot of simple mistakes,” admitted Gustav Petterson, skipper and tactician on board. “When it gets stressed, we don’t always know what to do and our timing is not always good. But we were getting better through the day.”
Their learning curve has been steep and this is the first event they have raced without the help several Olympic champions, such as Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge or Freddy Lööf.
The young Swedes, most with Olympic sailing backgrounds, relished the conditions and saw the Gunvor GC32 hitting speeds in the mid-30s. “On one occasion we were very slow at the bottom gate and some boats were coming in at 25-30 knots, so your heart was in your mouth,” admitted Petterson.
Perhaps most pleased by their performance in Marseille was Jason Carroll, who’s Argo team achieved its objectives displacing Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco from the top spot in the Owner-Driver Championship and claiming fourth overall in the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour.
“But I am most excited to have finished second overall in this regatta – that is very cool and I am very proud of our team for having done that,” said Carroll, a two time World Champion in the highly competitive Melges 32 class. “The owner-driver thing is also great – it came down to this regatta and we did what we needed to do.”
Carroll was unable to repeat his team’s victory yesterday but was generally among the top finishers. “It was really fun today – we had a great time. It was nice – even after having a mediocre start – to battle back and pass a boat or two.”
With Britain’s Alister Richardson calling tactics, Argo’s mainsheet man Anthony Kotoun observed that today in the bigger conditions, success was down to picking the right shifts. Otherwise “it was the most ‘normal’ racing we’ve had this season…”
Of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour, manager Christian Scherrer commented “Today was a perfect finished to the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour season. It has been fantastic to see how the circuit has developed over the last 12 months and I’d like to thank all the teams and partners who have supported us this year. We look forward to an even more successful season in 2017. There is already a lot of interest and we will be announcing more details about this next week.”
Marseille One Design 2016 Ranking:
1 Noaruto (FRA) F.Cammas – 13 points
2 Argo (USA) J.Carroll – 37points
3 Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) N.Kamei – 41points
4 Team Tilt (SUI) S.Schneiter – 43points
5 Team Engie (FRA) S.Rogues – 49points
6 Malizia – YC Monaco (MON) P.Casiraghi – 52points
7 Armin Strom Sailing Team (SUI) F.Marazzi – 52points
8 Gunvor Sailing (SWE) G.Petterson – 58points
9 Realteam (SUI) J.Clerc – 68points
10 Orange Racing (NER) Laurent Lenne – 89points
GC32 Racing Tour 2016 General Ranking after 10 events:
1 Norauto (FRA) F.Cammas – 6points
2 Team Tilt (SUI) S.Schneiter – 12points
3 Armin Strom Sailing Team (SUI) F.Marazzi – 22points
4 Argo (USA) J.Carroll – 26points
5 Team Engie (FRA) S.Rogues – 29points
6 Malizia – YC Monaco (MON) P.Casiraghi – 29points
7 Gunvor Sailing (SWE) G.Petterson – 32points
8 Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) N.Kamei – 33points
9 Realteam (SUI) J.Clerc – 40points
10 Spindrift racing (FRA) Y.Guichard – 47points
11 Orange Racing (NER) Laurent Lenne – 47points
Photo ©: Sander van der Borch / GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 Marseilles One Design
Conditions off the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur coast turned light for day three of Marseille One Design, providing a challenge for GC32 Racing Tour competitors and race officials alike.
After leading a race which was cancelled yesterday and coming second in the first attempt to hold a race today, fate finally smiled on Jason Carroll’s US team on Argo. The two time Melges 32 World Champion won today’s only race, held in ‘low rider’ conditions (ie no foiling and no hull flying) with the southwesterly wind speed never exceeding 6 knots.
“Everyone prefers the breeze so you can foil – that’s what the GC32s are all about – but this is part of the game and a race is a race,” observed Argo’s Program Manager, Chad Corning. “It was a tricky race course with a very one dimensional start line. Fortunately we got the start we needed to and that was it – rich get richer.”
Argo now holds a solid third place at Marseille One Design with a six point cushion over Team Tilt in fourth. But for the US team, the real fight is now with Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia-Yacht Club de Monaco which went into this regatta leading the GC32 Racing Tour’s owner-driver championship.
“It is a big deal to us,” acknowledged Corning. “Winning the overall Championship is not achievable for us this year, so the owner-driver championship is important. And it is also close for fourth overall, so if we can get both of those, we’d be very happy.”
At the end of play today, Norauto powered by Groupama Team France continues to lead Marseille One Design with a consistent 2-2-2-2 scoreline. However the top of the leaderboard came within a whisker of major upset when Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! blitzed the first unsuccessful attempt at the day’s only race. The Japanese team, on which Australian match racer Keith Swinton is standing in for Kamei-san, was a leg ahead of the competition when disaster struck. With perhaps two minutes of sailing to go until they crossed the finish line, the 35 minute time limit for races (as agreed between all the teams) ran out and the race had to be abandoned.
“If that race hadn’t been called off we would be in first. But we are in the hunt and we learned a lot of things about our trim. We’ll go and do the same thing tomorrow.” Swinton acknowledged
As to today’s conditions, the Australian added: “It was pretty light and fairly one-sided track. There was a big emphasis on the start. In that race we got a great start and it was relatively easy from there. It was about avoiding the holes and keeping it moving. It was good to go for a sail in the lighter winds. We hadn’t done any gennaker tacks or, in fact, any light weather sailing at all…”
Norauto skipper Franck Cammas was equally relieved that that race had been cancelled as they had been struggling at the back of the fleet. “It is tricky in these conditions and we are not happy with our speed upwind in the very light conditions, so we have to work on that.”
Nonetheless the former Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum winner is content with their consistent run of second placed finishes that gives them a lead of five points over Mamma Aiuto! going into the final day of racing at Marseille One Design. The French team is also 12 points ahead of Team Tilt, which is the only team able to threaten their top spot in the overall 2016 GC32 Racing Tour championship.
Sunday is the final day of competition at Marseille One Design and on the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour and the forecast is showing 9-11 knots of breeze – more than enough to get the nimble one design catamarans fully flying. However as Argo’s Chad Corning warns of the conditions: “I don’t think we are going to know until we get out of bed tomorrow.”
Follow the live blog from the racing tomorrow at www.gc32racingtour.com
Sander van der Borch / GC32 Racing Tour
2016 GC32 Racing Tour in Marseille
After a day and a half of France’s second city being battered by gale force winds, Marseille One Design, the last event of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour, got going this afternoon with three races successfully sailed.
Following the morning’s thunder and lightning, as the last weather front associated with this system edged inland, so the wind dropped to a more modest 10-15 knots and the first race got away at 1541 after one general recall.
Despite the conditions being more reasonable, the race course on Marseille’s Rade Sud was still a minefield with some giant clouds nearby playing havoc with the wind. As Australian match racer Keith Swinton, here in Marseille helming the Japanese GC32 Mamma Aiuto!, observed: “It was shifty and there were some pretty big holes – 6-7 knots in the big ones and up to 18 knots in the puffs. It was challenging…”
This is Swinton’s first time helming a GC32. Nonetheless the Japanese team won the second race, finding a favourable shift on the final beat that propelled Mamma Aiuto! out in front. Swinton may be new to the GC32 helm, but up until the beginning of 2015 he called tactics on Armin Strom Sailing Team. Compared to then, he observes that there are now: “a lot more boats and everyone is stepping it up, so it makes it all the more pleasing that we seem to be competitive.”
For Marseille One Design, all but one of Mamma Aiuto!’s crew is standing in for regular hands, but this has provided Japanese sailor Federico Sampei (named after Italian film director Federico Fellini) with a chance to compete on the GC32 Racing Tour. Part of the Japanese Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team, Sampei’s only sailing to date has been on a GC32, starting in Japan last December. For his first ever yacht race and he was thrilled: “Everyone tells me it is a big step – I am very much enjoying it.”
At the end of day one, 2016 GC32 Racing Tour leader Norauto powered by Groupama Team France holds first place at Marseille One Design, after scoring a trio of second place finishes today. The French team’s rival for the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour title, Team Tilt from Switzerland, won the first race, but lacked Norauto’s consistency.
“We sailed pretty well in that race,” conceded Team Tilt’s skipper Sebastien Schneiter. “The other two races were a bit more complicated – in the second we got a penalty on the last reach: We were battling with Norauto and they did a few match racing moves on us. And in the last race we were over early at the start.”
Schneiter acknowledged that it hadn’t been their best day, but Team Tilt’s speed was good and they had manoeuvred well. Nonetheless they currently lie third overall, a point astern of Mamma Aiuto!
The final race was claimed by Team Engie, skippered by Sébastien Rogues. Like Team Tilt, Rogues admitted that their performance today lacked consistency with a 8-9 in the first two races.
“We didn’t start well and after, when you are behind, it is difficult to recover. We started better in the third race when we won the pin end.”
With the sun getting low in the sky and the wind starting to misbehave, proceedings were halted after three races. Marseille One Design continues tomorrow, when it is likely there will be a wait until the afternoon for the wind to fill in.
Follow the live blog from the racing at www.gc32racingtour.com