Foiling Regattas

Exciting prospects in 2015 for the Flying Phantom


Pierrick Contin


One year ago, the Flying Phantom One Design was presented to the public during the 2013 Paris Boat Show. The success was instantaneous with a unanimous, warm welcome from the press and the sailing community.

Some weeks after the first sailing sessions occurred, the order book started to fill up with orders from customers around the world. In order to face this high demand, Phantom International recalibrated the production capabilities, while ensuring the product matched the high-end requirements, reliability targets and the essential reproducibility for One Design. The Flying Phantom is made using a very high tech process involving carbon pre-preg with Nomex honeycomb sandwich cured at high temperature and then painted with epoxy, so specific industrialization tools are needed to sustain the volume of production and ramp up the capacity from 3 boats per week up to 4 boats per week starting next month.

So far, 60 Flying Phantoms have been ordered, with 30 boats now shipped out of the factory, while the backlog will be resolved by the end of January 2015.


During 2014, the Flying Phantom sailed by Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot obtained nice successes on racecourses like the Eurocat or on Lake Geneva. Furthermore, dozens of sailing days were clocked up to ensure ongoing improvements and to optimize racing settings and boat performance. These flying sessions were also an opportunity to share the foiling experience with famous skippers such as François Gabart, Philippe Presti, Loick Peyron, Nathan Outteridge, Franck Cammas, the Red Bull Sailing Team … as well as youth and amateur sailors.



The Flying Phantom Series: the 2015 European Tour

2015 looks exciting; as the Flying Phantom fleet will grow quickly during the first quarter of the year, with the first event of the Flying Phantom Series due to take place in Carnac, France during the Eurocat from the 29th of April to the May 2nd. Prior to the event, Phantom International will organize technical, tutorial and training sessions for Flying Phantom owners to prepare for this first, fantastic event. The race format is being prepared, with the aim of setting up race courses like in the America’s Cup with reaching starts and finishes to guarantee enjoyable racing for the sailors and the spectators. The Flying Phantom fleet will also take part in the long distance race with the clear goal of beating the record set by Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot this year.

Following the Eurocat, the fleet will compete in specific events with the same One Design regatta format during Foiling Week in Lake Garda and Travemuender Woche, as well as racing in long distance races like the Round Texel, the Raid Emeraude and the Raid des Corsaires.

Phantom International is also in discussions with the Marseille One Design organizers to assess the possibility of joining the event that will be held in Marseille in September 2015.



Main events on the 2015 calendar

April 29 – May 2 Eurocat in Carnac, France: FP One Design racecourse & Long distance race

June 6 –  Round Texel in Texel, Netherlands: Long distance race

June 8 – 14  Geneva, Switzerland: FP One Design racecourse

June 27 – 28  Raid Emerauade Aid Emeraude in St Lunaire, France: Long distance race

July 1 – 5  The Foiling Week on Lake Garda, Italy: FP One Design racecourse & Long distance race

July 17 – 25 Travemuender Woche in Travemuender, Germany: FP One Design racecourse

September 4 – 6  Raid des Corsaires in St Malo, France: Long distance race



The Phantom Sailing Team

In 2015, the Phantom Sailing Team will be a 2 boat team with Billy Besson – Matthieu Vandame and Gurvan Bontemps – Benjamin Amiot. Both crews will compete in the 2015 regatta season and will foil the Flying Phantom around the world.

Billy, Matthieu, Benjamin and Gurvan are sport catamaran specialists. Billy just won the ISAF World Cup, was twice Olympic catamaran world champion in 2013 and 2014 with his team mate Marie Riou, 2013 Formula 18 World Champion and finished second in the International C-Class Catamaran championship. Matthieu was 2012 Formula 18 World Champion with Olivier Backes on the Sail Innovation Phantom F18 and crewed for famous skippers such as Franck Cammas and François Gabart. He is also pursuing an Olympic campaign with Audrey Ogereau. Gurvan and Benjamin represented the Phantom Sailing Team in 2014, when they started to show what the Flying Phantom could achieve in some multihull regattas. They are also vice 2014 Formula 18 World Champions.


The Red Bull Foiling Generation

From the spring of 2015, the famous energy drink company Red Bull will organize an international circuit for youth sailors between the ages of 16 and 20. This circuit, which has been given the name of the “Red Bull Foiling Generation” will be raced with Flying Phantom catamarans and will include multiple events around the world with one in France. Details concerning race formats and registration procedures will be issued shortly. The “Red Bull Foiling Generation” is a true revolution in the world of sailing as it provides youth sailors with a unique opportunity to step into the world of flying multihulls.


For more see:





French rev up for 2015 GC32 Racing Tour


GC32 French teams sdb

Photo c Sander van der Borch

In 2015, the state of the art GC32 foiling catamarans will compete in a five event European series starting in Austria in May and finishing at Marseille One Design in September.

France is well known for its love of extreme multihulls and multihull racing, so it is appropriate it is represented on the GC32 Racing Tour. To date two French teams have announced their participation – Sebastien Rogues is fielding a professional sponsored team, and privateer Erik Maris will employ some of the best who previously sailed with him on the Extreme 40.

While Rogues is still recruiting his crew, Maris will employ some of the best including five time America’s Cup and ex-Groupama trimaran sailor Thierry Fouchier, plus multihull veteran Jean-Christophe Mourniac and six time World Champion Jean-Sebastien Ponce.

“Then we have two newcomers in the team: Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot, two great multihull specialists, who share our values.”

Maris, who has been more active racing cars the last two years, explains. “I was expecting foiling to become a ‘must’ even before trying the GC32, but now I’m convinced: Once you’ve tried it, it is hard to do anything else. This is what attracted me back into a sailing project for the first time in more than two years.”

Sebastien Rogues is well known in sailing circles, but for racing offshore in monohulls rather than inshore in foiling multihulls. A favourite for the 2011 Transat 6.50, he won the opening leg, but during the second suffered an injury forcing his retirement.

But Rogues has achieved his best results in the Class40. Aboard his Mach 40 GDF Suez, he won everything he competed in during 2013, the highlight of his season being victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Further teams joining the GC32 Racing Tour will be announced over the coming weeks.

Events will be held in: Lake Traunsee, Cowes, Rome Fiumicino, Marseille and Germany.


For more details see:

Foiling Week ready for take off again in July, 2015


FW Moth v Board mo

Photo: c Martina Orsini / TFW


The 2015 Foiling Week ™ at Lake Garda, Italy – July 2015



The Foiling Weektm is the first and only global event dedicated to the amazingly fast foiling boats, their sailors, designers and builders.

The first edition (2014) was announced in December 2013 and held at Fraglia Vela Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy in July 2014.

More than 60 boats including foiling monohulls, multihulls, kite-surf boards, windsurfers, and a wide variety of prototypes were sailed by 100+ sailors including professionals such as Sebastian Col, Nils Frey, Josh McKnight, Rob Gough, Stefano Rizzi, to name just a few…

20 high profile speakers enlightened a fully booked Forum for three days. Designers, sailors and builders including Tom Speer, Martin Fischer, Kevin Hall, Davide Tagliapietra, Mark Somerville, Chris Edwards and Andrew ‘AMac’ McDougal, provided detailed analysis, explained projects and shared informative discussion on the art of foiling and ideas for future developments.

Following on from the success of the inaugural event, The 2015 Foiling Weektm edition will be held during the first week of July in Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy.

Class Regattas, Long Distance Races and a Speed Contest will take place from Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th  July.

Forums and Workshops will be scheduled during the mornings and at the end of  racing in the afternoons from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th July.

A number of new foiling designs have been launched this year and have joined the Foling Weektm 2015, so up to six different dedicated classes are expected to be racing on the waters of Lake Garda.

Classes that have already confirmed participation include monohulls, multihulls and a range of foiling kite boards and windsurfers.

There will also be an exposition of foiling craft and test trials onboard some of the boats, providing a rare opportunity to try the third mode of sailing:


Foiling! – Fast, Furious and Fun


FW GC32 Spax sdb


More info at


A video teaser from the 2014 Foiling Week

GC32 Racing Tour announces 2015 season dates & venues


GC32s Mar sdb

Photo © Sander van der Borch / The Great Cup



For 2015, its third season of racing, the GC32 foiling catamarans are to compete around Europe on a five event circuit known as the GC32 Racing Tour.

Representing the state-of-the-art in catamaran design, the GC32 is attracting considerable interest due to its conceptual similarity to the AC72 and AC62 foiling catamarans pioneered in the America’s Cup. However as the GC32s are smaller one designs with soft sail rigs, they provide both professional teams and private owners with the opportunity to experience airborne catamaran racing and all the excitement of the larger AC catamarans, but on a much more modest budget and on boats that are far easier to handle while still having the potential to achieve top speeds approaching 40 knots.


The 2015 GC32 Racing Tour schedule:

27-31 May: Austria Cup – Lake Traunsee, Austria
24–27 June: Cowes Cup – Cowes, UK
30 July–2 Aug: TBA – Germany
27-30 August: Trofeo di Roma – Rome Fiumicino, Italy
10–13 September: Marseille One Design – Marseille, France


The season kicks off on the mountain-lined Lake Traunsee in Austria, where the boats will be based out of Gmunden at the northern end of the lake. This will be the third occasion the GC32s will have competed on the picturesque lake after a successful event this year when the line-up featured sailors from the Luna Rossa and Oracle Team USA America’s Cup campaigns.

Christian Feichtinger, CEO of the Traunsee event’s organisers PROFS Marketing, said: “We are very excited about the latest development of the class. It has proof that we took the right decision two years ago when we started with GC32 races on Lake Traunsee. The past two events were quite successful, but we can´t wait to see more boats and more action on our waters. We believe that this is the best sailing product on the market right now and we are proud of being part of it.”

After two GC32s competed in the 2014 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, with one claiming line honours in what was one of the lightest events on record, the GC32 Racing Tour returns to one of world’s most historic race courses – the Solent. Here, during the circuit’s UK stopover, racing will take place over three days before the grand finale in which the GC32 fleet will once again race around the Isle of Wight. While the Round the Island Race was first held in 1931, this course was also famously that of the first America’s Cup held in 1851 (when it ran in the opposite, clockwise direction).

Mike Peskett, Race PRO of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race commented: “The Island Sailing Club is delighted that the GC32 class will be attending the 2015 edition of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and that the Club will be also running the UK leg of the GC32 Racing Tour. As organisers of such an iconic yacht race, we continually work hard to broaden its appeal to our worldwide audience, followers and race partners.”

Full details of the GC32 Racing Tour’s German stopover will be announced soon, but will be followed at the end of August by a new event being held off the beach at Fiumicino, just 8km from the centre of the Italian capital, Rome. With Italian sailing fans being enthusiastic supporters of the America’s Cup and fielding their own team, the Trofeo di Roma is certain to attract the crowds.

The GC32 Racing Tour once again will culminate at Marseille One Design, where the GC32s will participate alongside other foiling classes. Backed by the Ville de Marseille in the build-up to the French Mediterranean city becoming European Capital of Sport for 2017, racing will once again take place on the waters of the Rade Sud to the south of Marseille’s main city centre. At the end of Marseille One Design the GC32 Racing Tour champion will be decided.

In 2015 Marseille will also be the venue for an early season training regatta both for teams and race management, a ‘Pre-Event’ to be held over 16-19 April.

Didier Réault, Deputy Mayor of Marseille in charge of maritime affairs, commented: “The Marseille One Design 2014 showcased the extraordinary progress that has been made in sailing via your amazing GC32s. On behalf of the City, I am delighted that your class association has chosen to host its first gathering of the season at the Roucas Blanc Nautical Arena in April 2015. I’m also especially thrilled that you’ll once again round off your European tour in our harbour, within the context of the Marseille One Design 2015. In fact, we’re imagining that at the end of this final race in September, some of your crews might winter and train in Marseille as they wait for the warm-up sessions to kick off on our waters once again in the spring of 2016.”

The standard format for each event will be to run between six and eight races each day. However PRO David Campbell-James is being permitted some flexibility with the race schedule to include speed trials, long distance races and other formats at his discretion. As always there will be an opportunity for VIPs, journalists and corporate guests to sail on board the GC32 foiling cats during racing as a ‘sixth man’, provided conditions permit this.

GC32 Class Manager, Christian Peer concludes: “In the name of everyone involved in this Class, I would like to thank the organisers for their support and trust. The 2015 schedule is covering great sailing markets and most of our teams next year will sail once in their home waters. We thank Laurent Lenne for his support and look forward to seeing new teams coming to join us for 2015. All in all we are very happy with the current situation.”

A minimum of six to eight teams will compete in all the events with new participants already signed from across Europe and the USA in addition to GC32 founder Laurent Lenne’s SPAX Solutions team and Marwin Sailing Team of Swiss Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi. Details of the new teams will be announced over the next weeks.


By GC32 Racing Tour,



Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths


SSCBC Sorrento

2015 Moth Worlds host club, SSCBC at Sorrento – Photo © Alex McKinnon




2015 McDougall + McConaghy Moth World Championship at Sorrento



The delightful Mornington Peninsula in the Australian State of Victoria is renowned for many items in the natural and culinary worlds. One thing not referred to all that often are the sand or march flies that occupy the area during the Southern Hemisphere Summer. Most travellers know Australia for flies, but the sand fly is larger and bites. Good thing then that they are far slower and really easy to swat on your arm or leg. However, from January 9 to 16, 2015 another species all together are set to fly in. They are the International Foiling Moths and unlike the sand fly, they are really, really quick.

Sailing’s equivalent of the luge or the squirrel suit weigh just 26kg, fly at about one metre above the water and travel at around 60km/h.

Based out of the iconic Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club, the 2015 McDougall + McConaghy Moth World Championship will be sailed on the Southern stretches of Melbourne’s Port Phillip. It is a relatively shallow, but expansive 1950km2 bay that holds 25km3 of water and has already been the location that hosted the 2005 Moth World Championships and also similarly for other classes like Etchells, Dragons and OK Dinghies.

At that time of year, the breeze tends to blow from either the South to Sou’west or alternatively the North and be 10-25knots, which is more than enough to make it an extremely exciting affair for these speed demons. If it is from the Southern quadrant, then the seas will be mostly flat and these craft will literally take off. Should a decent Northerly blow in, then the seaway will build quickly and it will add to the overall excitement and spectacle of it all, just as smartly.

Now there are two men of note who are very much looking forward to the 2015 Moth Worlds. One is indelibly linked to the class and this championship, for his name appears in the sponsors’ title role and he’s racing in it. The other is a former, two-time Foiling Moth World Champion, and both call Melbourne home.

Andrew ‘A-Mac’ McDougall is the man most responsible for taking the Moths on foils into the main game with Bladerider and then Mach2, well before the AC cats sailed above the water. A-Mac is sailing in the 2015 McDougall + McConaghy Moth World Championship.

“Definitely keen to see if I can get that elusive world title, but the body is creaking a lot these days, so I’m realistic as well. A top ten finish would make me very proud. I no longer have a serious speed advantage over the fleet, as they now all have the gear that I developed, so it is far more even out there now.”

“Sailing a Moth is not about being graceful, because there is just no mastering these beasts. If you’re worried about looking tragic, because it will happen, then choose something else!”

McDougall has just returned from coaching Emirates Team New Zealand and is now off to Lake Macquarie to conduct a training camp for Oracle Team USA. “The boats have become more stable through better design, but more adjustable as well. There a lot of nuances you have to know about and then how they match various condition sets. On-water adjustment of every control is really the norm now. It is the one area I can bring a lot to the table for these America’s Cup (AC) teams, as well as years of experience.”

“This will be by far the most contested World Championship we have ever had. So many AC and Olympic sailors are on their way to Sorrento. There are a lot of young guys in the fleet and they are much more agile than us experienced chaps. If it is a windy series it will suit the younger generation, whereas if is lighter it will favour the veteran crowd who will have a full suite of skills with all of those nuances we have just talked about. However, it can all be offset, just by missing one foiling tack, and you could find that you’ve blown your regatta right there!”

“The Moth is the only successful, open development class left because it so small. It is relatively cheap to use top-level technologies, as it does not place it in the hands of the world’s billionaires. However, no matter how much tech you have in the boat, you wont get a win from that alone. It is all about the user-friendliness of that technology and then how you sail it”, McDougall finished by saying.

Rohan Veal won the last Moth World Championship held on Port Phillip, back in 2005. It was held out of the Black Rock Yacht Club, further up the expansive track known locally as, The Bay. Veal commented,

“This was the first time we had a decent number of Moths up on foils. There were around 10 of us and the rest were low-riders. I had been at foiling since 2003 and had been practicing a lot over the Summer just prior to those championships. It must have worked, for I won every race in the series, which had not been done before in the Moth.”

“I do remember winning one race by 17 minutes (over another Moth legend, Simon Payne) in light winds, as I stayed up on the foils. I had been working so hard on getting my technique right. Port Phillip can get rough, which is really hard when you’re up on foils. Indeed one day was totally blown out. Come the last day of the regatta we had just four races in the bag and needed five for a series. Thankfully, another four were run on that final day in absolutely glamorous conditions.”

Veal went on to win the 2007 World Championship as well. This time it was on Italy’s stupendous, Lake Garda, and he did so in similarly spectacular fashion. “It was really difficult in 25-30kn and you felt out of control most of the time. Somehow I did not capsize in that particular race and lapped the second place getter. Back then it was all about control. Practice, practice, practice and manage that lift. When it is tough you have to remember that in order to finish first, first you have to finish. A-Mac could have won two (World Titles). He pushes so hard and damages his craft, which totally blows his regatta.”

“It will be a lot more protected from those Sou’westers at Sorrento. No, I am not dusting the boat off and racing, but I will be there! Rob Gough and Nathan Outteridge are good at getting their altitude correct. You have more controls in the boat now to manage it. Ride height adjusters reduce the risk downwind in big seas of having a major stack”, said Veal.

“The talent pool for this regatta is going to make it super competitive. It would have to be the most ever for any dinghy class – simply unreal. Just count the world titles these people have won in Moths and other classes. Glenn Ashby has 12 alone, plus two Olympic medals. There are easily 30 titles and 12 medals in the group and then there are America’s Cup stars like James Spithill and Tom Slingsby.”

When you look at the entry list it really is a bit like a dream team. There are likely to be six from Emirates Team New Zealand, the same number from Team oracle USA and Nathan Outteridge heads up a contingent from Artemis. The great Iain Percy, who at 100kg is a true heavyweight, is also set to be out there. “It is pretty physical, especially if you go down a lot and have to right it several times, but you keep learning and getting better”, Veal finished by saying.


Mothies BG tm

Bora Gulari – Photo c ThMartinez


As these two experts have already identified, some of the world’s greatest sailors are set to descend on Sorrento. They include superstars like reigning Moth World Champion and Olympic hero Nathan Outteridge, as well as luminaries like Bora Gulari and Glenn Ashby. There are also local young guns such as brothers Sam and Will Phillips, Harry Mighell and Sam England, who is part of a burgeoning female squadron amongst the fleet.

Before all the fun and spectacle there is the Victorian Moth Grand Prix on November 1 and then the Australian Championship from January 6 to 8.

Now if you’re thinking about foiling your Moth on waters used by many a class for their World Championship, then book in now via Where as if you are going to be in the area during January, make sure you check out sailing’s developmental class. Unlike the sand flies, you won’t have to worry about swatting the Moths, for they do a good enough job of that all on their own. The 2015 Moth World Championships are proudly presented by McDougall + McConaghy.

To be a part of the Social Media programme, join the conversation via #mothworlds15 or go and like

Enter Online at

Download the Notice of Race at


By John Curnow


Video wrap up of the EFG MothEuroCup 2014 Season


Moth Euro Cup1 mo


This year EFG sponsored the MothEuroCup. The Cup, with its six acts in six different countries, drew just under 100 participants from 12 countries this summer. Not only were the sailors allured by the beautiful venues, but also for the official prize money given to the top three sailors at each event. In total this season, the moth competitors were awarded just under Euro 14,000.


By Dani Rast


Armin Strom blitzes final day


GC32 Mar Armin sb

Photos © Sander van der Borch / The Great Cup


Foiling GC32 Great Cup at Marseille One Design



Flavio Marazzi and his Armin Strom Sailing Team crew came out all guns blazing to claim first place in the GC32 foiling catamaran class at the inaugural edition of Marseille One Design.

A light forecast didn’t look promising for the fourth and final day’s racing on Marseille’s Roucas Blanc, but the breeze filled in and built to around 15 knots at lunch time and the race committee was able to squeeze in four races before the final cut off of 15:00 hrs local time.

For the first time in this regatta, the sea breeze was from the southwest, blowing into the bay and surprisingly was more volatile than on previous days, very shifty and ranging in strength from 5-15 knots. As a result much came down to the tactical calls and there was more tacking and gybing and splits to opposite sides of the race course. This made for an exciting day with plenty of lead changes and close calls. It was also challenging for the crews with their boats at times fully powered up and foiling, or, at others, coming off the foils and ‘low riding’ when the wind dropped.

The seven straight race wins of Sebastien Rogues’ GDF Suez team finally came to an end when Armin Strom Sailing Team won yesterday’s last race. Today Flavio Marazzi’s crew picked up where it left off, scoring three consecutive race wins, enabling the Swiss crew ultimately to claim the regatta by eight points.

“This is the first official GC32 event that we have won,” enthused Marazzi. “I hope we can win more next year with 10 more boats on the race course.”

Marazzi, formerly an Olympic Star sailor, said that his team’s strength today was improved starting: “We went out there to win more races and to make our life easier and not to get into trouble. We tried to focus on speed upwind and to change the trim a little bit: We are the heaviest team, so it is important to move your weight around.”

Impressively GDF Suez managed to squeak ahead of Armin Strom Sailing Team on the final short reaching leg to claim honours in the last race, crossing the finish line overlapped with Marazzi’s Swiss boat.

Despite this being his first ever regatta on the foiling GC32, Sebastien Rogues and his GDF Suez crew would have won Marseille One Design had it not been for a rudder breakage on the opening day that forced them to count two ‘DNS’ in their scoreline.

“It was not so bad today,” said Rogues. “We knew it was going to be difficult to recover six points on Flavio.”

While he now returns his attention to the Class40 and the prospect of winning this November’s Route du Rhum singlehanded transatlantic race for which he is favourite, Rogues is confident he will be back to campaign his GC32 next season. “It is just an amazing boat,” he said. “Plus I love the spirit of this class and the boat has a lot of beautiful years ahead of it.”

Tactician on board GDF Suez for this regatta was two time America’s Cup helmsman Sebastien Col, who felt he had had his work cut out today: “The wind was really unstable strength-wise. I think Flavio’s team is more used to the boat and they can change modes faster. The GC32 is really different between 8 and 12 knots of wind speed, so you have to change gears quickly as a team, and that requires good coordination and knowledge. However we gave it our best, which was most important.”

Col added that they hadn’t been starting well today, while in this respect Armin Strom Sailing Team had simply out gunned them. “We enjoyed it and we proved that as a team we can have good results in the future, so we are happy,” concluded Col.

Following an injury he sustained on Thursday that has made walking difficult for him over the last two days, GC32 creator Laurent Lenne, was back racing today, taking over the helm of Magic Marine at the last minute from former A-Class Catamaran World Champion Mischa Heemskerk.

Lenne explained: “Mischa injured himself five minutes before we went sailing. So we took it on with a new crew. We finished last, but we were very close and the last race we almost won. We made a small coordination mistake between the crew, otherwise we could have nailed that one.”

As creator the GC32 foiling catamaran, Lenne said he was pleased with how Marseille One Design had gone. This event is being supported by the city of Marseille in the build-up to it becoming European Capital of Sport in 2017.

“We got a lot of national publicity for Marseille here,” Lenne continued. “And we’ve sold some boats! If I’m conservative – I think we’ll have ten boats here next year. I think everyone enjoyed the place. It is beautiful, good wind, good landscape, good food….and rosé! Having ten boats here is going to be awesome!”

While Marseille One Design concludes the racing season for the GC32s in 2014, Lenne intends to take his boat to Miami to train over the winter, where he will be joined by a new American GC32 owner, and possibly by others.

Meanwhile this inaugural Marseille One Design has been deemed to be a success by its competitors not just in the GC32 class but also those racing the new Diem 24 trimarans and foiling Moths. The event looks set to take place annually from now and is set to form part of the GC32’s 2015 calendar, which is due to be announced imminently.


By Icaurs Sailing Media

Armin Strom storms ahead


GC32 Mar D2 gg

Photos © Guilain Grenier


Foiling GC32 cats at Marseille One Design



During a perfect second day of sailing on the Roucas Blanc, with the wind ranging between 10 knots and the high teens, the GC32 foiling catamarans, racing at the inaugural Marseille One Design, had a long day, completing seven races.

At the close of play, Armin Strom Sailing Team continues to dominate, holding 14 points, with GDF Suez second on 23 and Team Magic Marine third on 25. However the lead boat, skippered by Swiss former Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi, did not have it all its own way and her three race wins today matched by French Class 40 legend Sebastien Rogues and his crew on board GDF Suez. In fact everyone claimed a race today with Dutch former A-Class World Champion Mischa Heemskerk and his fledgling crew on Team Magic Marine winning today’s opener – an outstanding performance considering today was only the second on the water for both crew and boat.

Once again the boats were sailing a course similar to those used in last year’s 34th America’s Cup, with reaching starts and finishes and windward-leeward legs in between. The starts in particular were every bit as spectacular with the GC32 catamarans launching off the line, straight up on to foils and ‘fizzing’ their way across to the first mark at speeds at times approaching 30 knots.

Flavio Marazzi’s team prevailed demonstrating superior boat handling and suffering less breakage. Particularly noticeable was Armin Strom Sailing Team’s skilful genniker work, always the faster to deploy at the top mark and least out of control while performing foiling gybes.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m being a pain in the arse for the crew, but I try to push hard and not make the same mistakes twice,” explained the Swiss skipper. “The concentration is really high and the races are only 12-15 minutes and it is working really well. You can always make improvements in manoeuvres and the stability of the boat for different conditions. Especially downwind it is a challenge to keep the boat flat and fast.”

After breaking a foil during practice racing yesterday, Sebastien Rogues’ GDF Suez returned to the race course today and showed the greatest improvement, claiming today’s final three races.

“Our philosophy today was really to try and improve race after race,” explained tactician, two time America’s Cup skipper, Sebastien Col. “We have a new team and Seb Rogues, who is helming, is not used to multihulls, so we need to go step by step. We focussed only on the simple things, like having good starts, not to take risks and trying to spot the good lines and be conservative at the roundings. That was key – it enabled us to build confidence during the day and win three races.”

Col said that the first reaching legs were both the most tense, but equally the most enjoyable. “With all the boats close together it is quite demanding, because we are quite nervous going 25-28 knots down a reach, flying, never knowing if the boat just in front of you or down to leeward breaks something or loses control… So we tend to be more conservative, but in the future for sure we will push more.” He points out that Marseille One Design is only the second event for the GC32 catamarans since gaining foils making them fully airborne earlier this year. “We have to wait a little bit and be more patient on the sports side an on the technical side also. I’m sure next year will be full on,” concludes Col, who is attempting to get his own GC32 campaign together for 2015.


GC32 Mars D2 gg


Technical breakdowns hampered racing from time to time today, and this, as well as tactics and boat handling, caused lead changes in most of today’s races. When Armin Strom Sailing Team suffered a problem with furling her kite, her crew resolved this in around 10 seconds but even this cost them around 200m.

In particular for the brand new Magic Marine GC32 suffered teething issues. Today the Dutch team had among them ‘Mr Multihull’, Loick Peyron, now part of the Artemis Racing Swedish America’s Cup challenge and the man who will race the 102ft trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire VII across the North Atlantic singlehanded in this autumn’s Route du Rhum.

Peyron was sailing here today, mainly because he wanted to, but also because he refers to himself as a ‘test pilot’ for Artemis Racing, who are looking for suitable vessels to help them to America’s Cup victory.

“I really like the GC32s because it is a great size to work on the skills of the crew, for the helmsman, the complete team and it will also be good for younger guys.”

Compared to the AC72s the GC32 has relatively bigger foils. These Peyron says are necessary “because these boats are made to be shown to the public and they need to fly whatever the wind conditions.” While Peyron is used to racing the wing-powered AC45s and AC72s, the soft sails do come with many advantages, notably logistics of mooring the boats at night but also the ability to reduce windage in strong winds, by reefing – impossible with wings.

On Saturday there is set to see a change of complexion for the GC32s competing at Marseille One Design with sub – 10 knot winds forecast. Once again racing will get underway at 11:00 hrs local time.


Follow the live updates from the race course on Twitter @GC32Live.


By GC32 Class media

Foils, flying and an unstoppable Flavio


GC32s in Mar sb

All Photos c Sander van der Borch



GC32 Great Cup at Marseilles One Design



Racing for the foiling GC32s resumed in dramatic style at the opening day of Marseille One Design, run by Sirius Evènements with backing from the city of Marseille. Throughout the day the northeasterly Mistral wind built and for this afternoon’s two races it was gusting to above 20 knots, causing the flying catamarans’ speed to soar at times well above 30 knots.

Star of the day was Flavio Marazzi and his Armin Strom Sailing Team. The team of the Swiss former Olympic Star sailor won both this morning’s practice races and this afternoon followed this up with victory in the first two scoring races of Marseille One Design.

Marazzi attributed his success today to ‘time in the boat’, with more foiling catamaran experience in his crew than his rivals. ‘It is a good result, but I think if you practice it is easier to sail the boat, particularly if you are new to the boat and there’s 15 knots when small mistakes can create problems.’

However Marazzi did not have it all his own way. While there is a strong sense of crews still getting to grips with the state of the art Martin Fischer-designed catamaran, since it became an airborne foiler at the beginning of the year, Dutch former A-Class catamaran World Champion, Mischa Heemskerk, nearly won today’s final race aboard his brand new Magic Marine.

With the boats sailing on an ‘America’s Cup-style’ course, starting and finishing with reaching legs, the final race saw multiple lead changes with the newbie Magic Marine crew ahead for most of the final lap.

‘We made some mistakes,’ admitted Marazzi, trailing at this stage. ‘It is hard to make no mistakes on these boats, but equally it is easy to catch up even if you are 200-300m behind. And it is good fun – the GC32s are rocketships.’


GC32 Mar2 sb


However at the start of the final reach into the finish, when they appeared to have victory sealed, Magic Marine suffered a problem with one of her boards, was unable to gybe, allowing her Swiss rival through.

Nonetheless, Mischa Heemskerk was delighted by the Magic Marine team’s performance, particularly as at midday they were still scrambling to get their boat launched. ‘It is a new team and we haven’t sailed together, so we are still figuring out boat handling during racing,’ Heemskerk admitted. He welcomed this afternoon’s bigger breeze as it meant that his fledgling crew, that includes British Artemis Offshore Academy sailor Rich Mason, weren’t forced to use the genniker on their maiden voyage.

‘We are very pleased,’ Heemskerk continued. ‘Everything stayed together, everything worked. There were minor issues and I am looking forward to tomorrow. The GC32 is a great concept and it is so well built and such fun to sail. You sit at the back of the boat and you look forward and there are four guys with big smiles on their faces.’

Unfortunately the GC32s have not sailed as a fleet since Traunsee Week in Austria in May and Marseille One Design is only their second event since they started foiling this spring. This created a few issues today.

First to suffer was GDF Suez, which during today’s second practice race broke the tip off one of her J-shaped daggerboards, forcing the French to limp back into Marseille’s Roucas Blanc Marina. According to skipper Sébastien Rogues, it was the ‘old’ board that broke just as they had dropped the ‘new’ board in preparation to gybe. Tomorrow he and his team, that includes two time America’s Cup helmsman Seb Col as tactician, will be back on the water with borrowed foils.

This is only Rogues’ first foray into foiling multihulls and despite today’s incident he is ecstatic about the boat: ‘It is just amazing, I love it – it’s a flying multihull. The boat is easy to sail.’


GC32 Mar3 sb


For this afternoon’s two races a short sharp chop had developed and this caught out GC32 creator Laurent Lenne and his Spax Solution crew on the first run of this afternoon’s first scoring race. As Lenne explained: ‘We were doing 35-40 knots in about 25 knots of wind and the boat rammed a wave at full speed. Because the upwind board was neutral [rake], it seemed to hook up the boat and slammed it through 90 degrees.’

This round up was so violent that it tossed overboard Lenne, who was still hanging on to the rudder, in turn causing the rudder housing to break. They recovered but young French sailor Pierre Le Clainche damaged his ribs in the incident and was having trouble breathing. Lenne steered the boat back to shore from where Le Clainche was taken to hospital.

Apart from today’s set-back, Lenne was excited by today’s racing and the level of interest being shown in the GC32. ‘The weather is good, the wind is good and we have delivered a new boat.’ He is also pleased to once again be sailing in his native France, especially now that there are more French sailors getting involved in the circuit such as Sebastiens Rogues and Col, plus another team that is soon to take delivery of a boat.

Racing resumes Friday with a further two races scheduled for the morning at 1100 hrs and another six in the afternoon starting at 1400 hrs, when Spax Solution’s crew will be joined by multihull legend Loick Peyron.


By Sailing intelligence



Everyones talking about the F word


FW Moth v Board mo gps

Photo c Martina Orsini /TFW


Foiling  – the 3rd mode of sailing



The inaugural Foiling Week took place on Lake Garda from 5 – 11 July and is already causing quite a stir in the fast and furious world of foiling.

The new event created by Luca Rizzotti with colleagues Andrea Ratti and Domenico Boffi was dedicated to the designers, builders and sailors of all types of foiling craft from kite foilers to large catamarans.

After a warm up regatta, the Italian Moth Championships had set the scene, the main event consisted of a series of forums where foiling experts could discuss and debate ideas, issues, theories and experiences. A combined mixed fleet then sailed an endurance race around a trapezoid type course off Malcesine on Lake Garda.

The afternoons were available for invitational races, speed runs and boat testing of brand new foiling concept boats, all at a spectacular destination with perfect launching facilities and a fully operational club at Fraglia Vela Malcesine.

Cutting edge designers and top sailors mixed with a sprinkling of adventurers and dreamers to make an eclectic mix of ‘magnificent men and their flying machines‘  coming together for a week of foiling fun and frolics.



FW Cat & Board mo gps

Photo c Martina Orsini /TFW

Invitational Races & Speed Runs

The endurance race held in a gusty 12 – 16 knots on a trapezoid type course off Malcesine became quite a contest between the foiling kites and the Moths, each trading places on different legs of the course. In the end it was the kites who got the edge with local Simone Vannucci (ITA) scoring two bullets to win from Austrian Adrian Geislinger and Slovenian Toni Vodisek in third. Daniele Domenicale (ITA) was fourth in a single foiler and Australian Josh Mcknight, the first Moth in fifth overall.


Some of the craft on display on and off the water


GC32 Class  with CEO – Andrew ‘Maca’ MacPherson

More familiar looking to fans of the AC72 is the GC32. Designed to fit in a trailer you can tow behind your car, and to be rigged and launched without a crane, GC32 Class CEO has grandiose plans for the GC32 Great Cup circuit.

‘Maca’ believes he could get 20 or more GC32’s foiling at a number of regatta locations all over the globe in the next few years!

Its a boat that can easily take sponsors for rides, whilst in Lake Garda, one of the demo boats sailed by Sebastian Col and Josh Macknight hit 37.9 knots on the lake with two guests onboard!

The GC32 may also be evidence that the design space of practical foiling catamarans is converging. It has the same length to width ratio, and the same exact daggerfoil rake range, as the AC62 Class rule according to Kevin Hall of Artemis Racing.

NB: Our run with two journos onboard effortlessly achieved 35 knots in 15 knots of breeze on Lake Garda!


FW GC32 record

 Photo c Sander van der Borche


C-Fly and offshore speed projects

The British C-FLY project is a catamaran with diamond foils on the bows. It’s a successful concept-proving boat. Their goal is to break ocean going records on foils. The sea-keeping characteristics of their design and the prototype are notable. The idea for this design is consistent reliable lift through seaway, not top speed in flat water.

Standby for another ocean-record foiling pursuit to be announced soon. Vestas Sailrocket 2 and Paul Larsen and his team have similar plans to sail across oceans above the water the whole way.


Seminars presented by legends of foiling

The morning forums featured legends of the sport, past and present including Martin Fischer, Tom Speer, James Grogono and Andrew McDougal to name just a few. See for the full list.


Martin Fischer, a member of the Groupama and Oracle tri design teams, designer of the Flying Phantom and design team of the GC32 catamaran, amongst many others, was first up to as the keynote speaker on day one.

Martin provided a historical overview of foiling accompanied by an absorbing in depth presentation on the five main components of foiling consistently: Lift, Heave Stability, Pitch, Robustness and Cost!. With the memories of the last AC still very much in mind, there was a lot of emphasis on the word ‘Stability’.


Tom Speer – Oracle Team USA – Aero & Sail Project Leader

Tom had the seminar audience glued on the second day with his subject matter: “The hydrodynamics of A Class Cat foils and stability”

Tom’s analysis of the design of A Class cat foils will be an absolute must for all budding A Class cat sailors. His graphs comparing the evolution of foils from J, C, L and Chevron foils has some very interesting conclusions.

Kevin Hall (Artemis Racing) commented  “The primary assumption was that the windward foil will remain down. This means the tradeoffs are very different to those on the AC72”

At the end of the week Tom was invited to go sailing on the GC32 cat. He looked slightly hesitant climbing into his sailing gear but try wiping the smile of his face when he came ashore!

“Having spent 40 years working with teams on foiling this is the first time I have ever gone foiling myself” he remarked!


Andrew ‘AMac’ McDougall (Moth builder & sailor)

With 40 years of experience of Moth development and construction ‘AMac’ gave the keynote speech on the final day, describing the development of the tools he has used to design cutting edge sailboard sails and Moths for the last 30 years.

He also dropped a hint on the impending launch of the ‘Waszp’ a revolutionary new mini moth design due to be launched in a couple of months time.

The Waszp prototype is similar in design to the Moth but with a smaller sail area with the club sailor in mind. It has a wishbone boom, collapsible wings that neatly fold into a box and can be transported with ease.

Standby for the launch very soon.


FW Moth amac gps

Photo c Martina Orsini /TFW



James Grogono – (Designer & Sailor)

Designer and sailor of Icarus and nicknamed ‘the grandfather of foiling’, James is one of the pioneers of foiling craft delivered his speech – ‘60 years of Icarus – from failure to success’.

James invented the first hydrofoil conversion of a standard sailing catamaran. For 10 years he held a ‘secret’ idea that foils would add speed to fast small sailing boats. There was no easy way of testing this until publication of the Tornado design in 1967. A perfect platform for foils had been created fortuitously by the designer.

In 1969 he acquired a Tornado, designed and structured wooden foils, screwed them on, and set sail. ‘Icarus’ flew slowly above the water, but suffered various failures and breakages. There was no incentive to progress into high tech metal foils without accurate speed measurement, so he applied himself, with others, to creating the sport of ‘Speed Sailing’.

In 1972 the first Speed Week was held at Weymouth, UK. ‘Icarus’, with her new metal foils, was the fastest hydrofoil, reaching 21.5 knots over the 500m course.

Over the next 15 years ‘Icarus’ held the B Class Record at speeds which increased slowly up to 28.4 knots. Grogono played a large role in ‘Mayfly’ and ‘Icarus 2’, which were one-man and three-man versions of the same concept.


Icarus jg gps

Icarus – c James Grogono



Kevin Hall (Artemis Racing AC team)

Kevin Hall explained some of the strategies used when approaching an AC35 team campaign. Kevin was head of the Performance and Instruments Department at Artemis Racing leading up the their 2013 effort to make it to the America’s Cup. With all the interest in the new AC62 Kevin held the attention of the room, you could have heard a pin drop!

“The passion in the air was so thick you could cut it with a foil.” said Kevin after the event.


Forums and Round table discussions

There has never been an event where so many experts had gathered in the same room with a common interest. One attendee remarked:  “If the Foiling Week seminars where run 10 years ago, many of the designers and boat builders could have saved a lot of time and money by sharing their knowledge at this unique forum of expert minds!”

Additional speakers presented studies on Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Foil shapes with much discussion about stability, ventilation and cavitation.

One discussion led to an estabished need for a fast foiling stable support boat/Rib for regatta support and media use. Boat designers around the room were scribbling  notes.


See website for playbacks of forums

See the foiling week website for playbacks of the seminars and interviews with panelists.



FW Moth & Board mo gps

 Photo c Martina Orsini /TFW



Weird and Wonderful – ‘Wacky Racers’

In the boat park there were craft including foiling kiteboards, foiling windsurfers, an abundance of Moths and a number of prototypes like the 5.9, (A Class look alike cats), the Mirabaud LX (monohull-tri, you be the judge?) and even the W:Foil, resembling something out of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ a propeller powered motor vessel that caused some amusement as it attempted to foil the length of Lake Garda!

The important thing about the many different platforms is not how they were different. They were brought together by the common joys of flying above the water instead of sailing on it.


FW Mirabuad LX cf gps



The best thing about The Foiling Week was being under one roof. The joy of investigation and discovery, the step-change in performance brought by foiling, and the passion which comes from sharing these things face to face.

Who needs boat shows when you can go on a demo run during Foiling Week and showcase the best that foiling can offer?

Kevin Hall remarked on his blog: “The Foiling Week on Lake Garda could easily become the mecca of modern sailing and design.  The enthusiasm from organizers and participants matches the grandeur of the vision perfectly. I hope sponsors are already climbing over each other for next year’s event”

An event not to be missed in 2015!


By Johno Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing