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First ever GC32 World Championship will take place on Lake Garda

by GC32 Racing Tour 16 Dec 2017 14:45 GMT 23-27 May 2018
Action at the GC32 Championship in Oman last March. A record-sized fleet is expected on Lake Garda in May 2018. © Jesús Renedo / GC32 Championship Oman 2017

With the GC32 officially receiving World Sailing recognition last month, the GC32 International Class Association is pleased to announce that its first World Championship will take place in Riva del Garda, Italy on 23-27 May, 2018. This will see the fleets of the GC32 Racing Tour and Extreme Sailing Series competing on the same race track.

GC32 International Class Association President Simon Delzoppo commented: "On behalf of the GC32 International Class Association I would like to thank World Sailing for making the GC32 a recognised class. The World Championship will be the pinnacle event in the GC32 season. It is a great endorsement for the GC32 class and will help attract a record number of foiling catamarans to compete on the same start line." Delzoppo, who comes from Australia, will be helming his Racing at the event, having joined the GC32 Racing Tour in 2017 as an owner-driver.

Also returning is defending champion Oman Air, winner of the first GC32 Championship held in Muscat, Oman in March. The Omani team recently finished a close third overall in the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series following its final event in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Oman Air's mainsheet trimmer Peter Greenhalgh commented: "I think it is a great step for the Class to have an official World Championship. Last year we won the 'Class Championship' with Oman Air and it was a fantastic event. The GC32 is a great boat and extremely fun to race on. Put more than 12 on a start line and you could have some of the best racing in the world."

Greenhalgh is also looking forward to competing on Lake Garda. "Riva will be an amazing venue to showcase these foiling boats in their first World Championships."

Returning to Garda for the first time since winning the GC32 Riva Cup and the overall GC32 Racing Tour in 2016 is French America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas with NORAUTO powered by Team France. The former Volvo Ocean Race winner is pleased the GC32 has received World Sailing recognition: "This class is very nice because it is the only international foiling catamaran 'big boat' class and it is good to have all of the people who like to fly on it here." Cammas is already a flying catamaran champion, having won the last two International C-Class Catamaran Championships in Falmouth and Geneva.

Having finished second to Oman Air at the GC32 Championship in Oman, Alinghi, of two time America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli, is returning with the aim of going one better in 2018. The Swiss team recently concluded the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series in second overall.

"First of all – the Class has done a fantastic job class to get the 'World' label from World Sailing - the GC32 is the most recognised foiling catamaran class above 30ft," says Alinghi Team Leader, Pierre-Yves Jorand. "It is a great achievement to have finally done that. We are all looking forward to a great World Championship on beautiful Lake Garda. Holding a championship in the middle of Europe is a good idea since it will ensure as many participants as possible take part. Hopefully we will get some good breeze and high boat speeds."

The GC32 Riva Cup held out of Riva del Garda has been the opening event of the last two seasons of the GC32 Racing Tour and for GC32 Racing Tour participants the World Championship will double as the first event of their 2018 season.

Giancarlo Mirandola, President of host yacht club, Fraglia Vela Riva, welcomed participants to Lake Garda. "I'm very happy that Riva has been selected as the venue for the first GC32 World Championship. The organisers and Fraglia Vela Riva have successfully run two editions of the GC32 Riva Cup. We enthusiastically welcome the foiling catamarans and their crews again in 2018.

"Through the GC32 we have had the opportunity to welcome some of the world's most famous sailors from the America's Cup and Olympic classes. Here the most advanced sailboat racing mixes with the club's and the city of Riva's tradition and history. Lake Garda-Trentino once again will be centre stage of state-of-the-art sailing, as it has been in the past, hosting new classes and racing formats."

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