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Toulon chosen for GC32 Racing Tour showdown

by GC32 Racing Tour 7 Feb 15:36 GMT 10-14 October 2018
Racing gets underway at the America's Cup World Series in Toulon in 2016 © Eloi Stichelbaut

Traditionally the GC32 Racing Tour always concludes in the south of France and for the 2018 season, its grand finale will take place in Toulon. Running over 10-14th October, the GC32 TPM Med Cup will be held on the Rade de Toulon, just off France's third biggest Mediterranean port and capital of the Var department.

While nearby Hyères is the better known sailing venue thanks to its annual Olympic classes events, Toulon is fast gaining notoriety in yacht racing circles having hosted the high profile French stop of the America's Cup World Series in September 2016.

Racing at that event with Groupama Team France was Thierry Fouchier, who will return to Toulon this season sailing in the GC32 Racing Tour aboard Erik Maris' Zoulou.

"The Rade de Toulon is a nice area for sailing, surrounded by land and well protected from the waves, which is good for the GC32," says Fouchier. "So the race course is really nice, but the atmosphere...I was really surprised when we sailed the AC45s there, the amount of people that spent time watching the races from the rocks or from close to the Village. It was impressive and we couldn't have expected more. It is a good sign that people from Toulon are interested in sailing, which will be good for the GC32s this season. It will be a great success, I think."

The prevailing wind in Toulon is westerly and the average wind speed for mid-October is around 10 knots, but mostly between 5 and 15 knots, providing plenty of opportunity for the GC32s to fly. "I think it will be a highlight for the region, because the race course is nice and, since the America's Cup World Series, the local people are really interested in foiling. Hopefully we will be able to put on a good show for them."

A French grand finale also bodes well as at present two highly competitive French teams are signed up to compete on the GC32 Racing Tour in 2018. In addition to Franck Cammas' NORAUTO powered by Team France, the 2016 champion, there will be Erik Maris' Zoulou. Interestingly both boats are sailed by former members of Cammas' America's Cup challenge, Team France. Given that either or both of these top teams is expected to be on the podium, or even leading the GC32 Racing Tour once they reach Toulon, this season's French grande finale is already lining up to be a thrilling one.

Hubert Falco, President of the Metropolis of Toulon Provence Méditerranée welcomed the GC32 Racing Tour: "Our Metropolis is pleased to welcome once again an international maritime sports event. The GC32 TPM Med Cup will bring together the world's sailing elite on the waters of our harbour, just like they did for the French stage of the America's Cup World Series in September 2016. Once again, this October the public will be able to admire the 'Formula 1 of the seas' just off our Metropolis. The TPM Metropolis reaffirms, through its organisation and hosting of such exceptional sports events, its maritime position!"

The GC32 TPM Med Cup is being jointly organised with Sirius Events, the GC32 Racing Tour's oldest partner. Managing Director, Manfred Ramspacher, said: "For the fifth time since 2014 Sirius Events will co-organise the final event of the annual GC32 Racing Tour, one of the most highly competitive sailing circuits in Europe: the Rade de Toulon offers us a stretch of water particularly well suited to foiling as this large harbour is protected from most wind directions. The site in the suburb of Mourillon will allow us to locate all parts of the event in the same place – close to race course, with berthing for the boats and a race village – enabling us to share this great sports event with all the Toulonnais and inhabitants of the Metropolis."

Christian Scherrer, Manager of the GC32 Racing Tour, added: "I am pleased that the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour will culminate in Toulon, a new venue for us. It is certain to provide a great conclusion to our season."

The 2018 GC32 Racing Tour will kick off with its first ever official World Sailing-sanctioned GC32 World Championship. This will take place in Riva del Garda, Italy over 23-27th May.

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