Please select your home edition
Edition
Vaikobi 2019AUG - Leaderboard 1

Strongest ever fleet assembles for GC32 Racing Tour 2019

by GC32 Racing Tour 23 May 09:57 BST 23-26 May 2019
Practice racing today off Villasimius - 2019 GC32 Racing Tour - Villasimius Cup © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

The 2019 GC32 Racing Tour sets sail on the 23rd with ten of the one design flying catamarans completing in Sardinia at the GC32 Villasimius Cup.

Villasimius and nearby Capo Carbonara - the southeasternmost tip of Sardinia are a jewel of a venue thanks to their mountainous backdrop and white sandy beaches, plus the azure waters and exotic marine life of Capo Carbonara's protected maritime area and the Notteri pond with its pink flamingos. It comes as little surprise that Villasimius is popular as a destination not just for tourists but increasingly for yachting. This week's GC32 Villasimius Cup represents the third consecutive year that the flying catamaran circuit has visited.

"It is a great pleasure to return to Villasimius, knowing that we've played a part in putting it on the sailing map," says Christian Scherrer, Manager of the GC32 Racing Tour.

With ten teams competing at the GC32 Villasimius Cup, the line-up is the strongest since last year's GC32 World Championship. With the Extreme Sailing Series now not being raced in GC32s, so Alinghi, Red Bull Sailing Team and Team Oman Air supported by EFG Bank Monaco have commuted across to the GC32 Racing Tour.

They are expected to be particularly strong: Alinghi, historically most successful of all the Extreme Sailing Series teams, is here with Ernesto Bertarelli helming. Team Oman Air has recruited one of the most successful GC32 helms of all time former Match Racing World Champion and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Adam Minoprio. Red Bull Sailing Team sees the return of Austrian double Olympic Tornado catamaran gold medallists Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher.

They join America's Cup helms such as Sir Ben Ainslie, back after finishing second in last year's GC32 Racing Tour, now helming INEOS Rebels UK and Team France skipper Franck Cammas, a former Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum winning skipper.

Cammas and his NORAUTO team start with the strongest credentials as defending champion of both the GC32 Racing Tour and of the GC32 Villasimius Cup. "It's the second time we've raced in Villasimius," says Cammas. "Last year we won the event. It's going to be tougher this year, but we'll try to sail well."

As to the level of competition, Cammas reckons: "It is much higher than last year, with the two fleets consolidated in one. The teams coming from the Extreme Sailing Series have top professional sailors, very well practiced because they had seven or eight regattas every season. Winning is going to be much harder."

Representing the US, Jason Carroll's Argo is also back, having won the Villasimius Cup when it was first held here in 2017. Argo is defending champion in the GC32 Racing Tour's owner-driver championship. Argo is one of three teams competing here for the owner-driver prize, in addition to Alinghi and Erik Maris' Zoulou. The French Zoulou crew has been putting in solid practice for this season, buoyed by finishing third overall last year.

Sadly, not competing in the owner-driver championship is the 10th and final team to announce its participation at the GC32 Villasimius Cup Codigo Rojo Racing from Argentina. Sadly for personal reasons Federico Ferioli has has to pass the helm over to Guatemalan Nacra 17 sailor Jason Hess, a former a trimmer on board and now usually team coach.

"It's going to be tough because it's the first event now that the GC32s from the Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series are racing together," observes Lucas Gonzalez Smith, Codigo Rojo's Team Manager. "The level has gone up, with teams coming from the America's Cup or SailGP. Everyone has come well prepared. We're looking forward to seeing where we are in the fleet."

A new team to the GC32 for this season is Black Star Sailing Team from Switzerland. Brainchild of former A-Class catamaran sailor Christian Zuerrer, this uses both Flavio Marazzi and his GC32 with a crew of Swiss and British sailors. Like Gonzalez Smith, Zuerrer, who will be on mainsheet, says he is keen to see where they are in this strong fleet. "We have a good crew. It is our first event. We will see how we go. We've had two training sessions in Port Camargue."

With racing running from Thursday until Sunday 23-26 May, PRO Stuart Childerley is anticipating getting in up to 20 windward-leeward races with a mix of upwind and reaching starts, as conditions permit. The wind is forecast to be brisk tomorrow with 15-20 knot southwesterlies forecast before lightening temporarily on Friday.

Of the racing in Villasimius NORAUTO's Franck Cammas observes: "The race area is very interesting, with different conditions. It's nice but never easy, especially with westerly winds that can generate a chop - a delicate situation for foiling catamarans."

The GC32 Villasimius Cup is taking place with support from Comune di Villasimius, Area Marina Protetta Capo Carbonara Villasimius, the Marina di Villasimius and the Lega Navale Italiana Sezione Villasimius and Regione Sardegna.

"I'd like to thank all of the stakeholders in the event, but particularly everyone in Villasimius who helped once again enable the GC32 Racing Tour to visit your beautiful venue," concludes Christian Scherrer.

The GC32 Racing Tour is supported by Marinepool, WIP Forward and GAC Pindar.

Teams competing at GC32 Villasimius Cup

  • Alinghi (SUI) Ernesto Bertarelli
  • Argo (USA) Jason Carroll
  • CHINAone NINGBO (CHN) Phil Robertson
  • Codigo Rojo Racing (ARG) Lucas González Smith
  • INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Ben Ainslie
  • NORAUTO (FRA) Franck Cammas
  • Team Oman Air (OMA) Adam Minoprio
  • Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara
  • Zoulou (FRA) Erik Maris

2019 GC32 Racing Tour schedule

  • 22.-26 May: GC32 Villasimius Cup / Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy
  • 26-30 June: GC32 World Championship / Lagos, Portugal
  • 31 July-4 August: 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE / Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • 11-15 September: GC32 Riva Cup / Riva del Garda, Italy
  • 6-10 Nov: TBA

More information:

Related Articles

Oman Air finishes 2nd overall in GC32 Racing Tour
The four days of racing off Al Mouj Marina in Muscat tested the fleet of international crews The GC32 Racing Tour Oman Cup has been hailed as a great success, following exciting and highly competitive sailing in Muscat. Posted on 9 Nov
GC32 Oman Cup overall
Clean sweep for Alinghi as she claims 2019 GC32 Racing Tour In yet another flawless display by the world's top catamaran sailing team, Alinghi today won the GC32 Oman Cup and the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour. Posted on 9 Nov
GC32 Oman Cup day 3
Oman Air begins her ascent While it may have been their turn to be top scoring boat on day three of the GC32 Oman Cup, the maths is not looking great for Oman Air in their fight with Alinghi to become 2019 GC32 Racing Tour champions. Posted on 8 Nov
GC32 Oman Cup day 2
Zoulou warriors beat the drum in Oman The breeze for day two of the GC32 Oman Cup was just that vital couple of knots more, allowing the catamarans to fly fully, were it not for the unusually large sea state running off Muscat's shore. Posted on 7 Nov
Young Omani experiences GC32 Oman Cup racing
The young Omani won a competition to join the team on the water The young Omani won a competition to join the team on the water as the crew aims for a podium finish in the GC32 Racing Tour finale! Here's how the race action unfolded! Posted on 7 Nov
GC32 Oman Cup day 1
Alinghi on World Championship winning form Regardless of what the wind was doing, the only consistency on the water was shown by Alinghi, where a lifetime of competing in the fickle winds of Lake Geneva clearly paid dividends today. Posted on 6 Nov
Team Oman Air look forward to title decider
Winner-takes-all showdown in the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour Team Oman Air is getting ready for a dramatic winner-takes-all showdown in Muscat that will decide the outcome of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour title. Posted on 6 Nov
GC32 Racing Tour 2019 finale - All in...
Fervour is rising on the docks of Muscat's Al Mouj marina Fervour is rising on the docks of Muscat's Al Mouj marina going into tomorrow's GC32 Oman Cup. This is the fifth and final of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour and among the participants is strong potential for match racing one another. Posted on 5 Nov
2019 GC32 Racing Tour's Oman finale
Neck and neck going into the final event of the season After 73 races, across four events in three countries, the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour's finale, taking place next week in Oman, could not be closer. Posted on 30 Oct
GC32 Riva Cup overall
Alinghi claims GC32 Riva Cup by a whisker While Alinghi has led at the end of every day of racing at the 2019 GC32 Riva Cup, the Swiss team was on the ropes this afternoon when their arch-rivals Oman Air, in seemingly unbeatable form Posted on 15 Sep