Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Extreme Sailing Series - GC32s showcased in Nice

by Sailing Intelligence on 9 Oct 2013
Spax Solution GC32 in action during the Extreme Sailing Series Act 7 Nice © Christophe Launay
A new chapter began for the GC32s last week when they joined the Extreme Sailing Series for the penultimate Act of the Land Rover-backed 2013 stadium sailing catamaran circuit in Nice, France.

While the main attraction remains the Extreme 40 catamaran racing, the Series events are slowly evolving into mini sailing festivals, with multiple attractions, rather than just one. Thus on Nice’s Baie des Anges each day between 1000 and 1300, racing between the two GC32s - Laurent Lenne’s SPAX Solution and Flavio Marazzi’s Marwin - has been a warm-up act for the Extreme 40s.



Amsterdam-based Frenchman Laurent Lenne, the GC32’s creator, explains what being in Nice means: 'The association with the Extreme 40s is an important endorsement: to be accepted as a good enough class to join them and be part of the spectacle. It showed what the possibilities are, being alongside the Extreme 40s, because we both race catamarans and have a similar vision. It is just different formats.'

While the boats are different, the GC32 courses are longer than the ultra-short ones the Extreme 40s sail, but they still have a turning mark immediately off the VIP tent on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais.


For both Lenne and Extreme Sailing Series organisers OC Sport, Nice has been a ‘toe in the water’ exercise, which may lead to the GC32s joining more ESS events in Europe next year.

Sailing on the Cote d’Azur in the autumn usually means light winds, but on this occasion crews have been challenged by 20+ knot winds and a large and short sea. Nonetheless the GC32s performed well.

'There’s been a lot of wind, so there have been some challenges out there,' said Lenne. 'We were bearing away in 25 knots and the boat was fully flat going 28-29 knots and passing through the waves very well. It feels very safe. But we designed the boat to be able to handle these conditions, to be able to go through this sea state, both upwind and downwind. We are very happy with it.'

A design from New Caledonia-based catamaran guru Martin Fischer and built by Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai, the GC32 is a state of the art catamaran, with buoyant bows, but it is the double-S profile daggerboards and L-shape rudders that ensure she behaves well in stronger conditions.


As Andrew Macpherson, Chief Operating Officer for the GC32, observes: 'There have been some ‘moments’ as you’d expect in 20+ knots and two metre seas, but the comment from all the crews is that with a reef in above 20 knots they feel totally safe. You could still throw it around and do your turns upwind and down. And going downwind the bows are completely clear of the water which allows you to push harder.'

Despite the lively conditions on the first two days, racing between the one design catamarans has been tight, with the starts proving vital and the boats regularly overtaking each other on both the upwind and downwind legs. At the end of Saturday SPAX Solution and Marwin were tied on 5-5.

Lenne commented: 'It’s been really close - up and down all the time. We have had some really good racing, good starts, crossing each other all the time, upwind and downwind. It’s full on. Not easy.'

Mathias Buhler, an Olympic Nacra 17 catamaran sailor who stood in for Flavio Marazzi helming Marwin on Saturday added: 'We were both overtaking each other. It was nice racing. Today, conditions were very tricky, especially in the first race. But we were lucky - the forecast was pretty light, but in the end only the first race was in bad conditions. All the other races were fair.'


Sunday dawned to extremely light winds. But with the GC32 only requiring a minimum of three knots of wind for racing, the two boats were able to compete in the 5-6 knot offshore breeze, coping happily with a difficult, left-over chop from the windy days. Where the teams were so matched in performance the previous day, in the softer breeze Marwin’s accurate positioning at the start put them at a strong tactical advantage as they cruised away to five straight victories on Sunday.

'An amazing day,' said Buhler, buzzing from his dominant performance on Sunday. 'I can’t wait for the next event, provided Flavio [Marazzi] lets me out to play again!'


In Nice, the GC32 racing has been broadcast live to the internet via Livestream, which Lenne says is also an important part of the circuit’s offering. Meanwhile he is soon to appoint a Class Manager for the GC32 and is in the process of negotiating with event organisers to finalise the 2014 calendar for The Great Cup, the circuit for the GC32s.

A successful America’s Cup held in catamarans has helped. 'We’ve seen a big difference since July. I had some meetings before then with people who were saying, ‘yes, maybe we’ll have catamarans in two or three years’. Now they are coming back telling me they want to move towards catamarans now! The live streaming is also very appealing. We have on board cameras and we can do interviews on the boats. That is good for the The Great Cup

InSunSport - NZBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearT Clewring Cruising

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
World Sailing President nominated by 45 Member National Associations
Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has welcomed nominations from 45 Member National Associations Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has nominations from 45 Member National Associations [MNAs] for his re-election as the President of Sailing’s International Federation. Nominations for the position of President have been formally published by World Sailing and show widespread support for Croce.
Posted on 25 Sep
GC32 Racing Tour – Team Engie heads to Act 4
The fleet of hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans will meet again in Andalusia (Spain) for the fourth stage of the circuit Sotogrande, which is located some 25 km from Gibraltar, looks to be a tricky course for the GC32s. Over four days the seven crews competing in this circuit will again provide us with a stunning and intense show.
Posted on 21 Sep
GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup sets sail tomorrow
At present on the third podium place, but hoping to rise higher is Armin Strom Sailing Team of GC32 Class President. At present on the third place of the podium, but hoping to rise higher is Armin Strom Sailing Team of GC32 Class President, Flavio Marazzi. The Swiss former Olympic Star sailor has been rotating crew this season, and this includes himself. Kiwi match racing champion, Phil Robertson, stood in for him at the last event, Copa del Rey MAPFRE, where they finished second.
Posted on 21 Sep
Team Oman Air look to preserve their lead in Madeira
Team Oman Air is intent on upping the ante when racing gets underway at the Extreme Sailing Series’ new venue in Madeira Team Oman Air is intent on upping the ante when racing gets underway at the Extreme Sailing Series’ brand new venue in Madeira in a bid to safeguard and increase their five-point overall lead throughout the remaining three events in 2016
Posted on 19 Sep
Rolex Regattas attract more than 350 boats in U.S.
The Rolex Big Boat Series is the third and concluding event of the 2016 Rolex Yachting calendar in the U.S. The Rolex Big Boat Series is the third and concluding event of the 2016 Rolex Yachting calendar in the U.S., and it will close out the year with a bang. A record fleet of 127 boats has registered for the 52nd edition of the regatta that begins tomorrow and is hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay.
Posted on 15 Sep
M32 Series - Ian Williams unstoppable in Stockholm
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar were crowned champions of the M32 Scandinavian Series today after winning the series final Ian Williams and GAC Pindar were crowned champions of the M32 Scandinavian Series today after winning the series final in Stockholm. The local teams skippered by Hans Wallén and Nicklas Dackhammar couldn’t get close enough to challenge the British skipper in front of the crowds at Riddarfjärden.
Posted on 11 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series - Images from the final day in St Petersburg
Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water for the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series in St Petersburg Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water for the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series in St Petersburg, Russia. She reports that there wasn't a lot of win for the GC32 foilers, but plenty of sun, rain and the inevitable rainbow.
Posted on 5 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series - More images from Day 3 of racing in St Peters
Russian photographer Eugenia Bakunova was on the water for the third day of the GC32 Series Russian photographer Eugenia Bakunova of sailing website mainsail.ru was on the water for the third day of the GC32 Series in St Petersburg, Russia, and provided this second gallery of images from the day. Not a lot of wind so less foiling today.
Posted on 4 Sep
Extreme Sailing Series - Images from Day 3 of racing in St Petersburg
Russian photographer Eugenia Bakunova was on the water for the third day of the GC32 Series Russian photographer Eugenia Bakunova of sailing website mainsail.ru was on the water for the third day of the GC32 Series in St Petersburg, Russia. Not a lot of wind so less foiling today.
Posted on 4 Sep