Today, the GC32 Austria Cup was up to full strength with three boats back on the start line. The first ever regatta for the new catamaran class’, after a vital part arrived overnight for SPAX Solution Sailing Team.
Unfortunately due to a front passing this part of Austria, the warm summery conditions gave way initially to chilly winds, then rain and ultimately very light winds. As a result only two races were held on the course directly off the Allianz Traunsee Week race village in Gmunden.
The first race between Laurent Lenne’s SPAX Solution Sailing Team, the Andreas Hagara-steered AEZ GC32 Team Austria and Flavio Marazzi’s Marwin was held in a light, but stable southerly wind blowing up the length of lake.
Marazzi led up the first beat and chose his sides well to take the first win of the day as SPAX and AEZ GC32 Team Austria jockeyed for second. The Dutch team rolled the Austrians coming into the leeward gate only for Hagara’s crew to relieve SPAX of second on the finish line.
There was a long wait for the second race as the light fickle wind went through a 180° turn before ending up vaguely in the southeast and still very shifty. In this the Firefly team started strongly on a puff taking them out to the right. The Dutch team helmed by former Tornado Olympic sailor Pim Nieuwenhuis led around the top mark with former Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio uncharacteristically last, half a leg behind. However all three boats bunched up coming into the leeward gate effectively making for a restart. Firefly led around and as she and Minoprio sailed off to the right, they parked up. Meanwhile AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team, in a ‘zero to hero’ move, went left hard left, hugged the shoreline, found breeze and crossed the finish line first, more than four minutes ahead of her rivals.
'It was really good,' said Max Trippolt, 22-year-old skipper of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team. 'Our tactician Hanno Sohm did really good. He saw the pressure on the left side near the land.'
The Austrian Youth team has been punching above its weight all this week, winning the first day of racing. Trippolt partly attributes this to their being one of the few crews here who regularly sail together. Earlier this year they put in much work attempting to get a berth in September’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. 'We understand each other without much talking. I know my crew well,' says Trippolt.
Flavio Marazzi perhaps had fire in his belly after the GC32 crews awoke this morning to the news of the terrible loss of Andrew Simpson. A Star class double Olympic medallist, Simpson was drowned when the AC72 catamaran of America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing broke up and capsized in San Francisco Bay yesterday.
In tribute to Simpson PRO Stefan Puxkandl, himself a former Olympic Star sailor, asked for a moment’s silence at this morning’s skippers briefing.
Marazzi regularly competed against Simpson in his campaigns for Beijing 2008 and London 2012. 'It was a big shock for me this morning,' the tall Swiss sailor admitted. 'I felt really sad. It always happens to the best. We’ve spent some days training with him over the last eight years in the Star. We have children the same age. He only joined the Artemis project a few months ago.'
As to his winning performance today, Marazzi says he doesn’t think of himself as a lake racer having spent the last 10 years mostly competing outside of his native Switzerland. 'The first race was really nice with different pressure, but only small shifts compared to the second race. It was a fair race with a good start. It is interesting to sail with three boats. You can match race, but you have to take care about the third boat.'
Scoring for the GC32 Austria Cup was modified today with the overall results from the first two days of racing each now counting for one point (tomorrow’s round robins will carry a X2 co-efficient and on Sunday X3). As a result Marazzi’s Marwin team has pulled into the lead overall but is just one point ahead of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team and Adam Minoprio.
Sadly the forecast is not looking good for tomorrow, with rain and further light winds anticipated. But Traunsee is a lake in the middle of some giant mountains and forecasting here is more whim than science.