On the third day of the GC32 Austria Cup, in order to make up for Friday when only two races were held due to light shifty winds on Lake Traunsee, a monster day of racing took place on Saturday for the catamaran sailors from eleven nations.
Conditions were grey, overcast and at times rainy, but the light southerly or southwesterly wind blowing up the lake was stable enough for most of the day. Winds were typically sub-10 knots, just enough for hull flying, with all-too-rare gusts above this.
First the remaining six races of yesterday’s round robin were completed. This worked out best for the two Austrian teams: the Max Trippolt skippered AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team and AEZ GC32 Sailing Team, the ‘oldies’, led by former Tornado World Champion Andreas Hagara. They finished on equal points two ahead of Adam Minoprio in third. Minoprio would have tied with them had an issue with the gennaker furler on the Marwin boat they are sailing not caused them to fall from first to last.
With 16 races held today, impressively all six team won a race at some point. This included a first two bullets for The Great Cup’s creator Laurent Lenne and his SPAX Solution Sailing Team.
'That was the first day when we didn’t have anything to think about with the organisation,' said a beaming Lenne. 'We went into the racing well, we weren’t too tired so we were concentrating better and we got two firsts! After that we sailed really well, but we made a few mistakes, which was the reason we didn’t end up very high.' One mistake was touching the weather mark and having to carry out a penalty turn, while in another race they were over early.
It should be remembered that while Lenne is an experienced F18 catamaran sailor this is his first regatta helming a big catamaran. 'We have got good speed, but we have to work on the starts and corners,' he admits.
Star performer of the day was once again Adam Minoprio, who last year competed in the Volvo Ocean Race with the Emirates Team New Zealand crew aboard Camper. In the double points scoring round robin two, the Kiwi former Match Racing World Champion and his crew were unbeaten.
'It was rather tricky this morning,' said Minoprio. 'The breeze was flicking around a bit and it was a bit cold, but it is fun, we’re having a good time. One knot more breeze and we’d have been flying a hull the whole time which would make it more fun. But there are three of us and we are still managing to have some good racing.'
Marwin, steered by Swiss Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi, was second overall in today’s round robin with the two AEZ boats and SPAX tied in third.
Going into the final day Minoprio holds a five points lead over Marwin/Marazzi while the AEZ-backed Austrian youngsters are in third place overall, a really impressive performance from this talented crew of 20 somethings.
Tomorrow is the final day of this inaugural event of The Great Cup when another round robin will be held, this time coming with a 3X points co-efficient. With such significant weighing attached to the results, whoever sails best tomorrow is likely to win the regatta.
A special guest was in Gmunden for the GC32 Austria Cup today. Leading multihull and foil designer Martin Fischer, a German who now resides in New Caledonia, was in town to see the first ever regatta for the GC32 catamarans he designed.
'I must say I am really happy with the boat,' said Fischer, who also designed the foils on Franck Cammas’ Volvo Ocean Race winner Groupama. 'The brief was to make a boat that is relatively safe, that isn’t necessarily the quickest boat for on a lake – there are for sure quicker boats - but a boat that is fun to sail on lakes and also on open water. That was a bit difficult, but in the end the boat performs really well and in fact it is a bit quicker upwind than I expected, which is good.'
Fischer was also impressed by Allianz Traunsee Week. 'I thought it would be much smaller event, but it is integrated into a bigger event and it was a nice surprise to me to see how well that works. Obviously three boats are not enough, but it’s a start and seeing this I am even more optimistic that it will get off the ground.'
Fischer says The Great Cup’s creator Laurent Lenne did a fine job in conceiving the boat. 'The idea was to do a boat that is suitable for a private person or a small company. The second thing was to put into place a system so that you can go to a race with a full crew in one car plus a trailer. That is why we limited the crew to four – it brings the costs down a lot.'