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GC32 foiling catamaran due in Auckland, sponsored by Zhik

by on 8 Oct 2015
Spindrift - Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour 2015 Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
Team Vodafonesailing has confirmed that a GC32 foiling catamaran will be arriving in Auckland in early November and is expected to be racing a few weeks later.

Designed by Dr Martin Fischer, the GC32 is similar to the foiling catamarans used in the America's Cup - but with a conventional soft sailed rig. The main lifting foils are large, allowing the boat to get foil-borne in the widest range of conditions from 7 knots of windspeed.

The large foils also make for a relatively stable ride, reducing pitching. Contrary to expectation, the large foils seem to have little effect on top end speed – a GC32 has been clocked at 39.2 knots. The large foils also enable the GC32 to foil upwind, although this requires 18-20 knots of windspeed.

Owner and skipper of Team Vodafone Sailing, Simon Hull said in a media release that having raced the team's ORMA60 trimaran for over six years, it was time to take on a new challenge.

“We have a great bunch of dedicated crew, and the whole team are pretty excited to take on this new adventure,” Hull explained.

“Foiling is the direction that sailing is heading, and we feel that to remain at the forefront of high performance sailing we have to start foiling.'

The team will continue to race the ORMA 60. However, the GC32 will enable the team to sharpen their claws on Auckland's established foiling fleet, which regularly competes in club racing.

TeamVodafoneSailing has also announced that its boats will be fully branded with Zhik, the clothing apparel brand favoured by top Olympic sailors. The Australian developed range is fast making inroads into off shore and other forms of high-performance sailing including America's Cup.

Earlier it was announced by Zhik's Australian founding company that Simon Hull and Multihull Ventures will be trading as Zhik NZ and representing the Zhik range in New Zealand.

“The brand is very well known for its dinghy products, and also its brilliant new range of yachting gear,' said Hull in the announcement. 'The apparel is “made for water”, and we are looking forward to getting out and spreading the word into new areas geographically, and into new water sports.

'It is great to be involved with products we use, know and love in the sailing world, and we look forward to growing our New Zealand presence, working with our established network of stockists, and also through developing new areas.”

Both the ORMA 60 and GC32 will carry substantial Zhik branding, further lifting its profile in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

The Zhik GC32 is expected to become a familiar sight on the Waitemata Harbour and beyond. The 32ft foiling catamaran is a similar size to the 33ft SL33's that have been racing in Auckland. However, the GC32 uses a more refined version AC72 first generation foiling technology.

The GC32 is fitted with a conventional catamaran rig with rotating mast and three sails (main, jib and gennaker). Compared to an AC72’s wingsail, the GC32’s rig configuration is easier for regular sailors to adapt to and makes the logistics of running the boat far simpler, in particular, docking and transportation.

The GC32 also has a better all-round foil package, than the AC72, and is easier to helm and get foil-borne,

The GC32 class is a strict one-design and limits the sail inventory that can be used by a team during the season. Currently, it is sailed on the Bullitt GC32 circuit in Europe.

Unlike the AC72, hydraulics are not used by the GC32. The pitch of the rudder T-foil and J foil daggerboard is altered during racing using a line-driven worm drive.

In August, the Extreme Sailing Series have announced that they too will use the GC32 in their racing, replacing the Extreme 40 displacement catamaran for the 2016 season.


Length (overall): 12.00m
Length (hull): 10.00m
Beam: 6.00m
Weight: 950 kg (Including sails)
Draft (upwind): 2.10m
Draft (downwind): 1.60m
Mast height (above deck): 16.50m
Bowsprit length: 6.60m
Mainsail: 60.00m²
Jib: 23.50m²
Genniker: 90.00m²

About the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

The GC32 is a 10m long (12m including bowsprit) by 6m wide foiling catamaran conceived by Laurent Lenne.

Her hulls and foils were designed by Dr Martin Fischer, previously a leading F18 catamaran designer with his Capricorn, Hobie Wildcat and Phantom F18 designs and who was part of the design teams behind the Groupama ORMA 60, maxi-trimaran, VO70s and Groupama C C-Class catamaran. Until recently he was a designer with the Italian Luna Rossa America's Cup Challenge.

With structural engineering carried out by Brett Ellis (ex-Alinghi/Luna Rossa), the boat is built in carbon fibre throughout by Premier Composite Technology in Dubai, builder of the Carkeek 40HP, 47HP and 60 and the Farr 400.

The foils are manufactured by Heol Composites in France: The GC32 features T-foil rudders and J-shaped daggerboards/foils, similar in concept to those used on the AC72 America’s Cup catamarans.

The boat is demountable with a two piece mast for easy transportation.

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour 2015

27-31 May: Austria Cup - Lake Traunsee, Austria
24-27 June: Cowes Cup - Cowes, UK
29 July-2 August: Kiel, Germany
27-30 August: Rome Cup - Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy
30 September-3 October: Marseille One Design - Marseille, France

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