Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Generic 728x90

Stars of the sailing world congregate in Lagos for GC32 Worlds

by GC32 Racing Tour 26 Jun 12:26 PDT 27-30 June 2019
Sir Ben Ainslie returns to Lagos with INEOS Rebels UK for the GC32 World Championship © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / ISAF

Olympic heroes, America's Cup winners, Volvo Ocean Race champions and some of sailing's most capped World Champions are in Lagos on Portugal's Algarve for tomorrow's start of the GC32 World Championship. The line-up for this second event on the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour, taking place with the support of the City of Lagos, Marina de Lagos and Sopromar, comprises ten teams from seven nations, from afar afield as China, the USA and Oman.

An 11th hour recruit for Sébastien Schneiter's Team Tilt is Glenn Ashby, skipper of America's Cup defender Emirates Team New Zealand. Ashby helped coax Team Tilt to win last year's GC32 World Championship and has found time to sneak away from his Cup duties to help them defend it. However he admits: "My last yachting was the A-Cat Worlds in Queensland last November. The office hands are going well since I've had to start pulling ropes again."

Ashby understands the importance of a world championship. Personally he is a ten time winner and defending champion of the singlehanded A-Class Catamaran Worlds. As to Team Tilt's chances this time, he is realistic. This is the first time since they have sailed their GC32 since last year's Worlds, so they have had to go back to basics.

As to Lagos, Ashby is impressed: "From what we have seen it is absolutely ideal - beautiful flat water 70% of the time and good breeze, sunny and warm. It is pretty much perfect for sailing foiling boats."

He is not the only current America's Cup sailor in Lagos. Sir Ben Ainslie, who is challenging with INEOS Team UK, is here with his INEOS Rebels UK team. Aside from being the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, with his unmatched tally of four golds and one silver, Ainslie also won the America's Cup in San Francisco with Oracle Team USA, as did his GC32 jib trimmer Joe Newton. However most impressive is the number of Olympic medals on board the British GC32 - in addition to Ainslie's haul is Giles Scott's Finn gold from Rio 2016, where Iain Jensen won 49er silver, adding to his gold medal from London 2012. Their fifth crew is Luke Parkinson who won the Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

"It is really nice to be back in Lagos - it is a great venue," says Ainslie, who first raced the GC32 here last year. "We had some fantastic racing here last year and this time we have a few more teams and we've had a bit more practice in the boat. It is nice to have Team Tilt back to defend their title. They will be really strong with Glenn Ashby coming across from Team New Zealand, so there'll be a bit of Cup rivalry!"

Equally accomplished, but in different spheres of yachting, is France's Franck Cammas, skipper of NORAUTO. Among his accolades are winning the Volvo Ocean Race, France's top offshore race the Route du Rhum, a former holder of the Jules Verne Trophy for sailing around the world the fastest, as well as being a multiple champion in the ORMA 60 trimaran class. He also won last year's GC32 Lagos Cup.

"It is a good place to race," says Cammas of Lagos. "It is normally flat water. We had two days last year with a strong offshore wind, which was very nice because it was flat but also shifty. Last year we had a good result, but the fleet is different this year. We hope to do better than in Villasimius [the first event of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour]. There we had some good results and some bad ones, so we need to be more consistent. We are not far away, but we are not as steady as the guys in front."

Cammas skippered the French challenge for the last America's Cup in Bermuda and several of his crew from that are on board Erik Maris' Zoulou, while another former America's Cup skipper is France's Seb Col, who is tactician on board Jason Carroll's Argo this season. This week both Maris and Carroll will be gunning for the GC32 World's owner-driver trophy.

One of the most successful sailing teams of all time is Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi, two time winner of the America's Cup, which is also won the last season of the Extreme Sailing Series.

Arnaud Psarofaghis is standing in here for Bertarelli, but denies there will be more pressure because it is a World Championship. "There is no pressure, but we have to win and we want to have some great racing. On the water it will be the same. Everyone will push hard, but teams may be more disappointed at the end if they don't win the World title." Alinghi has had a crew change since Villasimius with Nicolas Charbonnier moving on to main and tactics, Bryan Mettraux on trim, Yves Detrey on bow and Timothé Lapauw back from injury on board rake.

A third team from Switzerland, new for this season, is Christian Zürrer's Black Star Sailing Team, on which four time Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi is sailing. Two key crew on board Red Bull Sailing Team are also significant Olympians - skipper Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher were gold medallists in the Tornado catamaran at both Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

Oman Air and CHINAone NINGBO are both skippered by New Zealanders who are former winners of the Match Racing World Championship. Oman Air's Adam Minoprio claimed this title in 2009 before going on to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. His Oman Air team comes to Lagos having won the first event of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour in Villasimius.

CHINAone NINGBO is on a steeper learning curve. Skippered by 2016 champion Phil Robertson, he and his crew are fresh from campaigning the Chinese entry in the New York stopover of SailGP last weekend.

"We are a little bit behind the 8 ball but we'll try and play catch-up," admits Robertson. "The line-up looks tough and there are a lot of really good boats - all of the best guys are congregating at this event." For this event, the Chinese team includes two more 'Robertson regulars' Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski.

Racing starts tomorrow at 1300 and concludes on Sunday. In addition to the regular racing will be the Cascade Sopromar Speed Challenge. In this the team recording the highest average speed will win five double rooms for three nights at Lagos' 5 Star Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort.

www.gc32racingtour.com

Teams competing at 2019 GC32 World Championship:

Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis
Argo (USA) Jason Carroll
Black Star Sailing Team (SUI) Christian Zürrer
CHINAone NINGBO (CHN) Phil Robertson
INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) Ben Ainslie
NORAUTO (FRA) Franck Cammas
Team Oman Air (OMA) Adam Minoprio
Team Tilt (SUI) Sebastien Schneiter
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

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
PandB 2019 Autumn Sale - FooterNaiad 660x82px_TouristVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1