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GC32 World Championship at Lagos, Portugal - Overall

by GC32 Racing Tour 30 Jun 2019 19:44 PDT 27-30 June 2019
GC32 World Championship winners Alinghi at full pace today. © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

Having looked secure, leading by 16 points going into the last day, Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi team, helmed by Arnaud Psarofaghis, scored a 2-1-1 in today's first races to win the 2019 GC32 World Championship with two races to spare - an incredible result given the calibre of competition racing here off Lagos, Portugal.

"I feel very happy - although it hasn't sunk in yet," said Psarofaghis. "It was a really tough week of racing. The shore team and the guys on board did a fantastic job. We only had two bad races out of 17. It was a perfect job by the team - to win with two races to spare is great in this kind of fleet. With Team Tilt second, it is a great day for sailing in Switzerland."

Having lost two races to light conditions yesterday, there was concern this morning when the forecast northwesterlies disappeared, to be replaced by fickle southeasterlies. Fortunately the prevailing offshore winds did re-establish shortly after 1300, allowing the day's full five race schedule to be completed in exceptional conditions culminating in a final race of the Championship in winds gusting to 20 knots.

Aside from Alinghi, the Sébastien Schneiter-skippered Team Tilt also had an exceptional day. They starting out with a convincing win in the first race. Then across four more races they scored no results worse than a fifth, including the third race when they successfully pulled off a port tack start on the fleet. Having started the day fourth, this consistency elevated the defending World Champions, assisted here by Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby, to second overall.

"We quickly learned what we were doing badly and well, improved every day and just sailed better and better," said Schneiter. "The first day cost us a lot, so recovering to second was probably the best we could hope for. I am pleased the whole team fought for every point. They kept believing. It shows a good spirit in the team."

INEOS Rebels UK claimed the final position on the podium although only by a point and in possibly not the manner skipper Ben Ainslie would have preferred, including two collisions for which the British team picked up three penalty points. "We were quite aggressive and pushed it a bit too hard and got caught out!" acknowledged Ainslie. Remarkably after the second of these incidents - going for a space at the start of race four between CHINAone NINGBO and the race committee boat, that left them trailing in last position - the British America's Cup challengers went on to win the race. "It is quite often the way with this fleet that you have a bad start, peel out and get free from the rest of the fleet and come through," Ainslie continued. "You just get clear air and a lane. It was a tough day, but our last couple of races were solid."

Franck Cammas and NORAUTO also had an exceptional day posting all podium finishes, bar one and winning the final race. "One of the crew from CHINAone NINGBO fell in the water in front of us - we stopped and stayed to keep an eye on him," recounted Cammas. "After that all the boats behind us gybed and went direct to the lay line." At the time they had been holding third but the incident caused them to end the race eighth. "So we lost the podium when that happened," said a resigned Cammas. "We enjoyed today a lot, especially the last race."

As some consolation, in recording the fastest average speed on Friday resulted in NORAUTO winning the Cascade Sopromar Speed Challenge and the prize of five double rooms for three nights at Lagos' 5 Star Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort.

Finishing sixth overall and winning the Owner Driver prize at this GC32 World Championship was the longest standing GC32 team - Argo of American Jason Carroll that came out ahead of Erik Maris' Zoulou. "It was very exciting - it was pretty unstable so there were a lot of position changes all the way around the race course," said Carroll of today's racing. "We had moments of brilliance today, but no particular day was brilliant. I really enjoyed our 4-3-2 on the second half of the first day when we were all working well together."

After a strong first three days, Oman Air had a disappointing final day that caused them to finish fifth while the Roman Hagara-steered Red Bull Sailing Team led race four until they were overhauled by INEOS Rebels UK. Even GC32 newbies Christian Zuerrer's Black Star Sailing Team were on the ascent today, posting a fourth and third in the final two races at this, their second ever GC32 event.

But this GC32 World Championship belonged 100% to Alinghi. As Team Manager Pierre-Yves Jorand stated: "Being GC32 World Champion with such as great team is fantastic. Maybe the points don't reflect it but in the on-the-water battle every single metre counted. This is the culmination of several years spent on this type of boat. The sailors sailed very well, the shore team prepared the boat very well. The opposition was fantastic. The venue was great. The local authorities and organisers have been fantastic with us to solve small issues. Having 18 races in such great conditions was really amazing. It has been a beautiful event. I am very happy and very proud of the entire team and the whole support team here and in Switzerland."

The 2019 GC32 World Championship took place with the support of the City of Lagos, Marina de Lagos and Sopromar. The GC32 Racing Tour now moves on to its third event, Copa del Rey MAPFRE in Palma over 31 July to 3 August.

Overall Results:

1. Alinghi (SUI) 57points
2. Team Tilt (SUI) 74points
3. INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) 78pts
4. NORAUTO (FRA) 79pts
5. Oman Air (OMA) 86pts
6. Argo (USA) 102pts
7. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 109pts
8. Zoulou (FRA) 128pts
9. CHINAone NINGBO (CHN) 137pts
10. Black Star Sailing Team (SUI) 141pts

Full results can be found here.

Team Tilt finishes second at GC32 World Championships (from Team Tilt)

Team Tilt claimed second place at the GC32 World Championships this weekend after a superb performance against some of the best teams in the world. The young team hadn't sailed their foiling catamaran since they won the championships themselves in 2018.

Alinghi (Arnaud Psarofaghis) claimed the title with Ineos Team UK (Ben Ainslie) completing the podium in third place.

Throughout 18 races in ideal foiling conditions, Sebastien Schneiter, Lucien Cujean, Jeremy Bachelin, Nils Theuninck and Glenn Ashby held their own against the nine other teams. Lying seventh at the end of day #1 on Thursday, the crew quickly found their feet on the GC32 catamaran and worked their way up the ranks over the next three days of racing.

While Alinghi quickly took the lead overall, Team Tilt, representing Omega, Jiva Hill Resort and Société Nautique de Genève, battled for second place right up until the last round, fighting off Ineos Team UK, Norauto (Franck Cammas) and Team Oman Air (Adam Minoprio) for the prize. The four young sailors and friends took the best of Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby's experience onboard.

With a third place at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2017 and the GC32 World Championship title in 2018, Team Tilt's latest result is a welcome addition to their palmares!

Sebastien Schneiter, Lucien Cujean and Nils Theuninck will now return to Japan to join the Swiss Sailing Team and resume their Olympic preparations.

Sébastien Schneiter, skipper: "We got stronger throughout the week, we were clearly lacking training hours on the water, but we learned a lot on day #1 and that showed in our results on day #2. Finishing second at the World Championships with no training really shows the potential of the team! I'd like to congratulate Alinghi on an excellent week and I'm really happy the title will be staying in Switzerland for another year!"

Glenn Ashby, mainsail trimmer: "It was a great week of racing. The conditions were ideal, I loved sailing again with the boys. Hard to have a better week than this one in terms of competition, it doesn't get much better than this ! Compared to our amount of training, I am really satisfied with our result."

Jérémy Bachelin, foil trimmer: "Having been apart for a year, it was wonderful to be sailing with everyone again onboard the GC32. Glenn brought a lot to the team; we all know each other so well after such a long time!"

Team Oman Air aim for Palma comeback after an unanticipated GC32 Worlds in Portugal (from Oman Sail)

A determined Team Oman Air are already looking forward to their next event on the calendar after a frustrating final day at the GC32 World Championships in Portugal saw them slip down the leaderboard.

Having led the 10-strong fleet of high-speed foiling catamarans after the first of four days of racing, and then maintained second place up to the start of Sunday's deciding races, a disappointing run of results saw Oman Air finish in fifth place.

With a win in Sardinia last month at the opening event of the GC32 Tour season to their credit, the Oman Air crew of skipper Adam Minoprio, Nasser Al Mashari, Peter Greenhalgh, Stewart Dodson and Adam Piggott are now looking to return to form at the next regatta.

This is the Copa Del Rey Mapfre in Majorca at the end of July, where the Oman Air team and the other GC32 crews will be able to showcase their skills at the Mediterranean's well-established and prestigious multi-class regatta.

"It was a tough day here and very frustrating," admitted New Zealand skipper Minoprio, reflecting on a disappointing second half of the event. "The wheels just fell off a bit, for whatever reason.

"We weren't sailing the boat slowly, we weren't doing bad manoeuvres. We thought we were using the same tactics and decision making that worked so well over the first two days, it just seemed that every time we rolled the dice to try and get past someone it just went against us."

And he added: "We are definitely looking forward to Palma so we can right some of the wrongs of this week, and try and get up back to the top of the leaderboard and feel good about ourselves."

It's a positive view echoed by Omani teammate Al Mashari, who said: "It is only the second event of the season and we will learn from it and look forward to the next one in Palma where we will be trying to push harder."

Team Oman Air - which is also supported by EFG Private Bank Monaco - are now second in the overall 2019 season standings, tied on points with INEOS Rebels UK skippered by four-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Ben Ainslie. However, their old adversaries aboard Alinghi now have a lead of three points at the top of the table after a dominating win in Lagos, Portugal, which saw the Swiss team crowned 2019 GC32 World Champions in a standalone event which also counts towards the GC32 Tour.

Another Swiss entry, Team Tilt, whose crew included America's Cup winner Glenn Ashby, finished second in the world championships, with INEOS taking third ahead of Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas' Norauto team.

Team Oman Air and the GC32 Tour return to action at the Copa Del Rey Mapfre in Palma, Majorca from July 30 to August 3, with two further events scheduled for the season.

Seventh place for Red Bull Sailing in GC32 World Championship (from Fabian Ress)

Red Bull Sailing had mixed results in a high-tension regatta in Lagos, Portugal that served as the GC32 World Championship as well as the second stop of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour.

The racing on the shores of Portugal's Algarve region included America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners as well as Olympic champions like Red Bull skipper/helmsman Roman Hagara and tactician Hans Peter Steinacher, who finished the intensely fought act in seventh. Switzerland claimed the top two spots on the World Championship podium, with two-time America's Cup winners Alinghi on the top step and Team Tilt in second, while Sir Ben Ainslie's INEOS Rebels UK took third-place honors.

Here's everything you need to know:

  • Wind conditions were deceptively tricky, changing throughout the four days of racing on Portugal's southernmost shores. With 10 top teams from seven nations racing simultaneously for the World Championship in addition to GC32 Racing Tour points, contact happened on a number of occasions, and Red Bull Sailing was involved in collisions on Day Two and Day Four.
  • Quote: "We aren't happy with our result. We did have some race podiums, but with inconsistent results over the four days plus two fairly big collisions, you can't win," said Hagara. "We are already fully focused on the next act, and we know what we need to do. We have a strong young crew, and we'll be fine-tuning our boat and making the teamwork even tighter so that we're ready to move forward when we start racing in Spain. In the meantime, congratulations to Alinghi. They definitely deserved this win."
  • In addition to Hagara and Steinacher, the Red Bull Sailing team at the GC32 World Championship included Australians Rhys Mara (trimmer) and Mark Spaermann (board trimmer), as well as Sweden's Julius Hallström (bowman).
  • Alinghi took the lead in the World Championship on Day Two of the regatta and never looked back, sitting out the final race on Sunday because they had already clinched the World Championship.
  • The GC32 Racing Tour course configurations are similar to those used in the America's Cup, designed to allow the carbon fiber foiling catamarans to reach their maximum speeds. Three more acts remain on the 2019 tour, which for the first time will crown its season champion outside Europe, at a venue to be announced.
Next on the calendar: Red Bull Sailing will race in the prestigious Copa del Rey MAPFRE, where the Spanish royal family will present the trophies, when the third act of the GC32 Racing Tours sets sail in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, from 30 July through 3 August 2019.

Chinese team racing in Extreme sailing against world's best sailors from New Zealand, US Chinese celebrity HU Bing arrives as global brand ambassador to cheer on ChinaOne Ningbo Sailing Team in the GC32 World Championships, Lagos, Portugal (from ChinaOne Ningbo Sailing Team)

As the only China flagged team in world class high-speed sailing, ChinaOne Ningbo team battled with the world's top teams in the GC32 World Championship fleet in Lagos, Portugal.

The Chinese flag, flying with a speed of 30 knots or 56 kilometers per hour over the Atlantic Ocean in front of the port of Portugal: the first time participation of the fully Chinese owned sailing team ChinaOne Ningbo in one of the fastest and most prestigious sailing races in the world, the GC32 in Lagos, has thrilled audiences equally on site as in the whole world - and turned the famous actor and fashion icon Hu Bing into a huge fan and supporter for Chinese sailing.

GC32, which stands for "Great Cup", is a race of hydro foiling catamarans with a length of 32 feet or 9,75 meters and counts as "Extreme sailing". Compared with the catamarans used at the Americas Cup, the GC32 catamarans are relative to the boat's size substantially larger, making them more controllable and easier to steer. The "fast and furious" experience attracts some of the best current and recent America's Cup sailors to the GC32 circuit, which comprises five events every year.

As the only team from Asia competing in the high-speed foiling GC32 catamarans, ChinaOne Ningbo team came on the final race day on Sunday in on a respectable 8th position and was proudly flying the flag for Chinese sailing. ChinaOne Ningbo sailing team, representing the city of Ningbo, is the top Chinese professional sailing team, having won the M32 World Championships the last two years consecutively (2017 and 2018). Led by former New Zealand Americas Cup winner CEO Craig Monk and skippered by Phil Robertson, the ChinaOne Ningbo team is this year competing against the very best in the world in the GC32 World Championships, including recent Americas Cup teams from the UK, Switzerland and New Zealand.

At the GC32 Event in Lagos, ChinaOne Ningbo announced the team's new global brand ambassador Hu Bing, Portugal. Mr. Hu Bing is a famous Chinese actor and fashion model. He was a competitive rower for Team China ranked 7th in the world and remains a sport and sailing enthusiast after retiring from his own professional sports career.

In 2007, Hu Bing participated in the 32th America Cup event in Valencia Spain to help launch "Team China". The new brand ambassador is amazed by the charm of sailing: "This is absolutely different than what I imagined. The GC32 Word Championship is such a challenging and exciting event, I'm thrilled to see a Chinese sailing team competing in a world-class highspeed racing, being part of this team has made me feel both honored and very proud."

For the GC32 World Championship 2019 in Lagos, ChinaOne Ningbo has teamed up with sailors of Team China from SailGP. SailGP is an international racing circuit recently launched by tech billionaire and passionate sailor Larry Ellison. This is not the first time for them to have a joint force crew, the combination is meant to offer more opportunities for Chinese professional sailors. With the line-up of Olympians, America's Cup winners, Volvo Ocean Race champions and some of the most celebrated professionals, ChinaOne Ningbo has been successfully raising the profile of Chinese sailing on the international stage.

Hu Bing says:"This was my first time on a GC32 sailing boat and I absolutely loved it. The boat was such a wonder of aerodynamics. I love to see the team working with so much intensity and precision. Like a performance of ballet dancing."

Hu Bing was excited over the "Fast and Furious" adrenaline rush experience. He add: "China has such an extensive coastline, you can see busy trading ports at every turn but few places for sailing. I really hope people will start to learn the joy of sailing and watersports. It's great that ChinaOne has the support of Ningbo government. I do hope more corporations and brands come forward to support this."

Philip Sohmen, Co-Chairman of ChinaOne Sailing says, "ChinaOne Ningbo's vision is to create a team that is competitive at the highest levels internationally to promote sailing in Ningbo and China, develop sailing talent and put the dynamic port city of Ningbo firmly as an international sailing destination. We are proud to be the only Chinese flagged team competing in the GC32 Racing Tour."

Ms. Alex Sun, co-founder of ChinaOne Ningbo says: "We are so thrilled to have Mr. Hu Bing as global brand ambassador, sailing has some way to go to becoming a mass sports in China. We hope his involvement would inspire more people to take an interest in sailing."

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