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Hagara and Steinacher to sail final regatta of their careers on 4-7 November in Mar Menor

by MPG 4 Nov 2021 02:36 PDT 4-7 November 2021
Celebrations on board Red Bull Sailing Team, as Hagara and Steinacher claim their first World Champion in 22 years - GC32 World Championship © GC32 Racing Tour / Sailing Energy

Austria's double Olympic champs from 2000 and 2004 will lead the Red Bull Sailing Team one more time in a high-speed season climax.

The grand finale of the GC32 Racing Tour 2021 will also be a grand farewell to the leaders of the Red Bull Sailing Team - summer sport icons Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher - who are lowering the sail on their competitive careers after the event. The Austrian team arrives in Mar Menor, Spain on a high after a stunning triumph at the GC32 World Championship.

The 2021 GC32 Racing Tour finale will mark a milestone for the Red Bull Sailing Team, as its founders and longtime leaders Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher - two of the early proponents of flying on foils - bring their competitive careers to a close in a field of state-of-the-art foiling catamarans. After capturing their first GC32 World Championship just weeks ago, the five-man team currently holds second overall on the tour leaderboard, and with a prime sailing location and top teams to challenge, this sendoff will be unforgettable.

The highly anticipated regatta is part of Spanish events commemorating the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth, and for the first time, the series will sail on Mar Menor's 170 sq km saltwater lagoon - Europe's largest. Because it is separated from the Mediterranean by a 22km-long sandbar, the lagoon can provide windy, flat water conditions that are optimum for foiling. Further, the water's high salt content should enable the flying multihulls to achieve their highest speeds, nearly 80 km/h. Defending tour champions and current leaders Alinghi (SUI) have previously trained in Mar Menor, and that familiarity could make them especially hard to beat.

Joining legends Hagara and Steinacher on Red Bull Sailing's GC32 will be trimmer Rhys Mara and board trimmer Mark Spearman from Australia, as well as bowman Julius Hallström from Sweden. Having raced together across two seasons, the team is close knit, with experience that took them to third place overall in GC32 Racing Tour 2019 in addition to the recent World Championship victory. Emotion is bound to be high as they sail together with their mentors for the last time.

"It's hard to believe this will be the final regatta for Hans Peter and me, but I couldn't have imagined a better finish to our competitive careers - winning a new world title with our fantastic team and now racing in this beautiful location," said Hagara.

With their season goal of winning the World Championship already accomplished, the pressure is off and Red Bull Sailing will be savoring the chance to secure, or possibly even better, their potential podium position. Besides challenging Alinghi they'll need to fend off strong contenders in their wake, such as Black Star Sailing (SUI), Rockwool Racing (DEN) and Zoulou(FRA). That's all part of the excitement as they celebrate a successful season.

"Our whole team is focused and fired up. We will be all-in, but this is all about fun, not stress," Steinacher says. "It's such a privilege to be part of the great sport of sailing, and Roman and I are going to enjoy every minute in our last regatta."

The fourth and final act of the GC32 Racing Tour runs from Thursday through Sunday, 4-7 November 2021.

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