The Great Cup’s first ever event has just concluded in Austria, the competitive debut of the 32ft semi-foiling catamaran, the GC32. The Daily Sail's James Boyd asks one of the brains behind the GC32, Andrew McPherson, for his rundown on this hi-tech flyer....
RACE REPORT FROM THE FINAL DAY AT THE INAUGURAL GC32 GREAT CUP EVENT IN AUSTRIA
For the final day's racing, while Flavio Marazzi and his Marwin crew set a brisk tone of the day port tacking the fleet with a giant hull fly off the line in race one, it was again Kiwi former Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio who continued his relentless string of race wins to end the regatta first overall, eight points ahead of Marwin.
“I didn’t have high hopes of winning, but I didn’t have any other goal,” said Minoprio of his success in his first ever multihull regatta. “I am a little surprised I won. I am pretty happy with how quickly we managed to start sailing these boats fast around the track, but the guys I had sailing with me with put in a big effort.” Sailing with Minoprio were Andy Dinsdale (GER/USA), Thomas Tschepen (AUT) and Diego Stefani (ITA).
From here Minoprio sets out this year to reclaim the Alpari World Match Racing Tour title, but hopes to return to The Great Cup. “It is definitely a whole lot of fun. The GC32 is a great boat: It is very nice to sail, it gets up and flies a hull in six knots of wind and you can zoom around a track. It is a great package.”
Flavio Marazzi has taken to his new GC32 catamaran with the same intensity with which he undertook his Star keelboat campaigns for the last three Olympic Games.“It was a really great experience with six teams,” he said. “The boats are very equal. It is hard to be always be on top.”
From Austria, the Great Cup heads to Marazzi’s native Switzerland for the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve on 8th June, followed by the Bol d’Or Mirabaud a week later. Before those Marazzi intends to compete in other ‘long distance’ lake races in Zurich and on Lake Constance. “The idea for this year is to do a lot of promotion and activity to be in the media and to get sponsors,” he says.
The surprise result of the regatta was that of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team, skippered by 22-year-old Max Trippolt. The Austrian youngsters didn’t end the regatta well, but won day one and claimed some major scalps along the way, including Minoprio’s, to end the regatta a worthy third among the six teams.
“We thought that it would be much harder for us, because they are all really professional crews,” said Trippolt. “It was really good, because we weren’t familiar with the boat, but the team did a really good job.”
French businessman, Laurent Lenne, creator of The Great Cup, has much to be pleased with from this first regatta of his brand new catamaran circuit. “I am pretty proud of what we have achieved in the last five days. Everyone worked very hard and every day we were doing things better from the live streaming to pushing out the information, etc. And the sailing got better. Looking back at it, I’m happy.”
Lenne has had the monumental task of not just conceiving the Martin Fischer-designed GC32 catamaran built by Premier Composites in Dubai, but also the circuit for it – the Great Cup circuit. He has been ably assisted by throughout by leading Australian catamaran expert, Andrew Macpherson.
“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of this year,” said Lenne, whose day job is running SPAX Solution, a leading IT systems integration company in Amsterdam. “Some things only arrived in the office two days before we left to come here. It was very aggressive planning, but you need to show you are doing a lot for the class and to demonstrate what we are capable of. We want everyone who joins the class to understand that they will be getting a minimum quality of service.”
Lenne has also brought some ground breaking technology to the event with a WiFi network spanning most of Lake Traunsee, enabling live TV to be streamed to the internet from on board boats, cameras on the water, etc.
Around all this Lenne also found time to sail his new boat and after a slow start, started winning races in what is his first ever regatta in a multihull bigger than an F18.
“Today our speed was really good and we got a second and a first. Obviously you are racing Adam Minoprio and he is not easy, but we have got really good speed and our communication is getting better. It has been a privilege sailing against these guys.”
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