2016 GC32 Racing Tour announced

Following a successful conclusion to the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour at Marseille One Design last month, the circuit’s organisers have been looking ahead to 2016. They can now confirm that a minimum of six teams will be participating, with more due to sign up to the foiling catamaran one design circuit over the winter months. 

With a season running from May until mid-October, the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour will be held exclusively at southern Europe venues that offer optimum wind conditions in order for the ultra-high speed catamarans to spend as the maximum time foiling. ‘Sun, speed and spectacle’, will be the watch words of 2016 with teams able to offer a VIP experience to their guests in the most beautiful venues. 

“You can’t predict this far out what the weather will do, but the aim is to increase the chances of the boats racing in 10+ knot conditions most of the time,” explains well known Swiss sailor and race organiser Christian Scherrer, the new Manager of the GC32 Racing Tour. “This is more than enough to get the GC32s not only foiling comfortably, but sailing at more than twice wind speed…Our goal is to provide the teams with the best possible sailing for these boats and with this format we maximise their time afloat and increase the enjoyment of the foiling-racing experience.”

Like previous GC32 seasons, the aim is to remain with four day long events, with modern America’s Cup-style courses with reaching starts and finishes and other race formats tailored to provide maximum enjoyment and thrill factor for crews. The larger race areas provided by the GC32 Racing Tour provide ample runway for the foiling catamaran to reach maximum speed, as well as increased safety while racing. 

Optimum conditions and less sub-10 knot ‘marginal foiling’ conditions should also make it easier for newcomers to get to grips with the foiling GC32 catamaran.

The finalised dates and venues for the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour will be announced over the next few weeks. The Tour promises to be a hit with teams looking for a taste of modern day America’s Cup-style foiling catamaran racing on a now well-developed boat capable of speeds approaching 40 knots. Thanks to being a one design, it avoids escalating costs and is small enough so it can be towed between venues either on a trailer or in a container, minimising transportation expenditure. 

The organisers can already confirm a minimum of six teams will be participating in 2016, with more due to sign up to the foiling catamaran one design circuit over the winter months. 

In addition to the GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 Class plans to hold special events at existing or new venues. 

2015 D35 Champion joins the GC32 Racing Tour

The first new team to announce its participation on the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour is Team Tilt from Switzerland. Created in 2002 by Alex Schneiter, Team Tilt is best known for its results on Lake Geneva, where it is a two time Champion in the 8.53m M2 catamaran circuit and has also won Switzerland’s top sailing event, the Bol d’Or Mirabaud three times on board its canting keel Psaros 40. Team Tilt’s biggest success came this season when it not only won the Bol d’Or Mirabaud on its D35 catamaran but also the 2015 D35 Championship, against Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour competitors Alinghi and Spindrift racing. 

The team is also no stranger to foiling catamarans having developed its own boat, Syz & Co, at 10.8m long, a little longer than the GC32. 

“Foiling is an area we’ve always been very interested in,” says Team Manager Alex Schneiter. “We have done a lot of multihull racing, in particular in the D35s and it is clear that sailing is moving towards foiling.”

One reason they will compete on the GC32 Racing Tour is to nurture young Swiss sailors ready to be part of their Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team in 2017. 

Given his background, Schneiter is well placed to critique the GC32 which he sailed for the first time on Lake Garda last year. “I was surprised at the speed downwind. I think flying itself isn’t that difficult, but doing the manoeuvres well is quite tricky.”

On the GC32 Racing Tour in 2016, helming will be his 49er Olympic son Sébastien, who skippered Team Tilt to this season’s D35 victories. He will share GC32 helming duties with well-known Swiss catamaran sailor Arnaud Psarofaghis. Team Tilt will be running a squad system and will start the season with what Schneiter describes as their ‘A team’, including multihull veteran Tanguy Cariou and Lucien Cujean, Sébastien Schneiter’s 49er crew, and Bryan Mettraux. Young sailors will be rotated in during the season.

Schneiter says he finds the modified format for the GC32 Racing Tour and its choice of venues attractive. “It is like what we do in the D35s – having the luxury of prioritising the quality of the venues rather than having sponsor issues where you have to go to specific places, which aren’t necessarily the best sailing areas. It looks like the GC32 Racing Tour will have a good group of boats. We know that in 2016 we will be new to the boat so we’ll be coming in quite humble.”

Further team and venue announcements will be made in due course. 

– GC32 Media

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