High scoring flat water day at GC32 Lagos Cup

Lagos demonstrated again today what an excellent ‘find’ this venue was by the GC32 Racing Tour, which first held an event here for its foiling catamarans back in 2018, followed by the GC32 World Championship in 2019.

Conditions on day two of the GC32 Lagos Cup permitted reaching starts and demonstrated to the 10 competing teams why sailing off the Algarve town is so special: protected from the large Atlantic swell but not its winds, which by the end of today were gusting to 20 knots but with flat water: ideal for foiling catamaran competition.

The outstanding team today was again Alinghi Red Bull Racing – SUI 15, technically the Swiss America’s Cup challenger’s development crew but with Arnaud Psarofaghis steering (for training purposes at this regatta the skippers of their two GC32s have swapped).

The Swiss neatly bookended today with bullets in the first and fifth races, racking up 13 points across today’s five races, compared to nine yesterday. So far at this half way stage of the GC32 Lagos Cup they have won half of the races.

Like yesterday, the breeze built and by the last race was gusting to 20 knots. However, the north-westerly was further right, offshore and as a result dramatically shifting and gusty. The end result was a high scoring day, but one providing opportunities for teams to make dramatic come backs.

This season Simon Delzoppo returned to the circuit with his .film AUS Racing after a three-year hiatus. He and his crew managed two podium finishes today but also a tenth when they were OCS. Compared to yesterday, .film AUS Racing’s score showed the most improvement today across the fleet.

“There were some good gains to be had out there,” Delzoppo said once back ashore on Lagos’ new events pontoon. “It was a fun race course. It was hard work with tons of shifts and gusts so you could make come backs, but also fall back again. Races were never over.”

In his capacity as GC32 Class Association President, Delzoppo praised Lagos: “It has really become a world class racing venue. The facilities here and the race course and generally the wind deliver although it is not predictable. As a race venue it will get more and more popular. It has a good town as well and reasonable prices.”

Simon Delzoppo’s .film AUS Racing leads K-Challenge Team France – Sailing Energy pic

Erik Maris’ Zoulou team scored their second bullet of the event in today’s third race while Team Rockwool Racing won today’s penultimate race but couldn’t repeat the consistency of their opening day, scoring 21 points compared to 12 yesterday.

The moderate conditions and the ability to bounce back also benefitted some of the three new teams who have joined the GC32 Racing Tour here.

Polish owner-driver Piotr Harasimowicz and his HRM Racing Team had a difficult day, breaking the rake control on their port daggerboard in the second race and unable to fix it in time for the third.

However, K-Challenge Team France achieved its first podium finishes in the last races scoring a 3-2. Among the French crew is Olivier Herledant and Matthieu Vandame, who were part of Cammas’ winning GC32 Racing Tour team in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Skipper Quentin Delapierre represented France in the Tokyo Olympic Games in the Nacra 17.

Today it started to come together, admitted Delapierre. “It was better for boat handling but worse for tactics. The first three races were a bit chaotic and we were a bit lost. The aim is to try and improve for every race.”

When it comes to GC32 sailing technique, they have a long way to go. “We are at the very bottom of the learning curve,” continued Delapierre. “We have to improve a lot, especially with the boat handling – to find a way to do good gybes, etc. This really provides good learning for the team.”

The rapid rise of Team Tilt was anticipated. Sébastien Schneiter’s team won the first GC32 World Championship in 2018 and today they began to show some of its old form, claiming the second race. “It was definitely a better day,” mused Schneiter.

“In the last two races we lost a lot of points. We were winning the race before the last one, but we almost capsized at the leeward gate. In the round-up we were very slow and in the bad air from Denmark when suddenly we got the pressure again which we didn’t anticipate!” They then got caught in a fishing net in the last race.

Of today’s conditions Schneiter added: “It was perfect racing for the GC32. There were some nice shifts which made it more interesting than yesterday because it wasn’t just a one-way track and there were opportunities.

“If you could get the shifts right upwind you were in the good shape. And the starts were important to be in a good position at the bottom gate. The good thing for us is that it is a warm-up event for the Worlds.”

The GC32 Lagos Cup is supported by the City of Lagos and Tourism Portugal, plus Sopromar, Marina de Lagos and Clube de Vela de Lagos.

Racing continues tomorrow at 1300 off Lagos.

Overall results

  1. Alinghi Red Bull Racing – SUI 15 1 2 1 1 4 1 4 2 5 1, 22
  2. Team Rockwool Racing 2 4 2 2 2 8 2 6 1 4, 33
  3. Zoulou 3 3 6 5 1 2 6 1 4 6, 37
  4. Black Star Sailing Team 6 5 4 4 6 4 3 5 8 5, 50
  5. Alinghi Red Bull Racing – SUI 8 5 1 7 3 5 9 5 3 10 3, 51
  6. Team Tilt 4 9 5 8 3 5 1 4 7 9, 55
  7. K-Challenge Team France 7 6 3 7 8 6 9 7 3 2, 58
  8. film AUS Racing 9 8 8 6 7 3 7 10 2 7, 67
  9. HRM Racing Team 8 7 10 10 9 10 10 8 6 10, 88
  10. Team Canada 10 10 9 9 10 7 8 9 9 8, 89
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