GC32 foiling catamarans prepare for the Mar Menor Grand Final

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GC32 foiling catamarans prepare for the Mar Menor Grand Final

by GC32 Racing Tour 28 Oct 09:12 UTC
November 3-7, 2021

Alinghi leads the Red Bull Sailing Team in the standings ahead of the decisive Mar Menor © Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

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The GC32 foiling catamarans are one week away from entering into combat for a fourth and final time in 2021 with the GC32 Mar Menor Cup which will take place from November 3-7. This grand finale represents the first time that flying multihulls have visited Spain’s famous 170 km² saltwater lagoon located near Cartagena on the Costa Calida, within the autonomous community of Murcia. The event is organized by the Club Náutico Lo Pagán with the support of the Turismo Murcia Region, the Autoridad Portuaria de Cartagena and the local municipalities of San Pedro del Pinatar, Cartagena, San Javier and Los Alcázares.

The outcome of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup will determine the winner of this ninth season of the GC32 Racing Tour.

Currently, the favorite to win the title is Alinghi, the team of two-time America’s Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli. With Arnaud Psarofaghis at the helm, the Swiss team won both season opener in Lagos, Portugal and last month was on track to defend their GC32 World Championship title in Villasimius, Sardinia, until it is unexpectedly taken by Red Bull Sailing Team. on the last stage of the last race. Nonetheless, in the standings ahead of the Mar Menor race, Alinghi holds a solid three-point lead over second-placed Red Bull Sailing Team.

The strongest team in the ascent in 2021 is another Swiss, Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team. Bared by New Zealander Chris Steele, they almost won the second round in Lagos at the end of July. “We have taken a big step forward this year and I hope we can continue,” Zuerrer said of their outlook next week. “We’re still on the podium, but like at Worlds you can have a good day and be in front or have a bad day and be behind. We are looking forward to Red Bull and will do our best.”

As the season progressed the standard has risen across the fleet to the point that all participating teams are capable of winning races and since Alinghi’s meteoric debut in the season in Lagos, all the tests were super tight. “For me it’s an interesting race when you are close to each other and everyone can fight,” Zuerrer continues. “I hope this will help attract other owners and other teams.”

Other teams to watch are Frenchman Erik Maris’ Zoulou, who carefully wrapped up his GC32 world championship by winning the first and last races. The Danish team of Nicolai Sehested on Team Rockwool Racing show ever-growing potential as American Jason Carroll’s Argo team arrive in good form in Murcia after setting an extraordinary new race record for the Rolex Middle Sea Race on board of the team’s MOD70 trimaran.

The majority of the GC32 teams have never sailed or raced the Mar Menor before. However, being almost locked, separated from the Mediterranean by a 22 km long sandbank varying in width from 100 to 1,200 m, this means that the lagoon can provide not only the optimal conditions of wind and flat water. , but also high salinity water allowing the flying catamarans to reach their highest speeds approaching 40 knots.

Zuerrer has only personally sailed the Mar Menor once before, on a foil moth and for fun, not racing, but recognizes that it is a perfect place for foil boats. The team with the most experience of the lagoon is Alinghi, who has already spent most of a winter training here. “It was really flat and we had good wind,” advises Yves Detrey d’Alinghi. “I’ve never seen anything so flat before. It’s really good.”

The race will start from San Pedro del Pinata in the northern corner of the Mar Menor where the GC32 Mar Menor Cup is hosted by Club Náutico Lo Pagán.

The event is part of the Spanish celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of Ferninand Magellan, which was completed by the Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano.

GC32 Racing Tour 2021 Ranking

Pos Team GC32 Lagos Cup 1 GC32 Lagos Cup 2 GC32 Worlds Villasimius pts
1 Alinghi 1 1 2 4
2 Red Bull Sailing Team 2 4 1 7
3 Black Star Sailing Team 4 2 4 ten
4 Team Rockwool Racing 3 5 5 13
5 Zulu 5 3 6 14
6 Swiss Foil Academy 6 6 8 20
7 Team tilt DNC / 9 DNC / 9 3 21
8 Argo DNC / 9 DNC / 9 7 25

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