Loris van Siebenthal / GC32 Racing Tour

GC32 battle resumes on Lake Garda

10 GC32s competing at the Malcesine Cup starting tomorrow

Wednesday July 6th 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy

Foiling catamaran action returns to one of the world’s best sailing venues this week with the GC32 Malcesine Cup – Lake Garda. For round two of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour, competition has moved from Riva del Garda, where round one was held last month, 12km south to Malcesine, where racing will take place over Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th July.

For the first time, the flying GC32s one design fleet is now 10-strong with new arrivals in Swiss former D35 catamaran champions and Bol d’Or Mirabaud winners, Realteam, skippered by Jérôme Clerc and Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! from Japan.

However they will be hard pressed to topple the teams which came out on top in Riva del Garda. Standing out there was the French crew on NORAUTO, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race winner, Franck Cammas, which won eight of the 19 races sailed.

“I hope we can repeat that!” muses Cammas. “We are in the same spirit as we were in Riva and this is the second event so we know the other competitors better, like Team Tilt, GUNVOR and ARMIN STROM, who always are on top.”

As to why NORAUTO is the benchmark team, this partly due to their two boat testing over the winter, when Cammas was helming one boat and Kiwi former match racing world champion, Adam Minoprio, steered the other.

“It was very good to do that,” Cammas acknowledges. “We could share a lot, like tuning, handling skills and the stability of the boat. Also we have a good crew in strong winds, when manoeuvres can be hard. And six races per day is a lot, so you need some strong guys, which is what we have. I am very happy about that!”

The GC32 Malcesine Cup is part of Foiling Week, and includes other classes such as the GC32’s smaller brother, the Flying Phantom, and the singlehanded Moth dinghy. Here two years ago a GC32 set a class speed record of 37.9 knots (since increased to 39.7 by Team Tilt). Will they manage to break 40 knots in Malcesine? “For sure we were very close to that in Riva,” says Cammas. “I think in flat water we can reach higher speeds and this is a good place to make this kind of record. But our goal here is to win the racing.”

Looking to improve on their fourth place in Riva is the Swedish GUNVOR Sailing team. Skipper, Gustav Peterson observes: "The first event was certainly a baptism of fire for us young guys, and again we will have a mixture of Swedish Youth sailors and experienced professionals. This week, we welcome Francesco Bruni as guest helmsman. I’m sure his experience and knowledge of the venue will be a great asset. We’re really looking forward to learning from one of the greats."

While he comes from Sicily, Bruni, a former TP52 and Melges 24 World Champion, is a big fan of Lake Garda: "I’ve been here many times, especially with my Olympic campaigns, both training and racing. I just love the place.”

And this will not be his first GC32 regatta: “I raced with Luna Rossa two years ago in Austria, where I was main trimmer for Chris Draper,” Bruni continues. “It is a fun boat to sail, and we actually won the event, so I have great memories of racing the GC32."

Also keen to up its game this week is Team ENGIE, skippered by France’s Sébastien Rogues. Following Riva, where Team ENGIE finished fifth, Rogues hopes that the conditions off Malcesine, will better suit his team.

“Normally in Garda it is always the same: thermal breeze at 13:05! It should be lighter than Riva and perhaps it will be more difficult in some ways and less difficult in others: More difficult because it will mean we have to use the genniker all the time, whereas in Riva there was always a big question over whether to go with the genniker or jib. So it easier for me; harder for the trimmers!”

Rogues very much looks forward to competition resuming: “There are 10 teams now and Team ENGIE can do better than we did in the last event. We’ve done some things to make us better, so we will see. We are very excited to take part. It is always incredible to sail against NORAUTO, Team Tilt and GUNVOR, who are some of the world’s best inshore sailors. Let the war to begin!”

Racing this week will also see the GC32 Racing Tour’s new Owner-Driver Trophy resuming. This is currently led by American Jason Carroll’s ARGO, which finished Riva del Garda in seventh place overall, narrowly ahead of Pierre Casiraghi’s Monaco Yacht Club team on Malizia.

Teams competing at the GC32 Malcesine Cup

1. Norauto (FRA) - Franck Cammas
2. Team Tilt (SUI) - Sébastien Schneiter
3. Armin Strom (SUI) - Flavio Marazzi
4. Gunvor Sailing (SWE) - Gustav Petterson
5. Team Engie (FRA) - Sébastien Rogues
6. Argo (USA) - Jason Carroll
7. Malizia (MON) - Pierre Casiraghi
8. Orange Racing (NED) - Laurent Lenne
9. Mamma Aiuto! (JPN) - Naofumi Kamei
10. Realteam (SUI) - Jérôme Clerc

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