North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: James Boyd
GC32 RACING TOUR STRONGER & FITTER
A Look Into What’s Coming During the 2022 Season
The GC32, the sole World Sailing- recognized foiling catamaran big boat class, returns in 2022 with a full season of racing on the GC32 Racing Tour.
Now in its ninth year, the GC32 Racing Tour will visit five of the best foiling venues in southern Europe. The tour kicks off this month with the GC32 Riva Cup held in the big wind, flat water, Alpine mountain encircled Lake Garda. It then moves on to Lagos on Portugal’s Algarve where the GC32 teams can experience Atlantic winds within the confines of a protected bay. Two events will be held in this welcoming venue, the first June 22-26 acting as a warm-up for the main event, the GC32 World Championship held July 13-17. The Tour then returns to Villasimius, Sardinia September 14-18 before concluding in the Spanish Murcia region’s inland sea, the Mar Menor, October 19-23.
More than ten boats are expected for the GC32 World Championship, including the Alinghi team that won the GC32 World Championship when it was last held in Lagos in 2019. Since then Alinghi has united with Red Bull to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup and is fielding two teams on the GC32 Racing Tour: Alinghi Red Bull Racing SUI-8 with their regular helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis skippering and Alinghi Red Bull Racing SUI-15 helmed by 49er sailor Maxime Bachelin. The latter will be sailed by a younger ‘development’ squad, with the old hands among the SUI-8 crew providing experience as well as a benchmark for their teammates.
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SailGP teams are also represented with the Danes led by Nicolai Sehested on Team Rockwool Racing who will be looking to improve on their mid-leaderboard finishing position in 2021. Additional SailGP teams are due to join the GC32 Racing Tour later in the season.
A huge development for 2022 is the stronger turn-out of privately backed teams competing, their owners relishing the state of the art foil-borne racing at 30+ knot speeds which the GC32 provides. France’s Erik Maris with his Zoulou team and American Jason Carroll with Argo, are both back. Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team, who managed to beat both Argo and Zoulou on the 2021 GC32 Racing Tour, is also returning for 2022. On board Zuerrer trims main while Kiwi match racer Chris Steele helms.
The Zoulou and Argo teams will be joined in the GC32 Racing Tour’s Owner-Driver Championship this year by GC32 Class President Simon Delzoppo’s film AUS Racing, which last raced on the circuit in 2018 and whose plans to return were previously scuppered by the pandemic. These privately-backed teams are looking forward to not just racing each other but also, the unique opportunity the GC32 Racing Tour provides to line up in anger against a talented field of high performance sailors.
“This new season promises to be exciting with a great mix of old and new teams,” confirms Erik Maris. “I look forward to racing against the other owner-drivers even though the beauty of this class is the mix of fantastic professionals and amateurs.”