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Foiling Finale in the GC32 Austria Cup Sees Luna Rossa Challenge Take Runaway Win

Chris Draper : "This event was a great workout in view of the 35th America’s Cup"

mardi 3 juin 2014Redaction SSS [Source RP]

The final day of the GC32 Austria Cup started just as expected, with ultra-light conditions on the beautiful Lake Traunsee, but as the day progressed, both the Gold and Silver fleets got the opportunity to show off these spectacular flying machines at their best.

The bottom four qualifiers moved to Silver Fleet on Sunday for the final day of racing, with French America’s Cup vet Sebastian Col showing early dominance over the owner driven teams of Armin Strom, Spax Solutions and RSM DTM Hungary Sailing Team. As the only professional skipper in the Silver fleet and with a convincing win under his belt in Race 1 of the finals, all eyes were on Seb to set the pace again in Race 2. But with seconds to go until the start, Col found himself well behind his competition, crossing the starting line in last place. Undefeated in his previous 3 races, Col proved he could never be counted out, and with the help of tactician and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup skipper Jason Waterhouse, Col picked his way through the fleet, passing the other three teams with a perfect layline call to the leeward mark. Col would go on to win by two and a half minutes over second placed Flavio Marazzi on-board Armin Strom, with GC32 founder Laurent Lenne taking third with Spax Solutions.

Amateur racer and owner of RSM DTM Hungary Sailing Team, Zsolt Kalocsai has seen the difference that time on the water makes to his professional counterparts, so he and his crew took the opportunity last night to get in a training session ahead of today, and also his Bol d’Or record attempt later this month. Zsolt said it was hard to get off the water with all the fun they were having.

“We sailed for three hours, including maybe 15 foiling runs flying 2 meters above the water,” said Kalocsai. “We still have a lot to learn but it felt just great to be doing what this boat was meant to do.”

The afternoon breeze came in with a bang, quickly reaching 13 knots and providing near-perfect conditions for the final race for the Silver fleet. Flavio Marazzi’s Armin Strom Sailing Team (SUI) was first on their foils, using their power (Strom had the heaviest crew in the fleet) to accelerate to over 20 knots on the reach. Less than a minute later, Marazzi misjudged his layline to the gate, allowing Seb Col Racing to squeeze ahead for the pass as they headed for the favoured right gate. Col would go on to win yet again, with Marazzi just behind. Meanwhile Lenne and Kalucsai fought for every inch, with Lenne’s Spax Solution beating the Hungarian team by seconds. “I’m definitely glad we weren’t in last place, but in reality, this regatta was always about learning, meeting new people, and showing that the GC32 is one of the most exciting developments in sailing in years,” said Lenne.

The Gold Standard

Even in the light winds of the morning, the all-pro Gold Fleet line hit their first race with pace, with the exception of America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby at the helm of the AEZ GC32 Sailing Team, who took a few extra minutes to get to the line after a blown tack.

Slingsby’s AC World Series rival Luna Rossa Challenge stuck to the tactical approach that’s seen them undefeated for 3 days ; an approach we expected after a morning chat with skipper Chris Draper.

“It’s easy to get too ‘heads in the boat’ and a bit frustrated with all that’s going on here ; our team skipper Max Sirena has been watching the video broadcast from our base in Italy and he told us we looked a bit stressed out after our first day of racing, so we tried to calm down a bit and stick to a simple plan,” said Draper. “Honestly we are just happy to be racing again, and lucky to be part of such a fun event.”

It’s safe to say Draper’s strategy worked, and other than a single slow tack in the wake of a powerboat, Draper went on to sail a near perfect Race 1 of the finals, finishing 55 seconds ahead of his former teammate and lifelong friend Paul Campbell-James aboard Team C3R.

As the breeze filled in for the fleet’s second race of the day, hulls started flying and spectators filled the waterfront as the boats began tearing across the lake at breakneck speeds, audible gasps coming from the crowd. Team Sailing Racing picked up a penalty for an over early start, with Draper once again leading from the leeward starting position and extending on the run. Having recovered from his poor start in Race 1 of the finals, Slingsby’s crew demonstrated phenomenal boathandling around the leeward mark, heading to the Eastern shore and more wind ; Team AEZ would nearly catch Draper on the beat, but not quite ; Luna Rossa powered to their 9th win in 12 races, with Slingsby in second and C3R passing the Danes on Team Sail Racing on the final reach for third. During between-race practice before Race 3, Team C3R suffered damage to their daggerboard, ending their day.

“It’s always disappointing to miss racing because of gear failure, but these boats are at the cutting edge of sailing technology and we have seen relatively little gear failure so far,” said Pete Cumming, C3R trimmer. “It’s a testament to the team who designed the boat that we had so few problems, but unfortunately, ours was not something we could recover from.”

Campbell- James received average points for the final race of the day while the other three fought it out in the biggest breeze of the week.

Draper once again led at the start with AEZ and Team Sail Racing following, but once again, tactician Checcho Bruni proved infallible, and the Sardinia-based team took their 10th victory of the week, claiming the first ever foiling GC32 championship, while Slingsby’s second-place was not enough to pass Team C3R in the overall standings. Draper was exuberant in victory.

“This event was a great workout in view of the 35th America’s Cup,” he said. “We have measured ourselves against competitive teams on short race courses, on catamarans that are similar, in some respects, to the America’s Cup Class boats ; it’s a confirmation of the good work that the team is doing in Cagliari.”

An emotional Francesco Bruni dedicated the team’s victory to Italian Sailing Federation coach Valentin Mankin, who died today after a lifetime of sailing excellence.

“Valentin was one of the greatest representatives that the sport of sailing has ever known,” said Bruni. “A keen sailor and an exceptional man who was my coach for several years, and I offer an eternal embrace to a great man to whom I owe so much.”

The GC32 Class will visit The Foiling Week in Lake Garda in early July, while the next event on the GC32 European Tour is scheduled for July 17-20 at the Land Rover Sailing Cup Kiel in Germany.


Voir en ligne : Press info www.facebook.com/GC32Racing


Overall Results

  • 1st Luna Rossa Challenge 2nd Team C3R
  • 3rd AEZ GC32 Sailing Team 4th Team Sail Racing
  • 5th Seb Col Racing
  • 6th Armin Strom Sailing Team
  • 7th Spax Solutions
  • 8th RSM DTM Hungary Sailing Team


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