Posts Tagged ‘GC32’
If we’re talking about foilers vs. floaters and record-breaker monohulls vs. the rest of the world, we must be talking about Saint Barth, and outright World Sailing Speed Record holder and longtime SA’er Paul “Larso” Larsen checks in from the ORMA-60 inspired racer/cruiser Paradox at Les Voiles. Most of the chatter from St. Barths can be found here.
It was an interesting day with a wide range of conditions. Big, heavy rain squalls coming over the island on the preceding night with big calmish periods afterwards. We put the Code Zero on the boat in the morning in prep. Another big squall washed over the fleet during the start sequences for the first classes (we were last off after the big Maxis).
Loick Peyron sailed on Phaedo today, but with big wind shifts and start line corrections, her timed run didn’t really work out. They haven’t really appreciated our “high mode” off the line previously so we considered that with Loick potentially changing their gentle start strategy (and with their handicap and speed they can afford to be gentle), I was worried they might try and get under us and squeeze us out at the start. Loick helmed our first start masterfully the other day… so full respect ( he’s done some other s**t too, apparently). Anyway, they were miles late.
We started mid line on a fairly even line and were happy with clean air and options. The chartered GB62 Elvis [world champ owner Jason Carroll is racing his Viper 640 in Charleston -ed] made a good start to leeward of us and we had the GC32 and G4 back and to windward. Phaedo tacked off once across the line and took a long beat out to sea (East) whilst we went in towards the island shore. I think we did pretty well to ride through the lulls and gusts. We sailed over the GC and the G4…which are just not that fast upwind yet. I fully respect the challenges of Mk1 development and I’m really enjoying watching this one done to this high level. It seems like it’s being sailed very well. Putting it around a course not of your choosing really highlights the reality of the compromises though. The fact is, your dragging a lot of excess up the course with you. We had full main hull-flying conditions up the shore from time to time (not so easy on Paradox i.e. 19-20 knots) which were followed by 10 knot lumpy stuff trying to lay the top of the island. We weren’t that far behind Phaedo when they hit the layline but they just tear chunks out of us when it gets lighter. They are two tons lighter with much more sail area and are only getting better and better with the tools. Things even up a little more as it gets stronger (handicap wise at least).
We had managed to also put good distance between us and the GC (which was sailing under full rig today). I think Elvis may have been ahead of the G4 on this part of the race. The next short reach had us debating whether to hoist the zero or stay with the solent and peel straight to the big gennaker at the corner. We chose the latter but hated the short period sailing undercanvassed. We chased down “Lucky” on the next downwind, but it took a while in a light spot. The GC joined us on the leg, promptly jumping onto foils and sailing away from us faster and deeper on a long starboard gybe. We sailed against two of the quick foilers in last years RTIsland race and we know how quick they can be! We were sailing pretty clean but they gracefully sailed through. We couldn’t even see who was fourth.
On the following beat we were still in touch with the GC, past Lucky and chasing Lupa. We got to watch the G4 heading downwind. It looked like hard work in the marginal foiling conditions (i.e. sailing whatever angles it takes and trying everything to get on the foils). It wasn’t a good day for a heavy foiling boat! We rounded the next mark still behind the GC and cracked off onto a tight reach which turned into more of a beam reach. The wind had finally returned so that we had full foil down and could sit around 20-23 knots. We caught up and passed the GC pretty quickly… but it was obvious they had some problem on port tack. They should have been smoking us, but were still lowriding. Anyway… as they say in the classics… “stiff s**t”:)
So we pushed on, rounded the island further and went to the big gennaker/staysail combo. The GC came around the corner, gybed onto starboard and sure enough… popped onto the foils and took off again. We could see Bella Mente parked up in the distance and knew the race was far from over. There was one mark to round before the 3/4 mile or so beat up to the line. It all looked very light and random in there so we stood offshore.
The GC had overtaken us again and the big Swan Odin had somehow managed to slide down the inside gifted by it’s own personal breeze. We stayed away from the mass of boats as we sailed from one swirl of wind and velocity header to the next. Somehow we rounded the mark just ahead of most of them and then fought our way upwind finally using the 0 in anything from 5-15 knots of wind. After a long period in those super light and fickle conditions we knew the handicap was a lottery but were very happy with the way we sailed through the bunch to claim our own little victory. The GC was a wounded bird so no big conclusions can be drawn there. Phaedo is in another league and I have no idea what they experienced at the finish. Elvis sailed very well and the G4 was a long way back. The G4 really is an interesting boat… so was the Hobie/Ketterman tri-foiler. I’m glad both of them exist. So basically, there was a lot of randomness on todays course. It’s a great course and event and a very interesting collection of boats. I’m very much enjoying sailing on Paradox. She’s a great ride.
April 18th, 2015 by admin
Last week we asked our friends Jacques Taglang and Francois Chevalier if they could put together one of their awesome line drawings comparing the various AC multihulls, and they did us one better – here’s a look at the ‘evolution’ of the fastest inshore racing boats in existence; the BMW/Oracle 90, AC72, stillboard AC62, AC45, and GC32, simply to compare them with a more mortal boat (that still goes 38 knots and only costs $300k or so).
We’ll have an update on Russell Coutts’ Flying Circus tomorrow; use the time to troll Stingray in AC Anarchy. For the more cultured, read up on Jacques and Francois’ awesome project “The Impressionists and Yachting On The Seine” here.
March 29th, 2015 by admin
Photojourno Jen Edney got her flight wings today on a trip out to the course for Quantum Key West Race Week, and got this beautifully playful shot of the Team Argo boys, who lead Flavio Marazzi by just a point after two races. GC32s are doing a little reporting over here.
January 20th, 2015 by admin
That’s longtime SA’er Flip Werheim hanging off the side of Alex Jackson’s chartered GC32 foiler yesterday, one of four fast cats down here at the end of the world for Key West Race Week. Speedboat and Melges 32 Leenabarca vet Jackson is already flying around the course after just three days of practice; we’ve heard he nailed a full-foiling gybe yesterday before nearly putting it in the piss in the pic on the left.
It’s yet another down year (that’s 12 in a row) for what was once America’s premier regatta, with just 110 boats registered (though the contorted scratch sheet goes to great pains to hide the overall numbers) and only one sizable class at all; the ubiquitous J/70. Keep an eye on SA Facebook for some on-the-water reports between races from SA’s Mr. Clean as he and the B-Squared team endeavor to win the party (and maybe the Corinthian class) at what is quite possibly the final KWRW ever. Photo thanks to the Leenabarca boys and a few rum drinks worth of editing…
January 19th, 2015 by admin
As the days grow short, foiling Great Cup 32 sailors grow impatient, and last weekend, both the Hungarian team and the shiny new American team took advantage of autumn breeze to go record-hunting…
On Friday, Hungarian team RSM DTM (owned by Zsolt Kalocsai) smashed the ‘cross Lake Balaton’ record – also known as the Hungarian Sea – previously held by the Pauger P50 double masted cat. The GC32 took less than two hours to complete the 49 NM course, and their time of 1h57m shaves almost a half hour, or more than 25% of the time off the long-standing record. Sure it was cold, but nothing warms like victory…and rum. 5000 miles away, the first-ever US-based GC32 Argo also had a strong first weekend despite landing a week earlier in Newport straight from the builder in Dubai. As a Moth racer, two-boat Melges 32 campaigner, past M32 World Champ, and high-performance monohull guy, new owner Jason Caroll finally came over to the dark side with the GC32, and he didn’t waste any time. Their first assault was the Around Jamestown Island Record and not because the season victor takes home his weight in rum. Well, not entirely. Thanks to its location just a few miles from the yachting wonders of Newport this record gets constantly attacked by some of the world’s best sailors, so it makes sense that it was a major goal for the Newport-based Argo team. And attack they did: On just their third day sailing the boat, Argo notched the first sub-1 hour time ever recorded for the busy record.
All it took was a two-day test session in La Baule, France last month for Jason to press ‘GO’ on a GC 32 of his own. These boats are truly next-level stuff, with balanced power, adjustability and top end speeds that defy belief. Our immediate goal would be the around Jamestown Island record which had been set in perfect conditions earlier this year by the Marstrom 32 Bronco.
Once all the bits had arrived in Newport from around the globe, we had just four days to build the boat with Jim, Mischa, Macca and Mikey all working huge days to get it done. We made it into the water Friday, and had a three day window to work to take a crack at the record.
Conditions were fairly benign as we worked the boat up, but we still topped 30 knots of boat speed. We took a stab at a lap of the island, but inconsistent pressure and a sub-optimal direction left us with a 1:20 time – 17 minutes short of glory. Saturday was another great day with a near-vertical learning curve going and another bump in top speed to 33 knots. Our attempt time came out about the same as Friday, as conditions remained just too light to get it done.
Everyone was licking their chops though as we looked at the forecast for Sunday. Fresh westerlies were on tap which would make for reaching on both long legs of the course – perfect. Sunday dawned with more wind than forecast but from the right direction. GAME ON!
A quick test run prior to starting proved that the boat was a absolute beast in the breeze-on conditions. The first leg out to Beavertail was slightly cracked from upwind on starboard and we skimmed or foiled at 16-18 knots. A quick tack and we were off on a broad reach down the back side of the island, a condition that the GC 32 likes, to say the least. Our hair was fully on fire on this leg, though we had to take a two minute pit stop at the north tip of the island to repair the rudder down line which had broken. After nailing a jibe it was all on to the finish. The moment of the day came when we rode a big lifting puff to 37 knots of boatspeed. With board-flat water, the boat just wanted to go, and we all foresaw a 40-knot ride. But the puff faded, and as we neared the Newport Bridge, the boat dug its nose in heavily. With the port foil hitting a lobster pot, the horizontal element of the foil quickly became vertical at 30+ knots and the bottom half cleanly sheared away. With the record in hand, we low-rode into the finish eventually stopping the clock at 58 minutes and 31 seconds, the first sub 1-hour lap of the island. On board for the record – Jason Carroll, Mischa Heemskerk, Cameron Appleton, Mike Kuschner, Michael Barnes and Chad Corning while Andrew Macpherson from GC and our boat captain Jim “Grande” Condon manned the chase boat. Team Argo has a lot to learn in this new world, but our first taste was extremely satisfying.
The Argo GC32 heads south for the winter and will be joined by more GC32′s from Europe for some winter foiling – we’ll have some more news on that program soon. Short vid of the Opti fleet flyby here, and a bit of post-crash non-foiling here.
- Tags: AJIR, Argo, around jamestown island record, caroll, GC32, hungary, lake balaton, Newport, RSM DTM
October 28th, 2014 by admin
While The Tour De France a la Voile has history, a great name, and a format that people understand, it’s on the verge of death, with just nine boats competing in the edition running now and almost zero worldwide interest in the race. There isn’t one reason for the Tour’s; there are several; add up the massive bungling of the selection process/transition from the beloved Farr/Mumm 30 to the unloved Archambault M34 with France’s economic woes and a failure of the organizers to control cost and you have a recipe for failure.
Tour organizer ASO is looking to fix the problem, and Ouest France writes that they will announce an entirely new concept for the Tour on the 27th of July, speculating that the sexy, VPLP-designed DIAM 24 one-design trimaran might get the nod for a new inshore and coastal raid-style Tour format. We’ve also heard rumors of a similar concept but driven by the GC-32 fouling cat; could these small racing cats really handle the huge variety of obstacles that coastal France, Britain, and Spain throw at them? We’d like to find out.
You can find some video of the DIAM and a good discussion underway in the thread over here.
July 17th, 2014 by admin
The wind finally showed up on the final day of the foiling GC32 Austria Cup, with Chris Draper driving Luna Rossa to an undefeated finale, and 10 wins out of 13 races on the week. We’ll have more on this extremely exciting class for you soon; in the meantime, check out the full day’s racing from Sunday above with speeds over 30 knots, and hit up Youtube for the daily highlights and dozens of interviews. The archived races from earlier in the week are on the Livestream channel here.
June 2nd, 2014 by admin
Looking for some of the great sailing videos this week to watch on a near-summer Sunday? We’ve got it for you right here.
As much as we like the one-design idea of the next Volvo Ocean Race, there’s no doubt that the usual buildup of excitement for the VOR is largely gone without the open design challenge of a developmental class. The VOR hasn’t handled this change with a lot of grace, but Rick Deppe and his video team are finally getting it rolling, and this look at what it’s like to work in the sky is both beautiful and interesting.
Petey Crawford shares a time lapse look at a series of ‘days in the life’ of a sailing videographer, with a nice track and some of the prettiest scenery you can imagine.
We never let a chance to speak to Loïck Peyron slip by, and he stopped by the Austrian Alps with Artemis teammate Iain Percy to have a peek at the foiling GC32 action on Lake Traunsee. Mr. Clean sat down with the boys to see what they thought about the foiler and where it fits into the AC world, and watch the final day of action at the GC32 Austria Cup right here on the front page starting at 1000 CET/0900 UTC today. For dozens more interviews, go here.
If sailing is to ever to grow again, it ain’t Yacht Clubs that will make it happen; it will be the sailing centers, community organizations, and folks like the Sea Scouts who spread the word to the unwashed masses. Huge, well-funded spots like the new 60,000 square foot Sea Scout base in Galveston, TX will lead the way; check them out above and support Sea Scouts in your neck of the woods.
Sure it’s a sport, but it’s also all about soul and history and isolation and all the things that don’t easily fall into the realm of ‘competition.’ Here’s a look at some of that soul, captured by some of the sport’s ocean racing pioneers.
May 31st, 2014 by admin
We don’t often get to see things in sailing that have never been done before, so it’s a special sight to see the first foiling cat fleet race in the history of the world. The GC32 Austria Cup held 6 races in 6-10 knots of breeze yesterday on Lake Traunsee, with both Tom Slingsby (Team AEZ) and Chris Draper (Luna Rossa) unsurprisingly kicking plenty of ass. This one’s from Sander Van Der Borch and you can check out dozens more photos here in the gallery here; the day’s highlight reel is here, and be sure to tune in to the top of SA’s Front Page for the full live show hosted by our own Mr. Clean starting at 1100 CET/1000 GMT/0500 EDT today.
May 29th, 2014 by admin
Since the end of the America’s Cup, have you experienced any of the following symptoms?
1) Pain when you see slow sailboat racing?
2) Inability to sleep without youtube videos of AC45 crashes going in the background?
3) Compulsive watching of any foiling boat videos no matter how short, terrible, or foreign?
4) Obsessive research about J-foils, L-foils, T-foils, Elevators, and all sorts of other shit that has no bearing on your personal sailing?
If so, you need to take two Great Cups and call us in the morning.
That’s because we will be broadcasting live from the first ever non America’s Cup foiling multihull regatta this week in picturesque Lake Traunsee, Austria, where racing teams from all over the world will be test sailing and then racing the first few GC-32 foilers against each other as well as one of the older-foiled designs. Luna Rossa’s been training for the better part of a week with some seriously cool results – the first foiling gybe ever – and we certainly expect them to kick some ass, but with AC folks like Slingsby, Langford, Minoprio and more all checking in, it could be anyone’s game.
Our own Mr. Clean will be leading the commentary team for four hours each day of live action racing. Tune in right here, but only if you like excitement, spray, beautiful alpine backgrounds, and top America’s Cup teams. Miss it and you miss one of the most exciting developments in the sport.
May 27th, 2014 by admin
More than 18 months ago, just a month after ETNZ revealed their AC72 was a flying boat and lured by the potential for a 32-foot version of it, I spent 12 hours flying to Dubai just to check out the brand new GreatCup 32 catamaran from F-18 sailor Laurent Lenne and designer Martin Fischer. I took a cab straight to the Dubai Marine Center, and an hour later, we were sailing the sleek carbon cat in 8 knots of Arabian breeze. And 20 minutes after that, the boat was broken.
Needless to say, I was underwhelmed. The Southern Spars-built spine of the boat wasn’t right, and I wasted a couple of days in a plane to find it out. To compound matters, it was pretty clear that the intricate, Alinghi 90-style S-shaped foils were cool-looking, but lacked true foiling ability. They reduced displacement, but only in very specific conditions would they lift the boat out of the water and create anything that could be called stable flight.
But Fischer, Lenne, and Aussie project manager/COO (and longtime SA’er) Andrew “Macca” McPherson had just seen the future in the form of a flying red-and-black carpet in Auckland, and they were already planning on meeting it. They spent much of 2013 studying, learning, and redesigning the foil system for the GC32, and while they didn’t put a ton of effort into selling a boat they knew was in the midst of a big change, they quietly sailed a 4-boat, 4-event Great Cup series in Europe. And they kept working.
Fast forward to April, when I got a call from Lenne. ”They’re ready,” he told me. ”And you should get your butt over here.” Hours after Charleston Race Week ended, I jumped on a plane from Charleston to JFK to Paris to Marseilles, and made my way to one of Europe’s biggest marinas in La Grand Motte, France.
An intense design process had led Fischer to a ETNZ72/Flying Phantom/Groupama C-Class style foil solution, with acute-angled, rake-adjustable J-boards with a massive 1.2m span, and adjustable t-foil rudders like a Moth. Built by Heol, supplier of foils for just about every major French racing multihull for the past decade, the foils are serious pieces of machinery – a single dagger supports almost the entire weight of the nearly one-ton cat and its crew, is built under a massive 8 Bar of pressure, and weighs some 50 KG. The good news is that you don’t often take them out; they insert from the bottom and retract up to the hull, allowing you to beach or ramp launch the boat with no hassle.
But even if they were a big hassle, it would be worth it, because after three days of sailing the GC-32, I can honestly say that this boat has the potential to change multihull racing forever – all of a sudden, non-foilers just seem kind of silly. They’re slower, less forgiving, harder to sail, more loaded up, and just nowhere near as fun. I’m leaving for the airport in just a few minutes and there is a long, comprehensive video being put together next week with all the details, so I’m going to keep this short, but after crewing, driving, filming, and spectating for the past 3 days in winds from 5 knots to 30 knots, it’s very clear that this boat is something entirely new.
What do I mean by that? How about some numbers: 22 knots upwind at 44-50 degrees TWA, with more than 5 degrees of windward heel – almost like a moth. 32.7 knots downwind on the boat’s fourth day in the water, with too much sail area and old sails designed for a skimmer. And our gybing angles, confirmed by Velocitek GPS replay? 40 degrees. In other words, this boat sails downwind at roughly the exact same angles as an AC-72, and 80% of the speed, with a quarter the crew. And at 235K Euro, it’s around 1% of the cost.
Far more importantly, a no-talent hack like me can EASILY drive the thing. This is no joke – the GC32′s huge vertical lifting surfaces are nearly as big as those on the Oracle 72, and that means when you do something stupid – which I did plenty of – you don’t crash down like a Moth or AC72, and if you press too hard and get too much heel on, the boat gently slips sideways rather than pitching you over into the piss. I hit 24.4 knots yesterday in 14 knots of wind, heating up to pass a fleet of Fireballs rounding the top mark off Montpellier beach…the lead boat just stopped and stared and let his competition sail by him. An excellent driver like Macca or Adam Piggot only got to 26 – if I can do 90% of their speed, truly anyone can. In other words, you don’t need to have Bora Gulari’s cat-like reflexes, Jimmy Spithill’s iron balls, or Larry Ellison’s mountains of money. Just a couple hundred grand and a desire to fly. The Daily Sail’s James Boyd hit 20.2 on Monday, so at the moment I am the fastest 32-foot foiling cat driving media person in the world – a title I will wear with pride. Back on you, Boydie.
April 18th, 2014 by admin
Remember when we announced the ‘flying’ Great Cup 32 Catamaran more than a year ago? With its ‘compound W’ daggerboard shape and L-foil rudders, the Martin Fischer-designed boat looked slick, modern and sexy. They even sold a few, raced a couple of regattas, and last month, pulled off a demo day in massive waves and 25+ in Nice while the Extreme 40s were sitting at the dock.
The main problem? High performance foil design changed more in one year than it has in decades. Essentially, if you have a new ultra-performance multihull these days and you’re not flying, you’re failing – and the GC32 foil package was doing just that.
In the meantime, the AC72 showed everyone the way, and Fischer’s work on both the Groupama C foiler and the Flying Phantom project gave him the inspiration he needed to turn the 32 into a full foiler, and you can check it out above and here. Sea trials will happen in France around the New Year.
November 14th, 2013 by admin