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.