Concept High Performance Catamaran
Conceived by Amsterdam-based French businessman Laurent Lenne and designed by Dr. Martin Fischer, the GC32 is a 10m long (12m including bowsprit) by 6m wide foiling catamaran. This is one of the world’s fastest racing yachts. It is aimed at both pro-sailing teams and private owners looking to experience the latest in ultra-high performance racing and a level of sailing boat technology – albeit simplified – typically only available to America’s Cup teams.
Black Star GC32 Catamaran
Length (overall): 12.00m
Length (hull): 10.00m
Weight: 975 kg
Draft (boards down): 2.10m
Draft (rudder): 1.60m
Mast height (above deck): 16.50m
Bowsprit length: 6.60m
History of the GC32
The first GC32 catamarans went sailing in Dubai, close to the Builder boatyard of Premier Composite Technologies, towards the end of 2012.
Three boats competed at the GC32s’ initial European season in 2013, the class making its race debut at Allianz Traunsee Woche in Austria.
Today there are GC32s regularly sailing in Europe, North America and Australasia. Boats compete in the GC32 Racing Tour, which in 2019 will comprise a series of five events including the World Championship in southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Each event lasting four days.
For the first season the boats competed with their Mk1 foil package comprising a ‘double S’ configuration main foil daggerboard and L-profile rudder. These were designed to reduce displacement, but not to cause the GC32 to fly.
Inspired by the AC72s catamarans used in the 34th America’s Cup that fly above, rather than through, the water, the GC32 was fitted with its Mk2 foils in the spring of 2014. This transformed the GC32 into a fully flying foiling catamaran.
While the GC32 shares many similarities with the foiling America’s Cup catamarans, free from AC rule constraints it is a ‘better foiler’. The foil package and boat set up enables it to be sailed not just elite athletes but by sailors of varying experience.
Racing Boat for professionals and amateurs
Being a one design enables the GC32 to be substantially cheaper than an America’s Cup catamaran. While in many ways it resembles a scaled-down version, the GC32 is very much easier to sail and to run because:
- It is fitted with a conventional catamaran rig with rotating mast and three sails (main, jib and gennaker). Compared to an AC catamaran’s wing, the GC32’s rig configuration is easier for regular sailors to adapt to and makes the logistics of running the boat far simpler, in particular docking and transportation.
- The GC32 has a more versatile foil package. The main lifting foils are large, allowing the boat to get airborne in the widest range of conditions (typically from 7 knots TWS up). The large foils also make for a relatively stable ride, reducing pitching.
- Contrary to expectation, the large foils seem to have little effect on top end speed, the boat capable of regularly hitting 30+ knots and a top speed approaching 40. The large foils also enable the GC32 to foil upwind in 18-20 knots TWS.
- Despite its impressive performance, the GC32 is easy to helm and get airborne, but like most race boats, requires skill and practice on the part of a crew to become competitive.
- It is a one design, including a limitation on sails and the numbers of sails teams can use during a season. This prevents escalating costs.
- There are no hydraulics on board. The pitch of the rudder T-foil and J foil daggerboard can be altered, the latter during racing via a line-driven worm drive.
- As the boat is relatively light, it is easily road trailerable. The boat and rig can be fitted on to a custom-built open trailer or into a container on wheels.