GC32 Racing Tour 2019: All eyes are on the new season
Launched in 2014, the GC32 Racing Tour 2017 received admission from World Sailing, the official world sailing federation. In 2018, the GC32 Racing Tour was able to host an accredited world championship. As a result, the GC32 Racing Tour is now the centre of racing for this boat class. The upcoming season was full of expectation. With a small bang the participants of the GC32 Racing Tour 2019 were announced recently.
The GC32 Racing Tour will replace the Extreme Sailing Series in 2019. Therefore the competitions of the GC32 hydrofoling catamaran are now almost exclusively focused on the GC32 Racing Tour. Not least for this reason more than the already announced ten teams are expected in the lineup. The five events will take place in some of the best sailing areas in Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The GC32 Racing Tour will again feature many of the world’s best sailors. Among them will be Olympic athletes, Volvo Ocean Race winners and America’s Cup sailors, in a reasonably balanced division of participants between professional sailors and amateur owners.
For owners who steer their boats themselves, the GC32 actually offers the rare opportunity to race state-of-the-art foil-based boats – at speeds over 30 knots (55 km/h), similar to the last two America’s Cups, but with standardized equipment and for a fraction of the cost.
News from Switzerland
Among the at least ten announced GC32 Racing Tour 2019 participants is a newcomer from German-speaking Switzerland: the Black Star Sailing Team, in addition to established and newly formed international teams.
An insider: “Switzerland has a long and illustrious history with the GC32, including names such as Alinghi, Realteam and Team Tilt. For 2019, the Black Star Sailing Team will take part in a new Swiss campaign on the GC32 Racing Tour. The successful former A-Class catamaran sailor Christian Zuerrer staged this campaign with the support of the former Armin Strom Sailing Team skipper and renowned Olympic sailor Flavio Marazzi”.
Christian Zuerrer joins the GC32 Racing after a break of several years. He says in a short conversation: “After many years of successfully driving so-called single-handed races, I finally wished to sail in a team again. At the same time I wanted to continue the performance of a catamaran. So I looked around for a suitable alternative to the A-Class catamaran. The only boat class I thought was suitable was GC32. A test sail last year was enough to convince me completely”.
For this season Christian Zuerrer chartered the GC32 from Flavio Marazzi, who takes over the helm, while Zuerrer is responsible for the tactics and the main sail trim. In addition there are Florian Trüb, who belonged to the team Tilt of Alex and Sébastien Schneiter, and Adam Kay and Will Alloway, who used INEOS in the “Rebel Team” for the last season 2018 in the Extreme Sailing Series.
“The GC32 is great.”
In order to become competitive as fast as possible, Zuerrer and his Black Star Sailing Team have already trained in Port Camargue in Southern France. Commenting on the preparations in full swing, Zuerrer said: “Over the Easter holidays we will be at the informal GC32 training camp with other teams in Villasimius. The same place where the first event of the GC32 Racing Tour 2019 will take place from May 22nd to 26th”.
For the Black Star Sailing catamaran Christian Zuerrer finds only enthusiastic words: “I think the GC32 is great”, he says. “It’s like an enlarged A-Class catamaran, only with jib and genaker. The boat reacts like an A-Cat, so you have to steer very carefully. It’s great fun to sail the GC32! Already in our first trainings we reached over 31 knots (57 km/h)”.
Christian Zuerrer says his commitment to the GC32 sport is planned for the long term. It is quite probable that he will take over the helm in the future. One of the declared aims of his campaign is to use team racing to train young Swiss sailors and prepare them for the level of international boat racing.
Black Star Sailing Editor’s Note: This article is a revised and abridged version of the March 27, 2019 news article on the official GC32 website of editor James. The article in its original version can be found here