Salzkammergut, Austria, 47º52’21″N 13º47’31″E
Gmunden, Lake Traunsee, Austria 47º53’55″N 13º47’31″E
Hopes for the final day of racing of this, the first ever event of The Great Cup, was to complete an eight race round robin before a weather front rolled across Lake Traunsee. Sadly the organisers only made it halfway through before the rain arrived, quashing the prospects of any further racing.
While Flavio Marazzi and his Marwin crew set a brisk tone of the day port tacking the fleet with a giant hull fly off the line in race one, it was again Kiwi former Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio who continued his relentless string of race wins to end the regatta first overall, eight points ahead of Marwin.
“I didn’t have high hopes of winning, but I didn’t have any other goal,” said Minoprio of his success in what is the first multihull regatta he’s ever raced. “I am a little surprised I won. I am pretty happy with how quickly we managed to start sailing these boats fast around the track, but the guys I had sailing with me with put in a big effort.”
Sailing with Minoprio were Andy Dinsdale (GER/USA), Thomas Tschepen (AUT) and Diego Stefani (ITA).
From here Minoprio sets out to reclaim the Alpari World Match Racing Tour title, but he hopes to return to The Great Cup. “It is definitely a whole lot of fun. The GC32 is a great boat. It is very nice to sail. It gets up and flies a hull in 6 knots of wind and you can zoom around a track. It is a great package.”
Flavio Marazzi has taken to his new GC32 catamaran with the same intensity with which he undertook his Star keelboat campaigns for the last three Olympic Games.“It was a really great experience with six teams,” he said. “The boats are very equal, it is hard to be always be on top.”
From Austria, the Great Cup heads to Marazzi’s native Switzerland for the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve on 8th June, followed by the Bol d’Or Mirabaud. Before those Marazzi intends to compete in other ‘long distance’ lake races in Zurich and on Lake Constance. “The idea for this year is to do a lot of promotion and activity to get sponsors and to be in the media,” he says.
The surprise result of the regatta was that of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team, skippered by 22-year-old Max Trippolt. They didn’t end the regatta well, but won day one and claimed some major scalps along the way, including Minoprio’s, to end the regatta a worthy third among the six teams.
“We thought that it would be much harder for us, because they are all really professional crews. It was really good, because we weren’t familiar with the boat, but the team did a really good job,” said Trippolt.
Amsterdam-based French businessman, Laurent Lenne, creator of The Great Cup, has much to be pleased with from this first regatta of his brand new catamaran circuit. “I am pretty proud of what we have achieved in the last five days. Everyone worked very hard and every day we were doing things better from the live streaming to pushing out the information, etc and the sailing got better. Looking back at it, I’m happy.”
Lenne has had the monumental task of not just conceiving the Martin Fischer-designed GC32 catamaran, built by Premier Composites in Dubai, but also the Great Cup circuit, ably assisted by throughout by leading Australian cat sailor Andrew Macpherson.
“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of this year,” said Lenne, who has a day job, running SPAX Solution, a leading IT systems integration company. “Some things only arrived in the office two days before we left to come here. It was very aggressive planning, but you need to show you are doing a lot for the class and to demonstrate what we are capable of. We want everyone who joins the class to understand that they will be getting a minimum quality of service.”
Lenne has also brought some ground breaking technology to the event with a WiFi network spanning most of Lake Traunsee enabling live TV to be streamed to the internet from on board boats, cameras on the water, etc.
Around all this Lenne also found time to sail his new boat and after a slow start, started winning races in what is his first ever regatta in a multihull bigger than an F18 catamaran.
“Today our speed was really good and we got a second and a first. Obviously you are racing Adam Minoprio and he is not easy, but we have got really good speed and our communication is getting better. It has been a privilege sailing against these guys.”
Lausanne, Switzerland 46º30’23″N 6º37’42″E
There is no more challenging sailing circuit on the planet than the IMOCA circuit. AC 72’s, Extreme 40’s, Volvo 70’s, TP 52’s, you name it. They all look bitch compared to the prospect of sailing an ultra-extreme 60-foot monohull around the planet non-stop by yourself. And no one does it better than Francois Gabart. The 29-year old Frenchman not only won the Vendée Globe, but he also set a new 24-hour solo monohull record and monohull circumnavigation record in the process. If that wasn’t enough, he added a win in the prestigious Transat B-to-B race and a 2nd place in the Europe Warm-Up, which includes solo, doublehanded and crewed legs. All told, no one on the planet can sail an IMOCA 60 like Francois, and that’s why he’s the champ. On Friday night in Lausanne, Switzerland the young protegé, earning his ride through an intensely competitive skipper selection process, was awarded as the 2012 IMOCA World Champion. Francois is the youngest sailor to ever win this title.
Sailing Anarchy was live on the scene to grab this report. Flying non-stop from San Fran to Paris and then to Geneva, I arrived in Switzerland severely jet-lagged before hitching a ride to the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne. Chatting up Alex Thomson, one of the nicest guys in the game, along the way I arrived in Lausanne just in time to watch Alessandro di Benedetto, Mike Golding, Roland Jourdain and more compete against a group of kids in Opti’s before the prize giving. Some cheating took place, Golding protested a 12-year old and a grand time was had by all with Lake de Lausanne and the snow capped Swiss Alps in the background. Even more beautiful than the ridiculously picturesque postcard setting is the love of sailing that permeates the entire scene. Kids are sailing with and against their heroes, a new World Champ is being crowned and sailing history is being made as Open Sports Management prepares to bring the IMOCA class into an even more international and prosperous light. The energy present creates goosebumps.
After the Opti regatta, the crowd moved into the ballroom of the famed 5-star Beau Rivage Palace to continue the celebration. On stage were previous IMOCA World Champs Roland Jourdain, Bernard Stamm, Mike Golding and Marc Guillermot, while Armel Le Cleac’h, Jean Le Cam and Jean Pierre Dick gave previously recorded video tributes. Sir Keith Mills of Open Sports Management and IMOCA class president Luc Talbourdet came together to outline the future vision and direction of the class before presenting a gracious Francois Gabart with his well-earned trophy as World Champion.
It’s incredible to watch Francois grow. 6 months ago when I first met him, he was the young protegé, the hopeful, the newcomer. Now he is a champion. Not just of the circuit’s premier race, but of the entire championship. He has matured immensely in just half a year. Gracious, energetic, humble and calm under pressure, Francois displays the character of a true champion. He has proven himself on the world’s grandest stage and has become a global representative of not just the class, but of the sport. So bravo, Francois! We raise our glass to you tonight in Switzerland and around the world. You’ve earned it and you’ve inspired a future generation of champions.
Words: Ronnie Simpson
IPhone 5 Photography.
Attempt to break the absolute sailing record of the Corsica Island Tour – Yvan Bourgnon – Joris Cocaud
Porticcio, Corsica, France 41º53’33″N 8º47’43″E
Attempt to break the absolute sailing record of the Corsica (Known as the Beauty Island) Island Tour currently owned by the “TP 52 Spirit of Malouen VI”, a 52-feet-boat, in 30 hours 15 minutes & 18 seconds, on a Nacra F20 Carbon, a 20-feet-beach catamaran.
Photo assignment for Atlantis Television.
Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, France 49º14’27″N 4º03’07″E
Les Sables d'Olonne, Vendée, France 46º29’28″N 1º47’34″W
He’s done it!!! Alex Thomson takes 3rd place in the 2012/13 Vendee Globe at 07:25:43sec GMT/ 08.25 43sec French time completing in 80 days 18 hours 23 mins and 43 seconds!! SUPERBLY DONE ALEX!
Les Sables d'Olonne, Vendée, France 46º29’25″N 1º47’30″W
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