Category Mountain

May 13

Lake Traunsee

Salzkammergut, Austria, 47º52’21″N 13º47’31″E


May 13

GC 32 Austria Cup

Gmunden, Lake Traunsee, Austria 47º53’55″N 13º47’31″E

The GC32 is the one design for the future Great Cup Racing circuit starting from 2013 onward. Combining low drag hull, double S curved foils, high righting moment and generous sail area, the GC32 has the capability to reach 30 knots and beyond.Minoprio reigns supreme at the GC32 Austria Cup, opening event of The Great Cup

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.”

Words: Sailing Intelligence
Photo assignment for The Great Cup –
The GC32 is the one design for the future Great Cup Racing circuit starting from 2013 onward. Combining low drag hull, double S curved foils, high righting moment and generous sail area, the GC32 has the capability to reach 30 knots and beyond.

Mar 12


Le Grand-Bornand, Haute-Savoie, France 45º57’28″N 6º25’38″E

With this series we temporarily set aside the speed of carbon fiber man-made machines and the indecision of the rough seas, turning our focus to the serene and still natural beauty found in the winter landscape of snow and ice. Here we see the white blanket of the season enveloping Le Grand-Bornand commune in Haute-Savoie, France, it’s cold layers providing a wealth of frozen visuals from both sides of the lens. The temperate chill in this gallery gives us a beautiful organic illustration of high contrast, as the comfort and familiar warmth of color is all but covered, transforming our surroundings into a quick study of monochromatic scenes and textures. The ability to capture moving water in it’s state of suspended animation is always exciting and intriguing… a special little gift from nature given for the pleasure of every photographer. As if frozen in time, these images evoke a silent and unique emotion all their own where each stolen moment is paused and immortalized.

Words: Fred Eagle

Feb 12

When snow meets water

Saint Gervais les Bains, Haute-Savoie, France 45º53’31″N 6º42’87″E

What happens when 16 sailors meet 16 mountaineers? They talk about adventures, sailing, mountains, girls, weather, the Earth, elements, technology…

That’s what happenend last week in St Gervais, France during the 21st Mer Montagne Trophy, a traditional meeting between sailors and mountaineers. This amical event was created 20 years ago by former maxi-multihull and Whitbread skipper, Eric Loizeau. After three round the world races and numerous transats culminating in his skippers the maxi-cat Roger & Gallet, Loizeau turned his back on the sea and became a mountain man. He went to the top of the world, scaling Mount Everest. Then he wanted these worlds of water, ice and salt, to share their passions and hence the Trophy Mer Montagne was born.

Over four days the competitors enjoy several sporting challenges; ski touring (where you have to get to the top of the mountain using only your muscles and your sweat), biathlon (shooting & skiing), slalom, transtation and a ski race (ski touring by night). A torchlight ski session also happened, but for the rest, what happens in St. Gervais stays in St Gervais!

Some of the best sailors were there, including ORMA skipper Yvan Bourgnon recently returned from rounding Cap Horn in a beach multihull, Fred Le Peutrec who just finished completed the Jules Verne Trophy on Banque Populaire, MACIF IMOCA 60 skipper François Gabart the young gun competing in the next Vendée Globe and Steve Ravussin who is preparing for a big season on his MOD 70 Race For Water.

If some sailors are good skiers, other are rookies. But the goal is not solely to win this amical event but also to make friends with the mountain men and women, to discover and share their passion as often mountaineers invite sailors to discover their world and vice et versa. Like Aurélien Ducros (2 times FreeRide World Champion) who competed in the last Mini-Transat, or some Mountain Guides who invited sailors to share a ride to the top of the Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe.

All of these stars also enjoyed a conference from Race for Water, a foundation who are trying to explain to the human race the fragility of our water resources and how to preserve them. Salt water and ice, everybody is concerned.

Christopher Pratt wins the 21st Mer Montagne Trophy.

Words: Gilles Morelle