Posts tagged North Sails

Jun 15


Lorient, Morbihan, Brittany, France 47º43’27″N 03º21'28″W

Stop over of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lorient, Brittany, France.

My week during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Lorient.

Photo assignment for Sail Corporate.

Oct 13

GC32s showcased at Extreme Sailing Series in Nice

Nice, France 43º41’35″N 7º16’18″E

The GC32 is the one design for the Great Cup Racing circuit, at the Extreme Sailing Series, Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France.A new chapter opened for the GC32s last week when they joined the Extreme Sailing Series for the penultimate Act of the Land Rover-backed 2013 stadium sailing catamaran circuit in Nice, France.

While the main attraction remains the Extreme 40 catamaran racing, the Series events are slowly evolving into mini sailing festivals, with multiple attractions, rather than just one. Thus on Nice’s Baie des Anges each day between 1000 and 1300, racing between the two GC32s – Laurent Lenne’s SPAX Solution and Flavio Marazzi’s Marwin – has been a warm-up act for the Extreme 40s.

Amsterdam-based Frenchman Laurent Lenne, the GC32’s creator, explains what being in Nice means: “The association with the Extreme 40s is an important endorsement: to be accepted as a good enough class to join them and be part of the spectacle. It showed what the possibilities are, being alongside the Extreme 40s, because we both race catamarans and have a similar vision. It is just different formats.”

While the boats are different, the GC32 courses are longer than the ultra-short ones the Extreme 40s sail, but they still have a turning mark immediately off the VIP tent on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais.

For both Lenne and Extreme Sailing Series organisers OC Sport, Nice has been a ‘toe in the water’ exercise, which may lead to the GC32s joining more ESS events in Europe next year.

Full throttle

Sailing on the Cote d’Azur in the autumn usually means light winds, but on this occasion crews have been challenged by 20+ knot winds and a large and short sea. Nonetheless the GC32s performed well.

“There’s been a lot of wind, so there have been some challenges out there,” said Lenne. “We were bearing away in 25 knots and the boat was fully flat going 28-29 knots and passing through the waves very well. It feels very safe. But we designed the boat to be able to handle these conditions, to be able to go through this sea state, both upwind and downwind. We are very happy with it.”

A design from New Caledonia-based catamaran guru Martin Fischer and built by Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai, the GC32 is a state of the art catamaran, with buoyant bows, but it is the double-S profile daggerboards and L-shape rudders that ensure she behaves well in stronger conditions.

As Andrew Macpherson, Chief Operating Officer for the GC32, observes: “There have been some ‘moments’ as you’d expect in 20+ knots and two metre seas, but the comment from all the crews is that with a reef in above 20 knots they feel totally safe. You could still throw it around and do your turns upwind and down. And going downwind the bows are completely clear of the water which allows you to push harder.”

Despite the lively conditions on the first two days, racing between the one design catamarans has been tight, with the starts proving vital and the boats regularly overtaking each other on both the upwind and downwind legs. At the end of Saturday SPAX Solution and Marwin were tied on 5-5.

Lenne commented: “It’s been really close – up and down all the time. We have had some really good racing, good starts, crossing each other all the time, upwind and downwind. It’s full on. Not easy.”

Mathias Buhler, an Olympic Nacra 17 catamaran sailor who stood in for Flavio Marazzi helming Marwin on Saturday added: “We were both overtaking each other. It was nice racing. Today, conditions were very tricky, especially in the first race. But we were lucky – the forecast was pretty light, but in the end only the first race was in bad conditions. All the other races were fair.”

Sunday dawned to extremely light winds. But with the GC32 only requiring a minimum of 3 knots of wind for racing, the two boats were able to compete in the 5-6 knot offshore breeze, coping happily with a difficult, left-over chop from the windy days. Where the teams were so matched in performance the previous day, in the softer breeze Marwin’s accurate positioning at the start put them at a strong tactical advantage as they cruised away to five straight victories on Sunday.

“An amazing day,” said Buhler, buzzing from his dominant performance on Sunday. “I can’t wait for the next event, provided Flavio [Marazzi] lets me out to play again!”

In Nice, the GC32 racing has been broadcast live to the internet via Livestream, which Lenne says is also an important part of the circuit’s offering. Meanwhile he is soon to appoint a Class Manager for the GC32 and is in the process of negotiating with event organisers to finalise the 2014 calendar for The Great Cup, the circuit for the GC32s.

A successful America’s Cup held in catamarans has helped. “We’ve seen a big difference since July. I had some meetings before then with people who were saying, ‘yes, maybe we’ll have catamarans in two or three years’. Now they are coming back telling me they want to move towards catamarans now! The live streaming is also very appealing. We have on board cameras and we can do interviews on the boats. That is good for the class.”

Words: Sailing Intelligence

Photo assignment for The Great Cup.

Aug 13

GC32 Cowes Week

Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom, 50º46’23″N 1º17’50″W

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.

GC32s closing on 30 knots
The Great Cup has completed its third day of GC32 catamaran racing at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Thanks to a technical issue on one of the three boats competing, the racing on the Solent has become a two boat affair between SPAX Solutions and Time on the Water.
Today was one of breaking new records for the state of the art Martin Fischer-designed catamarans. Cowes Week courses are a long way away from the multiple short race format that the teams are used to sailing. Today the Multihull Class, of which the GC32s are a sub-group, was dispatched on a course taking them all the way up the Western Solent, on a multiple leg course between Lymington and to Cowes, on a single high speed race lasting 2 hours 20 minutes. After a relatively light start to the day the wind the sea breeze kicked in, building to 17 knots and with this SPAX Solutions set a new GC32 speed record of 29.1 knots.
The Swiss Marwin team, skippered by Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi, led out of the start, covering their opponent, but it was SPAX Solutions, skippered by founder of The Great Cup, Laurent Lenne that overtook on the third leg and from there never looked back. But the two one design catamarans remained in close contact all the way to the finish.
Sailing with Laurent Lenne on SPAX Solutions today were Swedish Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mikael Lundh, Kiwi AC45 sailor James Williamson and British former 49er sailor Rick Peacock.
“We had a few tricky moments when we passed a mark with the current,” says Lenne, who hasn’t raced on the Solent since he studied Naval Architecture at Southampton Institute a few years ago. “We almost ended up on top of this big cardinal mark and then at the finish a VIP boat tried to cross ahead of us and we had to duck them with our genniker up. But the racing was good. We were really constant, quick upwind and downwind. The boat felt great.”
Racing in the wind and waves of the Solent comes as a great relief following the two regattas of the Great Cup held so far on lakes in Austria and Switzerland. “The boat has been designed to sail on the sea. For me it is where it should be sailing, in current and big waves,” says Lenne.
British Olympic Tornado sailor and multihull specialist Hugh Styles has been racing on the GC32s at Cowes Week too. “It has got the opportunities of all the bigger cats I have sailed on before, but you can play with the foils to give you some more performance,” he says of the GC32. “And the performance is just electric!”
When sailing the double-S configuration foils on the GC32 are both constantly kept down, but their pitch can be altered to provide either positive or negative vertical lift. More positive vertical lift can be applied to the foil in the weather hull to help it fly in marginal conditions, but in more breeze, this same foil can be articulated in the opposite direction, dragging the weather hull down, effectively increasing righting moment.
“That gives us the opportunity to fly the hull earlier and once we get foiling we can use the foil to create grip on the windward hull, like having extra crew sitting there,” says Styles, who adds that using the foils as describe has allowed them to be hull flying in as little as 8 knots. Typically it is the bowman who constantly trims the foil.
With Cowes Week on and several top international racing boats in the Solent area preparing to take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race on Sunday, several VIPs have been for a ride on GC32, including Irish MOD70 crewman and round the world sailor Damian Foxall, who was suitably impressed with the new catamaran. “He came for a little look and was buzzing at the end of it,” says Styles. “We tried all sorts of different configurations with the centreboards and inclining the L-shaped rudder forward and back. You realise that for years and year you have focussed on everything above the water, but there is so much to be had on how the appendages work below the water.
“You see Extreme 40s downwind and they pitch a lot, whereas with this you are locked in on this constant pitch angle fore and aft – it is really stable. You feel really safe on board even in bear-aways.”
Tomorrow will be the final day of racing for the GC32s at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

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.

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.

Nov 12

Great Cup 32

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 25º05’25″N 55º06’41″E

Photo assignment for The Great Cup.

Dubai – GC32 Launch Day
You can feel as prepared humanly possible, but launching a new boat is never an easy job, but finally we made it!
After 11 months of hard work with a fantastic design, engineering and build team, the GC32 sailed its first miles on the warm waters of Dubai.
Surrounded by super sailors F18 World Champion Thijs Visser, F18 vice World Champion Karel Begemann, F18 legend Bastian Tentij, Olympic Sailor/Coach & X40 Sailor Hugh Styles, Moth World Champion Josh McKnight, F18 Sailors Olivier Witteveen, Tim Shuwalow & Jason Waterhouse, we worked hard days and nights at the Dubai International Marina in front of the amazing landscape assembling, splicing ropes, and generally playing boats and winding the structure up to load test everything.
Right from the first day sailing, the GC32 demonstrated its personality, with a very stiff platform giving amazing acceleration. We were all astonished at how quick the boat was out of the box. Many of the complex areas such as foil control systems worked perfectly well from day 1 and the boat has already demonstrated that it will be a great class racing boat that rewards tidy crew work and focused helming. She is so quick, safe with great sailing behavior remaining well on top of the water with bear aways easily accomplished. The double S foils and L Rudders give an amazing new turbo button adding more righting moment (horse power) or more lift.
The boat has excelled our expectations. With only a few optimizations needed to make the boat perfect. We discussed those changes with our build partners and we should be back on the water within 3 weeks for the final signoff for this new one design class.
It has been an honor to work with such a team. I would like to thank the entire sailing team for their dedication to make this happen. The whole team at Premier Composites that have been supporting us in many many ways during the entire launch. We could have not made it happen without them. Southern Spars, North Sails, Heol composites and OnDeck have all gone the extra mile as well in order to ensure the success of this exciting new class.
Lastly I want to thank Andrew Macpherson, he has been coordinating all the operations to deliver the boat on the water. Well done!

Words: Laurent Lenne CEO The Great Cup

Jun 12

North Sails