The Alinghi of the owner Ernesto Bertarelli has been proclaimed winner of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup, the great finale of the GC32 Racing Tour 2021. The overwhelming victory crowns the Swiss team as champion of the GC32 season, which closes with three victories out of four possible and a five-point income over the class world champion, the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team.
The Mar Menor dismissed the first visit of the GC32 with a final day in which the flying catamarans could only contest one test due to the complicated wind conditions in the Region of Murcia. After the complete menu of five rounds of the previous day, the breeze dropped in intensity on Sunday to stay around 6-7 knots of the northwest component.
The test served Jason Carroll’s Argo to show his excellent level. The GC32 led by Taylor Canfield, helmsman of the American team in this last round of the season, dominated a good part of the route, although he saw the victory slip away when Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team passed him at the end of the third stage of the four that made up the test to win. The victory barely served the Swiss team to scratch a couple of points from the leader, his compatriot Alinghi, who was already savoring the title.
Despite light and unstable breeze conditions, the Race Committee would get a second start. When the Black Star Sailing Team was heading to its creditable second consecutive victory, the maximum time of 35 minutes imposed by the class rule was reached to complete a GC32 round. The regatta had to be abandoned. Fleet and organization waited in the water for the wind to settle down, but finally the day, the competition program and the season were concluded. Alinghi was proclaimed champion of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup and the GC32 Racing Tour 2021.
Second consecutive championship
“I’m very happy, it was great to finish the season like this”, recognized Arnaud Psarofaghis when he reached land. The expert helmsman of the Swiss team sailed this season with Bryan Mettraux, Nicolas Charbonnier, Yves Detrey and Timothe Lapauw. “The main objective was to win the season and also this test. We almost had a perfect season, winning every event, except for the world championship that Roman Hagara and Red Bull took. Here everyone was very competitive and we had a great battle every day, especially with Red Bull and Black Star. It was really fun. We had to fight with everyone in each event, but in the end the key was our consistency. That is the strength of the team ”.
In this shortened season due to the global pandemic, Alinghi won three of the four races and narrowly missed the defense of his GC32 world champion title due to a technical failure on the last leg of the last race of the GC32 World Championship held in Villasimius, Italy. By claiming the GC32 Racing Tour 2021 champion title, Alinghi defends his 2019 crown in his debut on the circuit coming straight from winning the final season of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2018.
Farewell to two Austrian legends
The final day of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup was also exciting for Red Bull Sailing Team’s double Olympic Tornado champions, Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, who said goodbye to the circuit in second place, behind Alinghi. “I’m a bit sad, but we knew this was going to happen”Hagara admits. His team finished third in the GC32 Mar Menor Cup and second in the season, five points behind Alinghi. “This season we have had very good moments, especially the victory in the Villasimius World Cup, which for us was a high point in our GC32 campaign.”
Red Bull has supported Hagara and Steinacher since 1993 during their Olympic campaigns, the Extreme Sailing Series and until today. The company supported the farewell of the two most successful athletes in Austria with the presence of several members of the company at the closing of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup. Among them were Thomas Ueberall, director of Red Bull Motorsports and Bernhard Scheiflinger, director of marketing International Athletes and Red Bull Events.
Completing the podium of the GC32 Racing Tour 2021 was the Black Star Sailing Team, second in two events and fourth in two others this year.
Zoulou, best owner-driver team
Erik Maris’ Zoulou finished the GC32 Mar Menor Cup in fourth position, a result that serves him to be fourth in the GC32 Racing Tour 2021 and win the owner-driver title, reserved for teams led by their owners. “This event has been fun,” explained the French team’s point guard. “Conditions here were bumpy and bumpy, quite tough. Yesterday was perfect. I think we should go back, but maybe sooner. The flat water, the people, the organization, … we liked everything “.
Maris took the opportunity to highlight the GC32 as a regatta boat for shipowners. “The GC32 is the best boat you can find. The fun is incredible. The boat is simple and very fast, it is attractive and it is probably the cheapest, by far, of the racing boats of the moment, both to buy and to race. You know there will be good competition. The boats are reliable, everyone knows how to use them, so it’s basically all fun. The GC32 is the best ”.
For Taylor Canfield, helmsman for the first time aboard the Argo, the week was difficult despite his proven experience on other boats. “A lot of the conditions were extreme, which made it really difficult, and these boats are relentless,” he said. “It is difficult for us to sail with the new crew, some had not sailed on the ship, and I had not done this in a while. You can tell how well polished the other teams are “.
Christian Scherrer, director of the GC32 Racing Tour, was in charge of saying goodbye to the season: “Despite the difficult circumstances with the pandemic, we have been able to hold four successful events this year, with a worthy winner in the figure of Alinghi. I would like to thank all the teams, partners and venues for trusting us. We hope to see you all again in 2022 ”.
The GC32 Racing Tour resumes in 2022 with a full five-event schedule to be announced in the coming weeks and an expanded fleet.