New foiling cat racing circuit

Christophe Launay Photography /
We look at the Great Cup and the Martin Fischer-designed GC32 cat-foiler
Multihulls are back in the Olympics, the America’s Cup is being raced in them and the Extreme Sailing Series continues to go from strength to strength. At present the MOD class may be having a few teething problems, but with the G-Class maxis (both fully crewed and solo), the MOD70s, the modified ORMA 60s and the Multi50s, there are probably more multihulls being raced offshore than ever before. Today, for those of us who have been fans of this genre of sailing for several decades, the unimaginable has happened: multihulls are teetering on the brink of being mainstream and respectable. Amid this a new inshore multihull circuit is taking shape. The Great Cup will be sailed in state of the art 32ft foiling catamarans, known as GC32s. Owners and sailors taking part, effectively get a piece of AC34-style airborne catamaran action for a fraction of the price, without any hazardous wrestling with wings during launch and retrieval. Comparisons will of course be made with the Extreme Sailing Series. The significant difference is that the Great Cup is geared up to appeal more to private owners and will be less orientated towards ultra-short course ‘stadium sailing’ race formats. The circuit will also be less globe trotting and will simply follow the more classic model of having local fleets, the cream of which come together occasionally for major events such as World Championships. Origins The Great Cup is the brainchild of Amsterdam-based French businessman Laurent Lenne and well known Aussie cat sailor Andrew Macpherson. The two originally met when Macpherson coached Lenne on F18s, before Lenne began to contemplate graduating up to a bigger boat. They came within a hair of putting in an offer on the Oracle Extreme 40, but ultimately steered away from this. “There is too much going on where the private owner