One boat down, but otherwise a successful debut
The first ever day of racing for The Great Cup, and the GC32 catamarans competing in it, went without too many hitches.
With the race committee shifting the course down to Ebensee and the ‘Little Garda’ area of Lake Traunsee, the most significant blow came when SPAX Solutions suffered gear failure within seconds of the start of the first race. Sadly this was deemed serious enough for her to stand down for the rest of the day, along with the two Dutch teams due to compete on board her – Laurent Lenne’s Spax Solution Sailing Team and the Firefly Team for whom Dutch ex-Olympic Tornado sailor Pim Nieuwenhuis helms.
This left the Swiss teams of Flavio Marazzi and Adam Minoprio and the Austrian AEZ teams of Andreas Hagara and Max Trippolt’s youth squad to spend the rest of the day match racing.
Thankfully even with two boats, the brand new GC32s put on a breathtaking show with crews screaming past the VIP spectator ship on one hull, with the breeze occasionally gusting to 13 knots, but more often around 10 knots.
While there were some races were one team gained a considerable advantage through a gust or their competitor being OCS, in others there was place changing between the one design catamarans. In a memorable one, the young Austrian crew on AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team overhauled the Flavio Marazzi-steered Team Marwin on the final run, only for the Swiss Olympic Star sailor to pick up a gust, the two boats crossing the finish line overlapped.
The surprise of the day was the team coming out on top being AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing, with the same crew that narrowly missed out in February’s selection trials for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The team skippered by 22-year-old Max Trippolt even ended the day with a score line of 2-1 against former Match Racing World Champion, Adam Minoprio.
“It was really great, amazing,” said Trippolt of their race against Flavio Marazzi’s team that went to the wire. “It shows that it is only finished when it is finished and not before.” Trippolt says he has been getting more and more into match racing over the last two years on his native Lake Constance, in westernmost Austria. He has never previously sailed on Lake Traunsee.
“The boats are really fast and easy to handle,” Trippolt adds of the brand new GC32s. “They have a great future.”
Despite having never raced a catamaran in anger before, New Zealand skipper Adam Minoprio seemed to be making light work of it today. After winning today’s final double points scoring long distance race back to Gmunden, Minoprio’s team ended the day third overall, three points adrift of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team, their only losses coming to the young Austrians.
Minoprio would have been ahead of AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team had they not been slowed up by a mistake they made with the gennaker in their second match of the day against the Trippolt’s team. “Not being able to unfurl the Code Zero cost us the race,” admitted Minoprio. “We didn’t have the tack tension tight, but we are all learning...”
Otherwise Minoprio didn’t seem to be having any difficulties acclimatising to racing on two hulls, even though his crew are all adept catamaran sailors, including American Hobie ace Andy Dinsdale.
Minoprio said that of course he enjoyed today’s match racing element, and the pre-starts where the GC32s were chasing each other around at 15 knots. He is also impressed by Lake Traunsee, the host town of Gmunden and Allianz Traunsee Week organisers, PROFS Sailing. “The race village is fantastic with a stage and lots of stalls and all of the locals come out. The town is getting behind it, so it is sweet.”
Minoprio is not the only world class match racer taking part at the GC32 Austria Cup. His Australian contemporary Keith Swinton is trimming jib and genniker for Flavio Marazzi aboard Marwin Team.
Marazzi’s team has boat #3, the newest here and ended the day second, just one point behind AEZ GC32 Youth Sailing Team. The Swiss team has some experience in the GC32 having spent three weeks in Dubai training in February
“It is pretty physical and a lot of fun and the boats performance really well with a lot of speed - it is nice to do some fast sailing,” says Swinton, who reckons the top speed they have seen so far in their GC32 is 25 knots.
“We struggled a little bit in a couple of races,” admitted Swinton. “We lost the lead in one in the final downwind, due to a little bit of a tactical error, that was disappointing. The other was quite clear off the start line. OIherwise the racing is really good, the boats are really similar.”
Tomorrow all six teams will be racing and a program of windward-leewards similar to today is expected.