Conceived by Amsterdam-based French businessman Laurent Lenne (left) and designed by Dr Martin Fischer, the GC32 is a 10m long (12m including bowsprit) by 6m wide foiling catamaran, that is one of the world’s fastest racing yachts. It is aimed at both pro-sailing teams and private owners looking to experience the latest in ultra-high performance racing and a level of sailing boat technology – albeit simplified – typically only available to America’s Cup teams.
The first GC32 catamarans went sailing in Dubai, close to its builders Premier Composite Technologies, towards the end of 2012.
Three boats competed at the GC32s’ initial European season in 2013, the class making its race debut at Allianz Traunsee Woche in Austria.
For the first season the boats competed with their Mk1 foil package comprising a ‘double S’ configuration main foil/daggerboard and L-profile rudder. These were designed to reduce displacement.
Inspired by the 34th America’s Cup and the advent of the AC72 catamarans racing with their giant hulls flying above, rather than through, the water, the GC32 was fitted with Mk2 foils in the spring of 2014. This transformed the boat into a fully flying foiling catamaran.
However while the GC32 shares many similarities with the foiling America’s Cup catamarans, free from rule constraints it has been conceived as a ‘better foiler’ ie a boat that can allow sailors of varying experience – not only elite level athletes – to enjoy the very latest technology in high performance yacht racing.
The GC32 is substantially cheaper than an America’s Cup catamaran and while it in many ways resembles a scaled-down version, it is also very much easier to sail and to run:
It is fitted with a conventional catamaran rig with rotating mast and three sails (main, jib and genniker). Compared to an AC catamaran’s wing, the GC32’s rig configuration is easier for regular sailors to adapt to and makes the logistics of running the boat far simpler, in particular docking and transportation.
The GC32 has a more versatile foil package. The main lifting foils are large, allowing the boat to get airborne in the widest range of conditions (typically from 7 knots TWS up). The large foils also make for a relatively stable ride, reducing pitching. Contrary to expectation, the large foils seem to have little effect on top end speed, the boat capable of regularly hitting 30+ knots and a top speed approaching 40. The large foils also enable the GC32 to foil upwind in 18-20 knots TWS. Despite its impressive performance, the GC32 is easy to helm and get airborne, but, like most race boats, requires skill and practice on the part of a crew to become competitive.
It is a one design, including a limitation on sails and the numbers of sails teams can use during a season. This prevents escalating costs.
There are no hydraulics on board. The pitch of the rudder T-foil and J foil daggerboard can be altered, the latter during racing via a line-driven worm drive.
As the boat is relatively light, it is easily road trailerable. The boat and rig can be fitted on to a custom-built open trailer or into a container on wheels.
Today there are GC32s regularly sailing in Europe, North America and Australiasia. Boats compete on the GC32 Racing Tour, which in 2016 will comprise a series of five events in southern Europe and the Mediterranean, each event lasting four days. For the first time in 2016, racing is taking place internationally for the GC32s on the Extreme Sailing Series.
On the GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 gets to compete on coastal America’s Cup-style courses that are short, but long enough for the foiling catamarans to show their full speed potential. The circuit is designed to provide the ‘best foiling experience’ with a choice of venues that should provide optimum conditions to go foiling and top racing for all competitors as a result.
Length (overall): 12.00m
Length (hull): 10.00m
Weight: 975 kg
Draft (boards down): 2.10m
Draft (rudder): 1.60m
Mast height (above deck): 16.50m
Bowsprit length: 6.60m
Laurent Lenne – CEO The Great Cup BV
Phone: +31 613347842
THE GREAT CUP BV
De Corentijn 77
1689 AN Zwaag