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, but not to cause the GC32 to fly.
Inspired by the AC72s catamarans used in the 34th America’s Cup that fly above, rather than through, the water, the GC32 was fitted with its Mk2 foils in the spring of 2014. This transformed the GC32 into a fully flying foiling catamaran.
While the GC32 shares many similarities with the foiling America’s Cup catamarans, free from AC rule constraints it is a ‘better foiler’. The foil package and boat set up enables it to be sailed not just elite athletes but by sailors of varying experience, enabling amateur sailors and owners to experience the very latest technology in high performance yacht racing.
Being a one design enables the GC32 to be substantially cheaper than an America’s Cup catamaran. While in many ways it resembles a scaled-down version, the GC32 is very much easier to sail and to run because:
Today there are GC32s regularly sailing in Europe, North America and Australiasia. Boats compete on the GC32 Racing Tour, which in 2018 will comprise a series of five events in southern Europe and the Mediterranean, each event lasting four days. For the third consecutive year the GC32 is being used internationally on the Extreme Sailing Series which ins 2018 visits eight major cities on three continents.
On the GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 gets to compete on coastal America’s Cup-style courses. These have reaching or upwind starts and 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 aimed at providing optimum conditions to go foiling and top racing for all competitors as a result.
The Extreme Sailing Series is a more global circuit, aimed at professional teams with corporate backing. Now into its 12th year, the circuit has pioneered ‘stadium sailing’ with ultra-short racing close to shore to maximise the racing’s appeal to shore-based spectators and VIP guests.
In May 2018 the two fleets will join forces to compete in the first GC32 World Championship, taking place out of Riva del Garda, Italy.
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