The Extreme Sailing Series brings together the world’s elite teams for dramatic racing in venues around the world. For the 2017 season, the eleventh for the Series, the teams are racing again on spectacular foiling GC32 catamarans – unbelievable machines that speed through the water and fly through the air.
Having first raced its GC32 in the 2015 Bullitt Racing Tour, in 2016 Alinghi has joined the Extreme Sailing Series circuit (ESS) – an especially exciting one-design competition.
Now in its eleventh season, the Series used to be raced on the Extreme 40 – indeed, Alinghi won the title in 2008 and 2014 – the foiling GC32 catamarans will be bringing again their uniquely exciting brand of all-action sailing to the tour, which takes in iconic stadium racing venues across the world, from China to Mexico in front of thousands of spectators.
As Alinghi can speak to, having set the speed record in 2015, the GC32s are incredibly fast, capable of nearly 40 knots (74km/h). Even more exhilarating is that they do it above the water, over which they ‘fly’ as the foils deploy and the boat accelerates. The technology used is the same as the bigger yachts in the America’s Cup. The GC32 is essentially a scaled-down version, though relative to the bigger boats used in San Francisco in 2013, the foils are quite big. This is because the GC32s are designed to work in a broad range of conditions, and particularly in light wind – and bigger foils generate lift in light airs. Another key difference is that the GC32s are easier (and cheaper) to run, making the Extreme Sailing Series a particularly accessible tour.