Powerful Australian team joins GC32 Racing Tour

By James on 17 Jul. 2017

Round three of the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour is now just three weeks away when, for a second consecutive year, the one design foiling catamarans take to the Bay of Palma as an invited class at the 36th Copa del Rey MAPFRE. Last year, thanks to organisers Real Club Nautico de Palma, the GC32 Racing Tour boats became not just the first multihulls ever to compete at the Mediterranean’s premier multi-class regatta, but the first new generation flying boats to do so.

For Copa del Rey MAPFRE, the GC32 Racing Tour will be at full strength with ten boats competing. Among them will be the latest team to sign up for the circuit that offers the ‘best foiling experience’ to its participants.

Simon Delzoppo’s .film Racing is an exciting campaign: It is the first Australian team to join the GC32 Racing Tour, adding to the circuit’s international roster, with teams from afar afield as the USA, Japan and Argentina. Delzoppo is planning to compete on the GC32 Racing Tour for 2017’s three remaining events before rolling into a full campaign next season.

Delzoppo is an avid sailor. Once a co-owner of Ludde Ingvall’s 2004 Rolex Sydney to Hobart line honours winning maxi, Nicorette, his greatest love is catamarans, especially racing cats such as the Nacra 5.0, 5.5 and 5.8, in which he won a US Nacra Nationals in 1989. After a break to focus on his successful internet domain name businesses, he resumed sailing on an F18 catamaran.

He tried out other catamarans and classes before committing to the GC32: “Overall it is a great boat, a lot of fun to sail and reasonably easy to maintain too. You won’t spend a fortune trying to get it going. I like the design of it, its stability and it has a very strong one design class which seems to be growing. It is a good combination and a stepping stone for Australian sailors.”

He is joining the GC32 Racing Tour because it is friendly to owner-drivers like him, who get their own championship and because, despite living in Melbourne, he prefers a circuit where all the events are geographically close together. “It was also about sailing with like-minded people, that have pulled a team together and want to race on a high performance foiling cat,” he continues. “The Med suited me as I can take the family over, they can join in and we can go to some nice places.”

.film Racing’s arrival on the GC32 Racing Tour also marks the welcome return of Leigh McMillan, helmsman on the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour winner, Sultanate of Oman, following an America’s Cup sabbatical with Land Rover BAR. They are joined by two other Land Rover BAR crew, Neil Hunter and Ed Powys, plus Aussie match racer and 49er sailor Rhys Mara.

McMillan said: “It’ll be nice to get stuck straight back into some training, to try and remember how to sail a GC32.” On board his position will be different – while Delzoppo helms, he will have a coaching/mainsheet/tactical role, which he welcomes: “I am really looking forward to being in a different spot and getting Simon used to sailing these boats around the course on the foils.”

It seems very likely his time in the America’s Cup will have helped, with skills learned there transferrable to the GC32. “Obviously the Cup boats’ technology is much more advanced, but we do spend a lot of time thinking about manoeuvres and how to get the best speed from these boats. It will good to see if we can get the GC32 going faster.”

.film Racing will be spending most of the next two weeks getting their boat together and training with Iker Martinez’ Movistar team in the build-up to 36th Copa del Rey MAPFRE on 2nd-5th August. As usual this will take place on a mixture of windward-leewards and America’s Cup-style courses, plus the ANONIMO Speed Challenge, where crews and corporate guests jockey for the fastest timed run.