Rockwool’s Lagos GC32 masterclass
By GC32Press on 25 Jun. 2023
Four days of racing at the GC32 Lagos Cup came to a conclusion today on Portugal’s Algarve coast with a run-away victory for the Nicolai Sehested-skippered Team Rockwool Racing. Out of 15 races sailed, the Danish SailGP crew won a phenomenal ten, including an opening day of five races when they were unbeaten. In fact Thursday was the only one of the four days when the wind was blowing ‘as advertised’ off Lagos – a 13 knot offshore breeze from the prevailing northwest, permitting the sea to remain flat and the GC32s to enjoy full foiling with reaching starts. Sadly conditions remained elusively light on Friday when, despite the best attempts of PRO Stuart Childerley and his team from Lagos Yacht Club throughout the day, no races could be held.
Team Rockwool Racing’s impressive scoreline enabled the Danes to stand-down from today’s last race, held in 6-7 knots and yet were still able to win this, the GC32 Racing Tour’s sole event of 2023, by eight points ahead of Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team. The reigning GC32 World Champions this week had French multihull legend and former two time GC32 Racing Tour winner Franck Cammas helming.
“It is never easy, but obviously we had good team work and good speed. Life becomes a bit easier when you are fast,” commented Sehested. “We are pretty happy with the week and how we sailed, but it is never easy. We have been pushed all week, especially by Black Star.”
As to their success, the former match racer and Volvo Ocean Race crew added: “It comes down to us spending time together as a group. I think we have also probably sailed more than some of the teams did over the winter and lately with SailGP, so we came in [from Chicago] warmed-up and ready, so that is the main difference. We are not doing anything special. We are just doing things a little bit better than some of the other teams are.”
Sehested added that the result may not have been so definitive had they not get some practice in, held mostly in light winds, in Lagos earlier in the spring.
Black Star Sailing Team claimed four of the five remaining bullets with .film AUS Racing, skippered by GC32 Class Association President Simon Delzoppo winning the final race. The Aussie team, including two new crew, both experienced GC32 hands who previously raced on board Erik Maris’ Zoulou, have been showing marked improvement this week and managed to beat Black Star Sailing Team in five of the 15 races. As a result they won the Owner-Driver trophy for the GC32 Lagos Cup.
The Polish HRM Racing crew, led by businessman and experienced racing sailor Piotr Harasimowicz, remain the ‘newbies’ on the race track this week having only joined the GC32 Racing Tour last year. They also were among the ‘most improved.’
Harasimowicz commented of the opposition this week: “The guys are quick. This is a perfection game and it is all about details. My strategy was to close the competence gap with the best. For sure we are in the pack and for sure we are fighting and for sure we are closing the gap so I am happy because our strategy is done.”
The Poles may have benefitted from the lighter conditions. “Of course, it is most fun when the boats are flying and the biggest thrill is when they are at high speed. For us obviously lighter conditions give us more opportunity to be in the pack because we still need to train in the stronger conditions. But I had fun in the tougher conditions on the first day and the lighter conditions today,” concluded Harasimowicz, whose team aims to train up young Polish sailors and who has the ultimate ambition of entering them in the Youth America’s Cup.
The GC32 Lagos Cup took place with the support of partners Marinepool, GAC Pindar and Forward WIP and local venue partners – City of Lagos, Sopromar, Marina de Lagos, Clube Vela de Lagos, Engel & Völkers, Sonel Hotel, Multirental, Oyster Select, Luzalbashop, AwiWorld and Galp.