Teams from four continents gather for the GC32 Villasimius Cup

By James on 12 Sep. 2018

Seven teams from six nations and four continents, as far afield as Argentina, the USA and New Zealand, will take to the waters off southeastern Sardinia tomorrow for the GC32 Villasimius Cup, the penultimate event of the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour.

With dramatic Sardinian mountains as a backdrop and with racing taking place in the protected marine area around Capo Carbonara, a favourite destination among Italian holiday makers thanks to its azure waters, exotic marine life and just metres from a lake renowned for its pink flamingos – the GC32 teams are relishing the opportunity to sail at this new yacht racing destination.

In addition to the two America’s Cup teams – INEOS Team UK, skippered by the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, and NORAUTO powered by Team France, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race/Route du Rhum winner Franck Cammas – Realteam has gained some America’s Cup credentials at this event. Arnaud Psarofaghis is on loan to the Swiss team from the two time winner Alinghi. He is standing in on the helm for Jérôme Clerc, who is about to become a father for a second time. Psarofaghis is current leader in the Extreme Sailing Series as helmsman of Alinghi and crews on the Alinghi D35 catamaran, present leader of the D35 Trophy in Switzerland.

“Jérôme asked me because he is not able to come this week,” says Psarofaghis. “I am very happy to join the team here in Sardinia.” Psarofaghis raced with Realteam four years ago and otherwise has spent most of his professional career sailing against them. “We all know each other and see each other every weekend – it is like a big family.” It will be interesting to see what effect Psarofaghis has on the performance of the GC32 Racing Tour’s defending champions this week.

Teams coming from further afield include Federico Ferioli’s Codigo Rojo Racing from Argentina. This is the team’s first full season on the GC32 Racing Tour and their first time in Villasimius. “It’s lovely – a great place to come and sail, flat water, 15 knot winds and beautiful water,” says Ferioli.

As to their prospects, Ferioli maintains Codigo Rojo Racing is still on a steep learning curve along with this year’s other newbie GC32 Racing Tour teams: “There are three or four boats here with whom we are always racing. We are still making a few little mistakes here and there which cost us places, but we’ll get there. In Palma we made huge progress and we are expecting to keep that same trend here.”

This week the Argentinean team has the same crew as the GC32 Lagos Cup, with Guatemalan Nacra 17 sailor Jason Hess standing in for Uruguayan GC32 veteran Diego Stefani.

Meanwhile all the way from New Zealand is Simon Hull’s Frank Racing, which is making its debut on the GC32 Racing Tour this season. “It is a magic spot – I’ve not been here before,” says Hull of the venue. “It is flat water, great breeze and there is a nice pace here and a nice temperature…”

The Kiwi team, that includes Hull’s son Harry and several of New Zealand’s sailing stars of the future, are hoping to improve after their strong regatta in Lagos, and after Copa del Rey MAPFRE last month. “I think everyone is stepping up,” said Simon Hull. “We are looking forward to getting out there again. At the moment we need to get around the track in good shape. We’re slowly improving – which is our goal for this regatta – and looking to fix some of the mistakes we made in the last regatta.”

Frank Racing recorded the highest average speed this year on the ANONIMO Speed Challenge, with an average speed of 25.26 knots from their run on the opening day of the GC32 Lagos Cup in June.

Gianluca Dessi, Mayor of Villasimius welcomed the GC32 Racing Tour teams: “We are extremely proud to host for the second consecutive year this world class sailing event, with its international line-up of teams. We appreciate the great work of Marina di Villasimius, that has proved to be an ideal host location and confirms the region’s excellence as a sport and tourism destination that we are looking to promote by constantly improving our services. We hope the GC32 Villasimius Cup can contribute to this and in making our extraordinary natural heritage and hospitality known world-wide.”

The GC32 Villasimius Cup is taking place with support from:

Comune di Villasimius
Regione Sardegna
Area Marina Protetta Capo Carbonara Villasimius
Consorzio Turistico Villasimius
Lega Navale Italiana Sezione Villasimius

Racing at the GC32 Villasimius Cup takes place over 13-16th September.