TPM and Toulon support 2018 GC32 Racing Tour grand finale

By Jessica on 19 Sep. 2018

Next month’s GC32 TPM Med Cup will be the fifth event and grand finale of the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour. Supported by Toulon Provence Mediterranee and the city of Toulon, racing for the foiling catamarans will be held over 10-14th October on the Rade de Toulon, where, given the right wind conditions, crews and spectators will be able to experience the thrill of one of the world’s fastest classes of gravity-defying sailing boats, capable of top speeds approaching 40 knots (74km/h).

Fully foiling catamarans are not new to France’s third biggest Mediterranean port and capital of the Var department. In September 2016, Toulon hosted the French stop of the America’s Cup World Series, sailed in flying AC45 catamarans. In fact two America’s Cup skippers from that event will be returning to compete with their GC32 teams in October: Sir Ben Ainslie at the helm of INEOS Team UK and Franck Cammas, racing NORAUTO powered by Team France, 2016 winner of the GC32 Racing Tour and its present leader.

While he has lived for more than 20 years in Brittany, Cammas – the Route du Rhum winner, Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Solitaire du Figaro winner and multiple ORMA 60 trimaran champion – is Provencal. He was born and spent his childhood in Aix-en-Provence.

Having enjoyed racing his flying America’s Cup catamaran in Toulon two years ago, Cammas is looking forward to returning next month. As to the conditions likely for the GC32 TPM Med Cup, he says: “You can get anything. When there is the Mistral, it is strong, especially outside, but should be flat water. Otherwise it is a light easterly with the sea breeze from south-southwest. Toulon bay is very big, so you can also sail inside the bay. Even outside it is protected.”

Being the only French stopover of the 2018 GC32 Racing Tour, which so far this year has visited top sailing venues in Italy, Spain and Portugal, Cammas’ sponsor NORAUTO will be using Toulon as the prime opportunity to entertain its corporate guests, both at the GC32 TPM Med Cup base at Mourillon and out on the water.

Above: French sailing legend Franck Cammas won the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour and is current leader in 2018. Below: Robin Follin returns to the GC32 Racing Tour to steer a boat backed by TPM. Photos: Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour

Toulon Provence Mediterranee will also be supporting a youth team at the GC32 TPM Med Cup. This will be led by three time French Youth Match Racing Champion and SB20 World Champion, Robin Follin, who skippered the Team France Jeune entry to fifth place in the last year’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda. For Toulon his crew will comprise other sailors from Team France Jeune, pleased to have been given the opportunity by TPM to sail together again. “All of the guys were enthusiastic, with the same spirit. We are friends and that is the advantage of sport – it leaves you with very good emotions,” explains Follin.

Follin, 23, is also pleased to be returning to the GC32 Racing Tour, having sailed its first event in 2017 on Riva del Garda, Italy, prior to going to Bermuda. “The circuit is one of the best in the world. It is really professional, like Formula 1 – everyone knows their boats well. All my friends who are doing Olympic sailing say it is the circuit they’d like to race on one day.”

For Follin it is also a pleasure to be returning to compete in Toulon. “When I was a child I raced Optimists there – I know the place well.”

A third French team competing at the GC32 TPM Med Cup will be Erik Maris’ Zoulou. The present leader of the GC32 Racing Tour’s 2018 Owner-Driver championship, Maris and his team, which includes French America’s Cup legend Thierry Fouchier and others from Franck Cammas’ 2017 America’s Cup crew, also holds third place in the Tour’s overall scoreboard. A past Swan 45 European Champion, Farr 30 World Champion and experienced multihull sailor, Maris is also a passionate racing driver having competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Hubert Falco, President of Toulon Provence Méditerranée and Mayor of Toulon, welcomed the GC32 Racing Tour competitors: “Toulon and the Métropole TPM are proud to host this great international sailing competition. This demonstrates the interest, influence and the attractiveness of our bay, which is one of the most beautiful in Europe. It also proves the ability and capacity of our region to host and organise international events.”

The GC32 TPM Med Cup is being jointly organised between the GC32 Racing Tour and Manfred Ramspacher’s company Sirius Events. Ramspacher said: “After several years in Marseille, the grand finale of the GC32 Racing Tour will be hosted this year in one of the most beautiful bays in Europe, particularly well adapted to foiling sailboats thanks to its protected waters.

“Organised by Sirius Events in partnership with the GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 TPM Med Cup will be held off Mourillon’s Anse Tabarly beach. Every aspect of the event will be easily accessible to the general public – the boats, technical area, race village as well as the races themselves will be very visible for all. Over the months preparing for this event we have felt the enthusiasm of the metropole’s inhabitants for this type of event. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to come and enjoy the first races on Thursday 11 October.”

Racing at the GC32 TPM Med Cup will take place over 11-14 October.