Five bullet day for 2016 GC32 Racing Tour champion
GC32 Racing Tour press release issued on 16/10/2016
Franck Cammas and his crew on NORAUTO powered by Groupama Team France proved convincingly that their dominance of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour was no fluke. On this closing day of Marseille One Design, held in at times in ‘top of the range’ conditions, the French team managed a perfect five-out-of-five score line. This left them a massive 24 points clear of American Jason Carroll’s second placed Argo.
On the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour leaderboard, NORAUTO’s only threat going into Marseille One Design was Sebastien Schneiter’s Team Tilt. The Swiss youth crew finished fourth, enabling Cammas and his crew to claim the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour trophy by a six point margin.
“We are very happy with the work we did and it is a very good circuit for us to spend more time competing in races with this kind of boat,” said Cammas. “The level of everyone has got higher and higher through the year. We were ahead at the beginning, but since then everyone’s got better at manoeuvring and now you have to really fight to win each race.”
The Volvo Ocean Race winner added that NORAUTO’s perfect scoreline today was probably due to their beginning of season training. “But we improved over the four days too and we’re happy to finish the season like this, with a perfect scoreline.”
For this final day, the forecast promised 9-11 knots, but after an hour on the water waiting for the wind direction to stabilise, much to the pleasure of everyone, it built into the high teens, gusting into the mid-20s. Fortunately in Marseille’s well protected Rade Sud, the flat sea state made for a fast ride with the GC32s fully foiling, frequently hitting speeds in the mid-30s.
The other French team, Sebastien Rogues’ Team ENGIE had a mixed day, in two races making it a French 1-2, but ultimately finishing Marseille One Design fifth overall. Team ENGIE was second best scoring boat of the day, a testament to the hard work Rogues and his team have put into improving this season. However equalling their scoreline today was the Japanese team Mamma Aiuto! which did well in today’s two opening races.
“We are still improving and still very new in the boat and making a lot of simple mistakes,” admitted Gustav Petterson, skipper and tactician on board. “When it gets stressed, we don’t always know what to do and our timing is not always good. But we were getting better through the day today.” Their learning curve has been steep and this is the first event they have raced without the help several Olympic champions, such as Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge or Freddy Lööf.
The young Swedes, most with Olympic sailing backgrounds, relished the conditions and saw the Gunvor GC32 hitting speeds in the mid-30s. “On one occasion we were very slow at the bottom gate and some boats were coming in at 25-30 knots, so your heart was in your mouth,” admitted Petterson.
Perhaps most pleased by their performance in Marseille was Jason Carroll, who’s Argo team achieved its objectives displacing Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco from the top spot in the Owner-Driver Championship and claiming fourth overall in the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour. “But I am most excited to have finished second overall in this regatta - that is very cool and I am very proud of our team for having done that,” said Carroll, a two time World Champion in the highly competitive Melges 32 class. “The owner-driver thing is also great - it came down to this regatta and we did what we needed to do.”
Today, Carroll was unable to repeat his team’s victory yesterday but was generally among the top finishers. “It was really fun today - we had a great time. It was nice - even after having a mediocre start - to battle back and pass a boat or two.”
With Britain’s Alister Richardson calling tactics, Argo’s mainsheet man Anthony Kotoun observed that today in the bigger conditions, success was down to picking the right shifts. Otherwise “it was the most ‘normal’ racing we’ve had this season…”
Of the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour, it manager Christian Scherrer commented “Today was a perfect finished to the 2016 GC32 Racing Tour season. It has been fantastic to see how the circuit has developed over the last 12 months and I’d like to thank all the teams and partners who have supported us this year. We look forward to an even more successful season in 2017. There is already a lot of interest and we will be announcing more details about this next week.”