The German leg of the GC32 Bullitt Racing Tour, the circuit dedicated to this spectacular class of foil-equipped flying catamarans that is gaining momentum, just ended with Alinghi’s victory in Kiel. Check out the spectacle in this video and photo series we show you. If you would like to see these beasts in live action, know that the next stop on the tour will be in Italy (the organization’s goal is to grow interest in this class in our country), in Fiumicino, from August 27 to 30. www.gc32racing.com
GC32S IN ACTION IN KIEL
THE PHOTO GALLERY
The GC32 is a catamaran born from the pencil of Martin Fischer, a brilliant German designer who has been living in New Caledonia for years now. In the first version launched about two years ago, the boat had “S” foils and was not capable of full foiling, that is, with the hulls completely out of the water. In the wake of the America’s Cup AC72 catamarans, the boat has been revised and in particular has been fitted with “L” foils capable of giving truly enviable sustenance and flight stability.
HOW IT WORKS.
As a relatively small manned boat for its size (4 people for about 9 meters of boat), the need for as “automatic” a flight control as possible is obvious. This was brilliantly achieved with generously sized foils, but more importantly, equipped with tips that were very angled with respect to the horizontal plane. Practically the control of the foil rake angle, which is expected anyway, is minimized. In fact, controlling the foil rake on the GC 32 is still quite complicated to do while sailing although there are plans to improve the control system which should reduce friction in the mechanism. In practice this is now done before the race depending on the expected wind strength or while sailing by acting on the upwind foil before tack change. There is also currently no provision for in-navigation control of the angle of incidence of the elevators, the horizontal wings mounted at the bottom of the rudders, but again upgrades are expected in the near future.
THE TRICKS TO MAKE IT GO STRONG
The full GC 32 weight is only 800 kg with a maximum racing crew weight of 340 kg. With these proportions, it is obvious the importance of having the crew as far upwind as possible to maximize the righting moment, which in practice happens as early as a few knots of wind. Normally a crew member will also move longitudinally when the boat is in the air to try to optimize trim.