AfterEXSS1: GC32 foiling catamarans racing in the Solent, off the south coast of the UK, earlier this summer. Credit: Sander van der Borch
nine years of operation using Extreme 40 catamarans, the Extreme Sailing Series has announced it is to move to foiling multihulls. The 2016 series will be contested in GC32 one-design catamarans that can reach speeds of almost 40 knots. Like the bigger yachts used in the America’s Cup, they appear to ‘fly’ over the water as they lift off the surface on their foils and accelerate rapidly.
A common strategy agreed by OC Sport, organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series and The Great Cup, builder of the GC32 aims to enlarge the market for foiling boats, to make it more dynamic, and to take events to new territories. “The mid-term plan is to organise several GC32 continental circuits for professional teams and private owners, who could later access the Extreme Sailing Series global circuit,” says Andy Tourell, Event Director of the Extreme Sailing Series.
EXSS2: Although smaller than the Extreme 40 catamarans that have been used by the Extreme Sailing Series to date, the GC32 is faster once it lifts clear of the water on its hydrofoils. Credit: Sander van der Borch.
“It is a very exciting time for both the Extreme Sailing Series and the GC32 class. We have always looked for ways to innovate in our sport and, once again, we are breaking new ground for sailing – both through the development of such a global sporting pyramid, and by fleet racing these foiling boats on our stadium courses, which has never been done before.”
EXSS3: A small, but fast, boat suits the stadium racing style of the Extreme Sailing Series, in which the boats race in very close proximity to crowds of spectators. Credit: Lloyd Images
The series is planning an eight Act tour, with 30 races over four days at each venue during the 2016 season. All will offer stadium racing that gives spectators amazing views of the action in iconic city-centre locations around the globe. The next event on the 2015 calendar is in Istanbul, Turkey in early October, followed by the season’s finale in Sydney, Australia in mid December.
The Extreme Sailing Series is the second major world-series in recent months to announce a move to 32ft catamarans, joining the World Match Racing Tour, which has announced plans to build a series of identical M32 catamarans to be based in the USA, Europe and Asia to be used at future World Match Racing Tour events.