The Extreme Sailing Series brings together the world’s elite teams for dramatic racing in venues around the world. For the 2018 season, the 12th for the Series, the teams are racing again on spectacular foiling GC32 catamarans – unbelievable machines that speed through the water and fly through the air.
Having first raced its GC32 in the 2015 Bullitt Racing Tour, in 2016 Alinghi joined the Extreme Sailing Series circuit (ESS) – an especially exciting one-design competition that used to be raced on the Extreme 40, the boat on which Alinghi won the title in 2008 and 2014.
As Alinghi can speak to, having set the speed record in 2015, the GC32s are incredibly fast, capable of nearly 40 knots (74km/h). Even more exhilarating is that they do it above the water, over which they ‘fly’ as the foils deploy and the boat accelerates. The technology used is the same as the yachts in the America’s Cup. The GC32 is essentially a scaled-down version, though relative to the bigger boats used in San Francisco in 2013, the foils are quite big. This is because the GC32s are designed to work in a broad range of conditions, and particularly in light wind – and bigger foils generate lift in light airs. Another key difference is that the GC32s are easier (and cheaper) to run, making the Extreme Sailing Series a particularly accessible tour.