K-Challenge Team France was the dominant force for the first half of this GC32 World Championship, held in Lagos, Portugal, but for the second half it was Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team which overtook the French after today’s third of four races.
With outstanding consistency, the Swiss podiumed in every one of the last 10 races.
This afternoon they were crowned the flying catamaran class’ fourth World Champions following Team Tilt, Alinghi and Red Bull Sailing Team.
Black Star Sailing Team only debuted on the GC32 Racing Tour in 2019 but trained to finish 2021 third overall. Impressively, this GC32 World Championship, the pinnacle event of the season, was their first ever GC32 Racing Tour event victory.
“I am absolutely happy,” said Zuerrer. “I want to thank my family who gave me the time to stay away from home and…yes, we did it, finally!
Black Star is unique for her owner trimming main, rather than helming. This instead is handled by Kiwi match racer Chris Steele. Also on board were Italian Pierluigi De Felice, Kiwi Stewart Dodson and Brit Will Alloway. Steele famously won the Optimist Worlds in 2007. “This is up there!” he said of how it ranks. “It is cool to be part of this project. There are some awesome guys in the teams.”
K-Challenge Team France led this Championship by 10 points on Friday but skipper Quentin Delapierre was happy in defeat: “We lost the title by a few points, but that is racing and we just tried to play our game until the end.
Having won today’s second race, the French posted an uncharacteristic seventh in the third putting them three points behind going into what would be the final race. This they again led until the final top mark rounding when a gennaker sheet jammed. Sorting this dropped them to eighth as the Swiss team scored another bullet.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing claimed the bottom rung of the podium, with 24-year-old Maxine Duchelin rather than Arnaud Psarofaghis helming. Team Tilt was fourth, the 2018 World Champions enjoying their best day so far: winning today’s first race by a huge margin and leading the second until they missed the last shift. Skipper Sébastien Schneiter said they were unrehearsed for the light conditions: “It has been a great event – tricky conditions, with amazing racing and the top guys sailed really well.”
Team Rockwool Racing saw little of the strong conditions they had hoped for and finished four points ahead of sixth placed Erik Maris’ Zoulou, once again top of the four owner-driver teams competing.
Jason Carroll’s Argo showed promise but only managed to podium in today’s final race while the new Polish team, Piotr Harasimowicz’s HRM Racing Team and especially the Graeme Sutherland-steered Team Canada both had good moments today.
The GC32 Racing Tour now moves on for its final event of the season in Mar Menor, Spain over 19-23 October.