Red Bull Sailing fifth after wild GC32 Racing Tour debut

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Winds, rain and boat-to-boat contact welcomed Red Bull Sailing into its first season in the GC32 Racing Tour in Villasimius, Italy. The strongest opening-regatta roster in the tour’s history travelled to Sardinia for the race.

Here’s everything you need to know:

– Oman Air won the act to take the early lead in the five-stop series, with double America’s Cup winner Alinghi (SUI) in second and Sir Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Rebels UK clinching third.

– The Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team, led by Roman Hagara (skipper/helm) and Hans-Peter Steinacher (tactician), finished in a strong fifth place. On board with the double Olympic champions were Rhys Mara (trimmer) and Mark Spearman (board trimmer) from Australia, as well as Sweden’s Julius Hallström (bowman).

– Hagara said after the 16 races: “Hans Peter and I are super happy with the start of our campaign. The new crew is really getting into it, and we’re working well together already. We see high potential for this season.”

– The Extreme Sailing Series has combined with the GC32 Racing Tour this season. The 10 teams include not only Olympic and America’s Cup champions, but Match Racing and Volvo Ocean Race winners as well.

– Two-time America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill, now a team member of Luna Rossa’s campaign for the next America’s Cup, joined Red Bull Sailing on Sunday’s rough waters, supporting Hagara, Steinacher and the crew from the coach boat.

– After calm conditions allowed only one completed race on the Opening Day, Day Two served up gusts that took the catamarans flying on their foils at speeds up to 50 knots (93 km/h, 58 mph). On Sunday, the boats battled thunder, torrential downpours and 20-knot gusts.

– On Friday, Red Bull Sailing was involved in one of the regatta’s most dramatic moments: As the 10 boats sped around the course at high speed, Red Bull Sailing and Zoulou (FRA) desperately tried to avoid a collision but couldn’t avert a clash of rigs, with the masthead wind instruments sheared off the Austrian boat. On-the-water umpires gave Zoulou a two-point penalty.

– The GC32 is a 10m long (12m including bowsprit) foiling catamaran built in carbon fiber, and the tour’s course configurations are similar to those used in the America’s Cup, with an emphasis on allowing the boats to reach their maximum speeds.

– Next up, Red Bull Sailing will go for the GC32 World Championship at the second stop of the GC32 Racing Tour, when Act 2 flies in Lagos, Portugal on 26-30 June 2019.

Results, GC32 Racing Tour 2019 Act 1, Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy: 1. Oman Air (OMA) 44, 2. Alinghi (SUI) 53, 3. INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) 60, 4. NORAUTO (FRA) 67, 5. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 88, 6. Zoulou (FRA) 100, 7. Argo (USA) 104, 8. Código Rojo Racing (ARG) 114, 9. CHINAone NINGBO (CHN) 120, 10. Black Star Sailing Team (SUI) 124.

Overall GC32 Racing Tour standings after one of five acts: 1. Oman Air (OMA), 2. Alinghi (SUI), 3. INEOS Rebels UK (GBR), 4. NORAUTO (FRA), 5. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT), 6. Zoulou (FRA), 7. Argo (USA), 8. Código Rojo Racing (ARG), 9. CHINAone NINGBO (CHN), 10. Black Star Sailing Team (SUI).

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