Extreme Sailing Series owners and organizers OC Sport, which recently announced a switch of racing platform to a foiling yacht, confirmed that the series will fast-track to the GC32 catamaran to replace the existing Extreme 40 fleet in time for the 2016 season.
The move is part of a long-term strategy and collaborative partnership with The Great Cup BV, Sailing Scuttlebutt reported.
It’s the first time foiling has been brought to stadium sailing events.
The Extreme Sailing Series was launched in 2007, having developed the one-design Extreme 40 catamaran, which has been in use for all nine seasons.
This year’s eight-event tour is traveling through Asia, Europe and Australia, with the format highlighting “stadium” short-course racing in front of the public.
The Extreme Sailing Series, the world’s leading Stadium Racing Series, will celebrate its 10th season in 2016 with the introduction of a fleet of foiling GC32 catamarans, which will see the world’s top sailors “flying” in front of thousands of spectators at premium venues around the globe.
The 2016 season will again feature a full grid of professional and brand-backed sponsored teams racing at venues as diverse as St. Petersburg, Fla.; Cardiff, Wales; and Sydney, Australia.
The super-light GC32 foiling catamarans can reach speeds of almost 40 knots (46mph) and, like the bigger yachts used in the America’s Cup, they appear to fly over the water as they lift off the surface and accelerate.
The switch to foiling also will bring forward a refresh of the Extreme Sailing Series format, which will now incorporate Pro-Am racing on short courses, and open water racing where venues permit.
“Together we aim to develop the GC32 as a global and accessible class for both professional teams of all levels and private owners wanting to experience high-speed big-boat foiling and racing, and we will use the powerful marketing platform of the Extreme Sailing Series to achieve our objectives,” Laurent Lenne, CEO of the company behind the GC32s, told the website.