Lagos (PORTUGAL) – When the GC32 Racing Tour opener concluded in Lagos on 4 July, Red Bull Sailing had proven themselves to be the favorites to challenge two-time America’s Cup winners Alinghi for the 2021 title. The Austrian team made a remarkable recovery after a windblown capsize to secure second place behind the Swiss sailors. Now, as the high-speed foiling catamarans prepare to fly in Lagos again this week for Act 2, Red Bull Sailing’s skipper and helmsman Roman Hagara is in Tokyo to coach the new generation on Nacras and 49ers. Enter Nathan Outteridge.
“We couldn’t feel luckier to have Nathan stepping in on helm,” says Hans Peter Steinacher, who won two Olympic golds with Hagara and shares in the leadership of Red Bull Sailing as tactician. “Not only is he a world and Olympic champion, as well as an America’s Cup helmsman, but he knows what it takes to compete at the highest level on a GC32.”
Having back-to-back races in the same location is a rarity in the GC32 Racing Tour, and the extra opportunity for training has proven especially valuable for Red Bull Sailing, as Outteridge isn’t the only new face on the team. Joining him and Steinacher – as well as Mark Spearman (AUS), who helped take the Austrian boat to third place overall in the previous season of the GC32 Racing Tour – will be Iain Jensen (AUS), who won Olympic gold and silver with Outteridge, and Great Britain’s Neil Hunter, a Red Bull Youth America’s Cup winner. Both have substantial America’s Cup experience.
Steinacher explains, “The boat was thoroughly checked over after the capsize, and now we’ve got it back, fine-tuned and ready to race. We arrived here early for training sessions, and already we can feel things starting to gel. We’re fully motivated, and the goal for this act is to put ourselves in as strong a position as possible for Roman’s return at the third regatta in Italy.”
In addition to Red Bull Sailing and Alinghi, the 2021 lineup for the GC32 Racing Tour includes established contenders such as France’s Zoulou, as well as newcomers like Denmark’s Team Rockwool Racing, who captured third at the season opener. Because the 2021 roster is anticipated to be flexible as relaxation of travel rules allows more opponents to join, organizers determined that teams must enter at least three regattas to appear on the annual leaderboard.
Adding to the anticipation: Hagara and Steinacher have announced that 2021 will be the final season of their storied competitive career, and the entire team are giving their all to make it memorable. Act 2 of the GC32 Racing Tour opens on Wednesday, 28 July, and continues through Sunday, 1 August.
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Credit: Sailing Energy / GC32 Racing Tour for Red Bull Content Pool
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About Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher
Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher are Austria’s most successful summer sport athletes, having won two Olympic gold medals (Sydney, Athens) and numerous world championships. They are the only Austrians to have competed on the America’s Cup World Series. Determined to see sailing progress to the next level, they groom the next generation of sailors by leading the Red Bull Sailing Team in the GC32 Racing Tour and by serving as sports directors for Red Bull Foiling Generation.
About the GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 Racing Tour course configurations are similar to those used in the America’s Cup, and GC32 boats are capable of reaching speeds of nearly 80 km/h. Venues are chosen with the aim of providing the best chance of optimum conditions to get the catamarans flying on their foils for the maximum amount of time. The 2021 tour consists of four regattas across three venues.
30 June – 4 July: Lagos 1, Portugal
28 July – 1 August: Lagos 2, Portugal
15–19 September: Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy (World Championship)
3–7 November: Mar Menor, Spain