Mylor Harbour, UK [30 September 2013] – With their carbon wings and slender hulls packed into boxes en route to a half-dozen different nations, it’s time to reflect on the 2013 International C-Class Catamaran Championship.
When Cogito emerged on the Little Cup scene back in 1996, her innovative edge-twisting wing proved a massive edge for Steve Clark and Duncan MacLane. Nearly 20 years later, Franck Cammas’ Groupama C showed a similarly game-changing innovation, her stable, simple foiling system helping to propel her to an easy 2-0 victory against Jeremy Lagarrigue’s Hydros. Cammas and crew Louis Viat would become first Frenchmen to ever hoist the International C-Class Catamaran Championship trophy.
“We made many, many mistakes this week, and it leaves us quite hungry for another event,” said Lagarrigue, an engineer who has devoted much of his life to the C-Class catamaran over the past year. “Now we can take the lessons we learned from our own performance and that of Groupama and the other teams, and go design a faster boat for the next event.”
Cammas may have been as surprised as anyone at his green catamaran’s dominance, especially with the team having only a few days to sail in her current configuration. “We really had no idea how we would match up against the other new boats before the first race,” said Cammas. Groupama would fail to win just one race, a light-air affair that saw the 18-year old Cogito pass the foiler on the final leg. “There are still many ways to improve this boat, something we will need to do in order to stay ahead of the designers and sailors from the other teams,” said Cammas.
The remainder of the fleet would only sail two races to determine their final order, with 2010 Little Cup Champion Canaan unable to overcome her earlier deficit to emerge victorious despite ending the regatta with a 1-2 scoreline. Instead, the C-Class seems to have come full circle with Cogito winning the Petit fleet and taking the final podium position for the regatta; the boat whose invincibility nearly killed the Little Cup showed, nearly 20 years after her launch, that she’s still amongst the best of the non-foiling generation. “We tried to avoid the pitfalls some of the other teams had, and just sail a regatta,” said Cogito skipper Lars Guck. “These may be amongst the world’s fastest sailboats, but you still have to sail well to win.”
A fleet including 11 teams from 7 nations meant the biggest “Little Cup” in the C-Class’s illustrious history, and event host Norm Wijker says he is enthusiastic about the Class’s growth. “Little Cup veterans like Steve Clark, Duncan MacLane and Fred Eaton will continue to help propel this Class to new heights, while newcomers like Jeremie, Benjamin (Muyl), and Franck Cammas will help to shape its future,” said Wijker. “Only by beating the best can we prove we are the best, and that’s what the C-Class stands for.”
That future includes another ‘first’ in the history of this most historical and extreme Class; it will mark the first-ever Little Cup in Switzerland’s Societe Nautique Geneve – Team Hydros’ home port. “Like Newport and Falmouth, Lake Geneva will be yet another gorgeous venue to showcase these most beautiful of all racing boats,” said Lagarrigue, the 2015 Little Cup’s organizer. “We will be honored to host every C-Class team that wants to come to Switzerland, and we promise you and your team a wonderful experience.”
Fred Eaton has kept the C-Class Catamaran Championship trophy safe for over 6 years, and the Canadian skipper was visibly saddened when he handed it over to Groupama crew Louis Viat. “Take good care of this trophy, Louis,” said Eaton. “We’ll be coming for it.”
Watch this space – These Flying Boats will be back…