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Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour moves on to Rome

20 August 2015

Fourth and penultimate event in the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour will be next week's Trofeo di Roma, taking place over 27th-30th August in Civitavecchia, close to Rome.

The foiling GC32 catamarans made their Italian debut on Lake Garda in July last year, but this will be the first time they have raced on the Mediterranean, out of an Italian venue, in this case one situated 45 minutes' drive northwest of the Italian capital.

The Italian venue was recently moved up the coast from Fiumicino after the event organisers came to an arrangement with 'Terminal del Gusto' [House of Food]. This stylish new road show, where visitors get to try the best in Italian food and beverage, is making its debut in Civitavecchia at present. Terminal del Gusto's managers were looking for something to send the last weekend of their event out with a bang and the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour's Trofeo di Roma was the perfect fit.

Thanks to Terminal del Gusto and it also being the final weekend of Italian holidays (Civitavecchia is a popular holiday destination for Romans), it is expected to be busy along the beach off which the GC32s will be competing.

The Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour's Trofeo di Roma is being organised by Ventana Group which in Italy is involved in the organisation of events in Moto GP, the SBK World Experience and MX Experience in motorbike racing, the World Air Games and Uleb Cup Final Eight in basketball. Pier Paolo Pecchini, Executive Manager explains: "The race course is right in front of the beach area of Civitavecchia and the hotel where there is the terrace with the VIP lounge. Guests have an excellent view of all the race course from the hotel or the beach." The event's focal point will be Civitavecchia's Hotel San Giorgio.

"There will be a good reaction," Pecchini continues of the appeal of the event. "It is an area where for the summer period you have a lot of holidaymakers staying. And this type of event attracts a lot of people. Plus it is the last weekend of the holidays, before everyone goes back to work."

Thanks to the efforts of the Italian Luna Rossa team and its challenge for the 34th America's Cup, the Italian public has already been exposed to yachting's cutting edge discipline of foiling catamaran racing. In fact Pecchini says that this was the reason that they are organising the event. "The America's Cup has been the leitmotif that we pushed on. Important teams like Alinghi are still known a lot in Italy. We were obviously hoping to have Luna Rossa competing this year. Rome is a very warm city where people are very open to this type of important sports event."

Civitavecchia Harbour is also the port where cruise ships dock so their passengers can visit Rome. Next week cruise ship guests will be getting a little more waterborne entertainment than they had bargained for.

GC32 International Class Association President, Flavio Marazzi looks forward to the Italian venue having raced his GC32 ARMIN STROM Sailng Team on Lake Garda last year. "I have never sailed in Civitavecchia and it is probably lighter air than Garda, but I hope for good conditions, fair races and fair winds," he says.

Typically the wind off Civitavecchia is thermal and the average sea breeze for mid-to-late August is in the 8-12 knot range, enough to get the GC32s fully foiling.

Marazzi, who won the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour's Cowes Cup in June, is also looking forward to showcasing the one design foiling catamarans in Italy and the competition between the circuit's top international teams from Switzerland, France and Oman, and sailors including winners of the America's Cup and Extreme Sailing Series. "There should be a lot of spectators on the beach to watch this spectacular racing format. We won't be as close as in Kiel, but it will still be easy to watch."

And of course Marazzi hopes that the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour's debut in sailing-mad Italy will attract more owners. "For sure there is potential in Italy to attract owners from different classes. And the move from a keelboat to a foiling catamaran is not that big a deal." Marazzi himself made the move to the one design foiling catamaran from the Star keelboat in which he represented his native Switzerland in four Olympic Games.

The Alinghi team looks forward to the Trofeo di Roma: "For Alinghi it is a real pleasure to be back in Italy. After the Round the Island race in Cowes, which was an amazing experience, it is fantastic to go sailing in the Mediterranean Sea.

"The team did an incredible job in Kiel, winning the event, and we can't wait to be sailing again next week. The Italian public has always been very supportive of Alinghi, which we appreciate very much indeed. In particular, the team has really fond memories of the Trapani event that we organised as Defender of the America's Cup back in 2005 and which was a tremendous success.

"Italians are naturally fans of sport - 'panem et circenses', as Juvenal put it - and it is in the DNA of the Romans. We know that the crowds in Civitavecchia will be brilliant. We also have no doubt that the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour will provide them with an unforgettable spectacle, with our foiling machines flying along, close to the shore. Alinghi is now second on the Championship leaderboard, just one point behind Sultanate of Oman - the battle will be tense and may the best team win!"

Racing at Civitavecchia takes place over 27th-30th August, with the start of racing at 1130 daily.
Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour - overall standings after three events
Pos Team Total
1    Sultanate of Oman                6
2    Alinghi                                   7
3    Spindrift racing                     10
4    ARMIN STROM Sailing Team  11
5    Team ENGIE                          12
6    Team Argo 32                       17