Oman Aire

Last year in Cabo on board GC32, there's Jerry Fiat on stern on the tiller, Phil Robertson next to him, with Steward Dobson, James Wiezbowski, Peter Greenhalgh and Nasser Al Mashari.

Multihull enthusiast Jerry Fiat was in Long Beach in April 2019 preparing for the Newport to Ensenada (N2E) race on an AC45, a former Oracle training boat. Young sabot sailors, professional racers and local sailing legends were all blown away with the foiling capabilities they witnessed while the boat was here.

Well, Utah’s Fiat is at it again.

The self-proclaimed “deal junkie” recently negotiated the purchase of three GC32s. He is hoping to raise awareness of the boats and get local sailors racing them in friendly competition.

His mission is to establish a partnership with a yacht club or youth group and campaign the boats with a Corinthian spirit, including youth sailors and those wanting to learn more about foiling.

He is also entertaining queries from others who would be interested in investing in the venture.

GC32 is a class of hydro foiling catamaran, 32 feet made of carbon fiber, with a top speed of about 40 knots. They were sailed in the GC32 Racing Tour, and have replaced the Extreme 40s in the Extreme Sailing Series.

The GC32 shares some similarities with the America's Cup catamarans, but the foils are substantially larger (compared to the boat's size). This makes the boats more controllable, easier to steer and able to foil in low wind speeds.

They will be shipped from France at the end of August and they should be here in Long Beach early to mid-September.

Long Beach crowd favorite Congressional Cup Skipper Phil Robertson told me last year, “We are here training for SailGP in San Francisco with my China team. I’ve been giving Jerry and his team a hand to get up to speed in this new boat.”

Second place Congressional Cup 2019 finishing skipper Scott Dickson was part of last year’s AC45 practice. Jerry Fiat has shared his current plan in detail with Dickson.

Dickson told me in a phone call this week, “I like Fiat’s approach — it is low key, with no rock stars. They are incredible machines and it will be nice to have them in local waters.”

I asked Dickson about the plan to have one experienced sailing professional on board each of the three boats and Dickson joked, “Well, someone has to help get them up and going (foiling) and making sure they remain sunny side up.”

"Long Beach is a fantastic spot to train, especially on high speed foiling boats," Phil Robertson said. "The flat water inside the breakwater is ideal and the building sea breeze every day is beyond perfect. (Last year) We spent seven days sailing and could pick almost any conditions we wanted each day. Long Beach is a great location for training camps and I expect us to be back.”

Last year, three Long Beach Sabot sailors also went for a spin while the AC45 was in Long Beach — Jack Snow, Preston Woodworth and Kai Bramble.

After his day on the water, Bramble said he felt weightless and exhilarated when he foiled on the AC boat last year. When asked about the possibility of having GC32s based in Long Beach he said, “Oh, to get that feeling again.”

Many of us Long Beach sailors dream about experiencing foiling on a world class catamaran as much as giving young sailors the opportunity to sail on these machines. Hopefully with support of local groups and some docking space, locals can experience the thrill that Kai Bramble values so much.

If you have any Long Beach “On the Water” news to share, please email me at Jo@JoVenture.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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