High-speed and dramatic sailing action is brought to shore-side spectators around the world next year with expansion of the spectacular M32 race series for catamarans just announced in Sydney, Australia.
After a summer Series in Scandinavia and a Winter Series the USA during 2014, the M32 Cup is set to undergo unprecedented expansion in 2015 and deliver on its ambition of multiple regional Series, but with a truly global footprint. New circuits for the 32 ft high performance racing catamaran will be launched in Iberia, European Lakes and the UK plus a North American Summer Series – and that’s just the start.
From the outset, the M32 Cup has been designed as a professional circuit with corporate backing for both the circuit itself and the competing yachts. This is already furthest advanced with the Scandinavian Series, now going into its third season. This year most of the boats had sponsors while the series had backing from Land Rover, Sail Racing clothing and Moet champagne.
Mathias Rahm, managing director of the Scandinavian Series, says: “Now we can show people and the sponsors what we have been doing. They think that this is a great event.” In 2015, the intention is to have eight-to-ten events spread across the circuits where there will be live TV.
The aim of the new M32 Sailing Yacht Series is to enable talented sailors to compete in the fastest, most dynamic and competitive sailing events in the world, but at an affordable cost on a regional basis. It fills a void in the current sailing marketplace between budgets needed for small boat dinghy racing and the seemingly inaccessible world of large professional competition.
It sets out to provide a platform that is commercially viable for teams, partners and sponsors as well as being exciting to watch. For the amateur it provides a path to a career in professional racing with exciting and challenging arena-style racing, attractive to sailors and sponsors alike. M32 events take place over four days, with as many races being sailed as can fit in between 1400 and 1700 hours.
For the professional racer, the new M32 Series delivers the highest levels of competition against fellow accomplished sailors looking for a new series to complement their existing programs such as America’s Cup, Olympic Sailing, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, IMOCA and Volvo Ocean Race.
“There is huge interest at the moment,” says Rahm. “We have around 20 teams working really hard to get into the Series in Scandinavia. We have interest from Scandinavia, of course, but also from other countries like Great Britain, Germany, and Poland – this shows that the way we run the Series is a smart way to do it.”
More immediately, racing is set to resume in Florida for the M32 Miami Winter Series comprising four events, starting January 8. This will be followed by two more back-to-back events, the first running into Bacardi Miami Sailing Week over March 1-7. A second US circuit will take place over the summer starting in San Francisco in May. The M32 US Series continues in Chicago, Long Island (NY), Newport and concludes in Boston in September. Further circuits in a number of regions of Europe will be announced early in the new year when all of the details are finalised.
With the additional series to be announced, the M32 Cup is set to one of the fastest growing classes of all time. Sohtell says: “Across the world, we see 25 and 40 regions that could hold a M32 series over the coming years. 2015 is just the start of the evolution of the M32 Series, and I am confident that it is going to be followed up by plenty more in the coming years.”
Ultimately, Sohtell anticipates that the M32 Cup will be running at two levels – Grand Prix, for the pro teams or top private owners committed to competing in the whole circuit and a ‘Gran Turisma’ circuit suitable for private owners with less time and unable or unwilling to commit to competing on the Grand Prix circuit. The racing on the latter could include more traditional, longer courses, as well as established events such as the UK’s JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Rac and Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, plus Centoliglia, the Bol d’Or and Copa del Rey.
The M32 cat is sailed by a crew of four to five. It is designed for racing and has speed enough to beat 40-footer with asymmetrical foils creating the perfect amount of lift and stability, making the hulls skim the surface. It is designed to be easy to assemble and tow behind an ordinary car. The special two-piece mast and the bolt-on beams make for speedy assembly while two complete boats with spares and equipment fit in a 40 ft container.