Catamaran Malizia a newcomer in GC32 racing circuit with Pierre Casiraghi at the helm

First regatta departed from beautiful Lake Garda

This past Monday, May 23, 2016, Malizia, a fully flying foiling catamaran, joined the Monegasque fleet with Pierre Casiraghi at the helm, participating in the GC32 Racing Tour that started today in Italy. It is an incredible challenge for Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Hanover and Vice-President of the Yacht Club of Monaco.

The Monegasque team took possession of the GC32 on May 8, 2016 at Zwaag, the Netherlands, before heading for Riva del Garda, the departing site of the first of five regattas.

  1. Riva del Garda, Lake Garda – May 26-29
  2. Malcesine, Lake Garda – July 7-10
  3. Palma de Mallorca, Spain – August 3-6
  4. Sotogrande Cup, Spain – September 22-25
  5. Marseille one-design – October 13-16

The GC32 circuit attracts the very best international multi-hull sailors. Regattas are held in the Mediterranean with stages in Italy, Spain and France. It opens with two regattas on Lake Garda, the Italian lake that is considered as one of the world’s must-visit regatta venues. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, with its northern end nestled within the Alps, surrounded by giant mountains, but specially known for offering exceptional wind conditions and flat water. The first regatta will be held out of Fragia Vela Riva located in Riva del Garda, in the lake’s northernmost corner. The club is a favorite championship venue, especially with dinghy and Olympic classes and last year alone hosted World Championships for the Cadet, Topper and Musto Performance Skiff classes.

On board a flying boat

Malizia P.Casiraghi and his crew ready for GC32 Racing circuit 2016@Malizia[1]

A baptism by fire for the Monegasques, with the chance to compete against 11 other contestants. It will also be an excellent trial period, notably to fine tune trimming with foils, the two wing-like structures under the bow of the boat that enable it to literally fly above the water. The GC32 is truly a flying boat.

The catamaran was named in tribute to Francesco Grimaldi, a Genovese who arrived by sea in 1927 and founded his namesake family dynasty. He was nicknamed La Malizia in Monegasque language, meaning “the cunning”. For skipper Casiraghi the name has a special meaning: “Given what Malizia represents for us in the Principality of Monaco, I’ve always wanted to give this name to a race boat.” His grandfather Prince Rainier III had a sailing yacht of 25 meters with that name in 1989. (Photo: Malizia P.Casiraghi and his crew ready for GC32 Racing circuit 2016@Malizia

GC32 sailing boats specifications:

  • Length overall (LOA): 12m
  • Length (hull): 10m
  • Beam: 6m
  • Mast height (above deck): 16.5m
  • Mainsail: 60m2                                             
  • Jib: 23.5m2
  • Gennaker (used when sailing downwind): 90m2                                          
  • Weight: 750kg

Youngest team in the fleet

Pierre Casiraghi and his crew on board Malizia @Malizia[1]

Pierre Casiraghi, winner of the Rolex Giraglia Race 2014 and Melges 32 Gold Cup the same year and 4th in the 2015 Sydney-Hobart, will count with the assistance of experienced sailors. “We’re the youngest crew and I am by far the least experienced on the circuit! I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a team prepared to take up the challenge.” (Photo: Pierre Casiraghi and his crew onboard Malizia @Malizia)

Casiraghi is a dedicated sportsman having practiced football, athletics’, horse riding, and more, but sailing is his passion. His most memorable souvenirs are on board Tuiga (1909), but flying catamarans are the ones providing him with the most intense sensations, as their speed could reach 39 knots, that is three times more than the centenary sailboat.

There are few sailors qualified for this new type of boat and the GC32 course reunites the grand names in sailing, so Pierre Casiraghi tried to put together the best possible team. Among Malizia’s crew members is Sébastien Col, match racing specialist and regular participant in the America’s Cup; Boris Herrmann, a pure product of offshore racing and driving force behind this project alongside Pierre; Richard Mason who is equally at home on an Olympic dinghy as he is in the offshore Figaro; and Adam Piggott straight from the Extreme Sailing Series circuit The crew will be under the supervision of Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, winner of the Baccardi Cup 2012, a French Olympic team member with a clutch of victories in the Tour de France à la Voile under his belt, the coach has bags of experience to pass on.

The Monegasque skipper, who has been training in Riva del Garda with all the crew since May 16, 2016, said about the project: “We must be patient and take it one step at a time, as these boats are very powerful and quick. It’s imperative we take the humble approach.”

As if proof were required, when they tested it in Quiberon, “We were doing 24 knots, and as soon we started bearing away, within seconds we were up to speeds of 32 knots.” An extremely technical and demanding boat, safety will be a priority for Pierre Casiraghi who is keen to invest in equipment development. He added: “This being the first season, our objectives are simple: to learn and sail as effectively and cleanly as possible. We can’t wait for the start!” Five regattas are scheduled between now and October, with the first in Riva del Garda in Italy from May 29-29, 2016.

About Malizia’s sailors

Pierre Casiraghi: Skipper, age 27, Monegasque

  • Winner in real time of the Palermo-Montecarlo 2013 & 2014 (TP52)
  • Winner of the Cape2Rio Race 2014 (Maserati)
  • Winner of the Gold Cup (Melges 32 Robertissima) 2014
  • Winner of the Rolex Giraglia Race 2014 (Esimit Europa 2)
  • 4th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2015 (Maserati)

Boris Herrmann: Traveller, age 34, German

  • Fastest German around the world
  • 3 world tours (one in 47 days)
  • 10 world records

Sébastien Col: Mainsheet, age 38, French

  • Match Racing World Vice-Champion in 2008
  • Melges 24 World Champion in 2004
  • Match Racing European Champion
  • Melges 24 European Champion
  • Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015
  • America’s Cup 2000 & 2003 (afterguard)
  • Cup 2007 (helmsman)

Richard Mason: N°1, age 28, English

  • Under 21 European Champion in the 49er in 2008
  • 2nd in the 470 European Championship in 2012
  • 2nd in the Formula 18 World Championship in 2013

Pierre-Alexis Ponsot: Coach, age 41, French

  • Two-time winner of the Sailing World Cup 2009-2012
  • Winner of the Baccardi Cup in the Star class in 2012
  • 4 victories in the Tour de France à la Voile
  • Several selections for French Olympic team
  • Member of France’s Olympic Sailing Team for the London games

Adam Piggott: Headsail trimmer, age 28, English

Professional racer in the RED Bull Team for the Extreme Sailing Series (preparatory trials for the America’s Cup)

Today’s Quote

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Seneca the Younger



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