THREE EVENTS IN ONE
Renowned for its prevailing Corinthian spirit and proud traditions, the Giraglia Rolex Cup is three events in one, comprising overnight races from Marseilles and Sanremo to Saint-Tropez; an inshore series in Saint-Tropez; and the famous offshore race ‘La Giraglia’, which runs 241 nautical miles from Saint-Tropez to Genoa via the islet that gives the event its name. The 65th edition starts on Friday, 9 June 2017.
The event was established in 1953, in the aftermath of the Second World War, to help repair relations between Italy and France. It has been held every year since and has developed into one of the biggest sailing festivals of the Mediterranean season, with around 3,000 professional and amateur crew members from all over Europe and beyond taking part.
CAMARADERIE AND RESPECT
Created by the then presidents of the Yacht Club Italiano and the Yacht Club de France in a Paris bistro, the event is still organized by a combination of French and Italian yacht clubs. Today, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and the Yacht Club Italiano, both prestigious partner yacht clubs of Rolex, maintain the founding principles of friendship and fraternity.
The three-race inshore series in Saint-Tropez provides both fierce competition on the water and a cherished opportunity ashore for crews to meet and exchange stories in one of France’s most convivial and enviable Mediterranean ports. The 2017 inshore series takes place from 11 – 13 June.
Commencing on Wednesday, 14 June the offshore race is the biggest draw of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. The race is intense, and the margins for error are minimal. Precise navigation, flawless decision making and strong teamwork are essential attributes for the competing crew. The Giraglia islet, which lends the race its name, has achieved mythic status in the sailing world, similar to the Fastnet Rock, the Organ Pipes and Stromboli. A large ridge-backed rock, the Giraglia is the northern extension of the Cap Corse. It lies barely one nautical mile off the coast of Corsica, measuring 600 metres in length, a mere 50 metres wide and rising just 60 metres above sea level.
The Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race record stands at 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds, set by Igor Simcic’s 100-foot Maxi Esimit Europa 2 in 2012. Over the history of the race, some of the world’s fastest yachts have attempted to set benchmark times. It is no easy task. A new record has been set on only six occasions since the famous photo finish between EA of Italy and Amity of France marked the inaugural race in 1953. While line honours is the principal target of the fastest yachts and is rewarded with the Rolex Trophy and a Rolex timepiece, the more coveted prize and the one contested by the entire fleet is overall victory on IRC handicap. This worthy winner is also justly rewarded with the Rolex Challenge Trophy and a Rolex timepiece. Gilles Pages and his Corinthian crew on the 36-ft French yacht Tip triumphed in 2016.
ROLEX, AN INTEGRAL PARTNER
Rolex has been Title Sponsor of the Giraglia Rolex Cup since 1998. In close collaboration with the Yacht Club Italiano and the other organizing clubs, the Swiss watch brand has helped raise the stature and appeal of this event to today’s extraordinary heights. The rationale behind Rolex’s commitment is wholly natural. Rolex’s involvement in yachting is anchored by deep-rooted partnerships with a number influential yacht clubs that reflect sailing’s traditions and elegance. The Yacht Club Italiano sits within this elite group, which includes among others the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Furthermore, Rolex has a proven affinity for races and regattas that set the highest standards of excellence, respect heritage and enable Corinthian sailors to rub shoulders with professional racers. In this regard, the Giraglia Rolex Cup stands alongside the Rolex Fastnet Race, the 47th edition of which takes place this August and the Rolex Sydney Hobart, which starts every year on 26 December.
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