Saint-Tropez – 14, June 2017. The famous race is underway. At 12:45 today an international fleet of 209 yachts commenced the 65th running of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Departing from Saint-Tropez, France, their destination is the historic port city of Genoa, Italy with 241-nautical miles of tactically challenging sailing in constantly shifting weather patterns lying ahead. On route to Genoa, the fleet will round the race’s symbolic landmark, the Giraglia rock, located off the northern tip of Corsica.
Following a sunshine start under a consistent 6-8 knots of wind, the early stages of the race went to form with the three Maxi 72s leading the fleet and picking up good speed as the breeze built on the passage to La Fourmigue. Alex Schärer’s Caol Ila R, top performer in the week’s inshore series, Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou from the United Kingdom and Dieter Schön’s German entrant Momo, optimized specifically for offshore racing, are set to dominate the front of the race.
Schärer identified the Giraglia rock as a key juncture in the race. Ogden was in agreement: “It is important to round the rock before the wind dies. After that we will look at the forecast and choose the best route to Genoa.”
Processing the latest weather data on the docks this morning, navigators were largely in agreement that the 2017 race will be dominated by lighter conditions notably on the final leg from the Giraglia rock to the finish line in front of the Yacht Club Italiano clubhouse in Genoa. “You can divide this race into lots of small sections,” explains Gérald Véniard, French navigator/tactician on Wallyño, someone who relishes the persistent challenges the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race presents. “It’s the weather which will determine the technical difficulty of each part. The Mediterranean is very unique, with weather patterns which are not always kind. The wind can pick up and then drop very quickly. This capricious nature gives every boat its chance.” Matteo Capurro, tactician on Adriano Calvini’s Itacentodue believes the race will demand a lot of energy and crew resources. “It will be very hard because of the constant changes in wind intensity. To make sure you have the right sails at the right time is hugely important.”
The weather, and how successfully crews are able to adapt tactically and navigationally to changing situations, plays a significant role in determining the overall race winner, decided on corrected time, and theoretically within reach of any yacht in the fleet. The race’s democratic nature is reflected in the diversity of the recent winners - last year Frenchman Gilles Pages helmed the Corinthian-sailed 36-ft Tip to success while in 2015 Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s cutting-edge Wally Cento Magic Carpet Cubed claimed the race’s main prize.
The frontrunners were forecasting arrival at the Giraglia rock at around sunrise on Thursday morning and arrival in Genoa later that same day or in the early hours of Friday morning.
Live tracking of the fleet can be found at www.giragliarolexcup.com
A NATURAL AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER
Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that, like itself, are motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Naturally, Rolex gravitated toward the elite world of sailing, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of some 15 major international events.
From leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race and the Giraglia Rolex Cup, through to the highest-level one-design competition at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup, as well as its close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Yacht Club Italiano, New York Yacht Club (US) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, UK), Rolex is driven by a passion for excellence and a great appreciation for yachting that furthers the strong ties that bind these two singular worlds.
Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programmes.
For further information on Rolex and Yachting please contact:
Ms Virginie Chevailler
+41 22 302 26 19
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+41 79 763 37 34
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