Saint-Tropez, 12 June 2018  Act two of the 2018 Rolex Giraglia concluded earlier today as momentum now builds for tomorrow’s start to one of the Mediterranean’s most famous offshore races. The three-day inshore series in Saint-Tropez witnessed a range of conditions, provided engaging competition across all classes and helped prepare crews registered for the 241-nm offshore race to Genoa, Italy with the opportunity to sharpen tactics and hone teamwork.

All classes were able to complete today’s racing schedule after unstable conditions caused most of yesterday’s programme to be cancelled. The Maxi, Wally Cento and Swan One Design classes tackled windward/leeward courses while the majority of the fleet completed coastal courses of varying lengths. Among the standout performers from the inshore series were Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball, winner of the IRC 0 class, Magic Carpet Cubed, best performing Wally Cento, and Cuordileone triumphant ClubSwan 50.

Following the conclusion of the inshore series, the focus switches to tomorrow’s 66th running of the Rolex Giraglia offshore race. Key decisions such as sail choices, crew selection and tactical strategies will be thoroughly assessed ahead of the midday start. The offshore race is an intense, rigorous challenge defined by two distinct legs.

The race for line honours appears wide open. Among the favourites to finish first are three Wally Centos, Magic Carpet Cubed – line honours winner in 2016 – Galateia and Tango together with the 100-ft Maxi thoroughbred Leopard 3 and six Maxi 72s. The current race record is held by Igor Simcic’s Esimit Europa 2 which set a formidable time of 14 hours, 56 minutes when the Rolex Giraglia ran to Sanremo in 2012.

Conditions will dictate which yacht gains an advantage on the racecourse. “There are half a dozen boats that could easily win this race on line honours. It just depends on what the wind does,” explains Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Magic Carpet Cubed owner. “More than 20 knots downwind and the Maxi 72s will be unbeatable. If it is a long slog upwind across to the Giraglia rock then it will be the 100-footers which will benefit, one of the big Wallys or Leopard 3.”

Experienced French sailor Marc Pajot, Saint-Tropez resident and a key member of the crew on Tango, is leaning towards the prospect of a light air race. “The offshore race risks being long this year because the latest forecasts do not show a lot of wind. We are not expecting to round the Giraglia rock until early on Thursday morning. Fortunately, we will be one of the faster yachts and between the three Wally Centos it will be a very close contest.” Vasco Vascotto, tactician on Cannonball, a Maxi 72, is in agreement: “Saving surprises when we look at the forecast tomorrow morning it is likely to be a light wind race.”

“At the moment it looks like a 30-hour race for us,” explains Jean-Philippe Gallois, main trimmer on the defending champion Freccia Rossa, a TP52 from Italy. “The conditions will probably suit us as Freccia Rossa is a weapon in light winds.”

Gallois was a key member of the crew which claimed the Rolex Challenge Trophy awarded to the overall race winner on IRC handicap last year. “The Rolex Giraglia is not easy. Although it is a sprint, a lot of things can happen. There are really two parts, from Saint-Tropez to the Giraglia rock, and then the leg to Genoa. There is no room for compromises nor mistakes. You need to stay concentrated and focused on your own performance.”

For Ian Moore, navigator on Caro, the inshore series offered ideal preparation for the challenge ahead. “Even on an offshore race, the start can be critical. You need to get a good lane, ensure your set up is right and then, by starting well, you can control some of your competitors. The three days of inshore racing help as you practice starts and get to know the first part of the offshore race course very well.”

An international fleet of 222 yachts are expected to cross the start line tomorrow at 12:00 CEST. Preparation, resilience and an ability to tactically adapt to the prevailing conditions will be key factors for those chasing the race’s main prizes.

The Rolex Giraglia is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano (YCI) and the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez.


The race winners today: IRC 0 – Caol Ila R (GBR); IRC A – Alizee (FRA); IRC B – Chestress (ITA); ORC A – Selene-Alifax (NED), ORC B – Foxy Lady (ITA); Swan 45 – Porron IX (ESP); ClubSwan 50 – Cuordileone (ITA); Wally – Magic Carpet Cubed (GBR). 

Overall winners of the inshore racing series: IRC 0 – Cannonball (ITA); IRC A – Alizee (FRA); IRC B – Chestress (ITA); ORC A – Selene-Alifax (NED);  ORC B – Foxy Lady (ITA); Swan 45 – Porron IX (ESP); ClubSwan 50 – Cuordileone (ITA); Wally – Magic Carpet Cubed (GBR). 

Full results from the 2018 Rolex Giraglia can be found here.

Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that are motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Rolex naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events; from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker’s close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Yacht Club Italiano, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), New York Yacht Club (United States), and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, United Kingdom) are the foundation of Rolex’s enduring relationship with the pinnacle of this spectacular sport.

Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. 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. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.



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