Maxi lock swords at Giraglia Rolex Cup

Stars of the sailing world will descend on St Tropez in June to take part in this classic Mediterranean event

Friday May 11th 2001, Author: Susannah Bourne, Location: United Kingdom

The Giraglia Rolex Cup is shaping up to be the most competitive ever in its long history. Now part of the Mediterranean Big Boat Series, some of the world's most talented sailors are set to descend on Saint Tropez in late June for the 49th edition of this 243-mile offshore race to the Giraglia Rock off the coast of Corsica, and on to the finish line in Genoa, Italy.

The first leg of the Big Boat Series in Portofino saw a who’s who of talent competing - New Zealanders Grant Dalton and Warwick Fleury, American Paul Cayard and Dutchman Bouwe Bekking were there along with the legendary Sir Peter Blake. Owners of racing maxis demand nothing but the best, whether in terms of equipment or crew, and like last year the 2001 Giraglia Rolex Cup will be contested by the most talented sailors.

Tiketitan has now passed into the ownership of a German motor racing magnate and in place of Vasco Vascotto - the multiple world champion now training for the Italian America’s Cup team Mascalzone Latino - the swing-keeled Wally yacht has three-time Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schuemann calling tactics.

Olympic champion and French AC star Thierry Peponnet raced at last year's event aboard Carlo Perrone's spectacular custom-built Virtuelle, on her first competitive outing. The sleek silver yacht was not performing to her full potential in those early days, but later in the year at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Peponnet steered Virtuelle to two consecutive victories in the windiest races of the event.

Now the Virtuelle crew are familiar with this stunning yacht and her capabilities, they will be hoping for breeze to propel them to a high placing at this year’s Giraglia Rolex Cup.

Among the more conventional maxis will be Edimetra and Rose Selavy, the latter owned by Riccardo Bonadeo who won the Trofeo Zegna in late April. He will have his usual contingent of highly skilled professionals aboard, headed up by former AC helmsman Mauro Pelaschier and backed up by more recent Cup participants including Prada bowman Alberto Fantini and Stefano Rizzi.

Another America's Cup sailor, Bruno Troublé, will be back racing with L'Orèal cosmetics chief Lindsay Owen-Jones on the Wally 77 Magic Carpet. The highly competitive Maxi fleet who will be intent on scooping line honours in this prestigious race.

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