Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

Jethou and Near Miss on top

Giraglia Rolex Cup inshore races start off

Sunday June 10th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup is underway. Today, under blue skies in Saint-Tropez, the first of three days of inshore racing took place for the fleet, in excess of 100 yachts, divided into two groups. The larger boats, including the Maxis of over 60ft, competed on a 31.9 mile course, while the smaller classes sailed 26.4 miles.

Conditions were testing: 15-18 knots of breeze at the 11:20 start, building to 30 knots during parts of the race. Impressing on the water were today’s winners: Jethou (GBR) in Group 0 IRC, Near Miss (SUI) in Group A IRC, Swift (FRA) in Group B IRC, Mandolino (ITA) in Group A ORC and Baciottinho (ITA) in Group B ORC.

This followed Friday’s prologue race, from San Remo to Saint-Tropez. Sixty-two boats participated with the 52ft Maltese yacht Dralion coming through on handicap.

Meanwhile, thoughts are firmly focused on the week’s main event – the 242 nm race from Saint Tropez to San Remo via the Giraglia Rock, off the northern tip of Corsica, which commences on Wednesday 13 June. Yachts representing almost 20 countries are expected to participate in this historic 60th race.

Carlo Croce, President of event organisers Yacht Club Italiano, is looking forward to the contest ahead: “Almost 200 boats should be participating, demonstrating that the Giraglia Rolex Cup has a place in everyone’s heart. Many nations, from almost everywhere, are represented and above all lots of larger boats which hasn’t always been the case. A very high level of competition is in prospect.”

Croce, whose father Beppe was one of the race’s co-founders, is delighted that the ethos and traditions of the event have been maintained despite the enormous changes that have taken place during 60 years of competition. “The spirit of the Giraglia comes from having a mixed fleet: from small, family-run boats to professional crews who have taken part in events like the America’s Cup. This is the essence of the Giraglia Rolex Cup and it is important that it has not been lost.” Fittingly, this year’s race finishes in Sanremo – just like the inaugural event in 1953 (when the start was from Cannes) and the subsequent editions from 1954-1958 which departed from Saint-Tropez.

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