Wind builds for Giraglia race

The offshore race from St Tropez kicks off, finally in a reasonable breeze

Thursday June 20th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mediterranean

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Currently My Song (above) , a shade to the north holds a narrow lead over Idea en route to the Giraglia rock off the north coast of Corsica. They should round the rock mid-afternoon.

185 boats from 11 countries took the start line of the Giraglia Rolex Cup's offshore race, sailing for the first time this week in a reasonable breeze of 10-12 knots that piped up from the south at 1130.

Among the fleet were classics such as Lelantina, Windrift, Gitana VI and Amadeus, to the ultra fast Virtuelle owned by publisher Carlo Perrone, Riviera di Rimini of Romagna businessman Giorgio Benvenuti, the current Giraglia record holder with a time of 24 hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds and Nastro Azzurro, Giorgio Saviotti's 50 footer with Rudi Peroni aboard.

Once again the smaller classes started first, watched by many spectator craft along with tourists, onlookers and sailing enthusiasts who crowded the harbour wall at St. Tropez.

Among the maxi class it was Raffaele Raiola's Idea who got off the best start with Paolo Semeraro at the helm and soon took first position. But he sacrificed this after opting for a wide tack off on port. Pigi Loro Piana's My Song, helmed by Lorenzo Bressani, Ernesto Gismondi's Edimetra with Enrico Passoni at the helm and tactician Mauro Pelaschier, Magic Carpet owned by L'Oreal president Lindsay Owen Jones, Calzedonia with Nicola and Ciccio Celon, Arien Van Vemde's new Sotto Voce and the Swan 70 Bugia Bianca owned by Massimo Dentice and led by Vasco Vascotto, headed inland on the other hand, followed closely behind by Korathe, the brand new Swan owned by Genoese businessman Gianni Scerni.

15 miles away from the starting line, the boats are about to pass Cap Camarat, the last cape before the Island of Levante. My Song is currently leading followed by Idea, Bugia Bianca, the classic yacht Kalima owned by Spaniard Javier Pujol and La Forza del Destino, the new Swan 45 one design of Aldo Fozzati.

more pictures by Guido Cantini of SEE & SEA on pages 2 and 3...

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