Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

Breezy departure for Giraglia Rolex Cup

Esimit Europa 2 on track for outright record

Wednesday June 13th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

At 10:20 UTC today 170 boats from 18 countries set sail from Saint-Tropez on the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup.

This historic 60th edition of the Mediterranean classic runs some 242-nautical miles to Sanremo, Italy via the Giraglia rock off north Corsica. Conditions point towards it being a big boat race with strong wind forecast for the first 12 hours of racing at least. Even the start was held in 30 knots with 40-45 knots forecast for the Giraglia rock rounding for the leading boats.

The crews were bracing themselves for a wet and uncomfortable start to the race as they prepared to set sail this morning. “It will be very demanding with a lot of wind throughout today,” explained Francesco de Angelis, tactician onboard the 62ft Natali–B2 (ITA). “For tomorrow we are forecasting a certain drop in conditions and some changes of direction bringing lighter winds. It will be a difficult race for everyone although, as always, you can never predict what is going to happen…”

Franck Noel’s TP52 Near Miss (SUI) impressed during the three days of inshore racing in Saint-Tropez and the crew is primed for a tough offshore race. “With the conditions forecast it will be vital not to break anything and navigate intelligently as these will be very fast conditions for us. Our target is to achieve a good result but to do this we must focus on finishing the race,” said Benoit Briand, part of the afterguard.

At the lower end of the fleet, the might of the elements will be especially punishing. Camillo Capozzi is a historic winner of the Giraglia Rolex Cup having claimed the overall handicap prize in 2006 with his well-travelled Polaris 33 Ala Bianca (ITA). Capozzi observed: “This will be her 21st Giraglia. We’ll suffer a lot especially on the first stretch to La Fourmigue and become more competitive as we approach our home waters in Liguria. The Giraglia is a magic island, although it can give us grief whether there is too much wind or too little!”

The favourite for line honours – Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) – led the fleet at 13:45 UTC, ahead of nearest rival Jethou (GBR), Sir Peter Ogden’s 62ft Mini Maxi. The former's target is to beat the race record which stands at 18 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds set in 2008.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano, in conjunction with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and the Yacht Club de France.

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