The scintillating 2013 Giraglia Rolex Cup start is on the horizon. In upwards of 200 yachts representing almost twenty countries will contest this historic annual event, which has been running for 60 uninterrupted years. Competition on the water starts this evening with around half the fleet scheduled to participate in the 58-nm prologue race running from Sanremo, Italy to Saint-Tropez, France. Over the weekend, the international fleet will swell in size and engage in three days of inshore racing off Saint-Tropez. This is typically a chance to sharpen teamwork and tactics ahead of the main event – the 243-nm offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa via the Giraglia rock, which commences on Wednesday 19 June.
2013 Giraglia Rolex - ONE (ITA) approaches the Giraglia rock
The offshore race is beautifully set-up. In the absence of Esimit Europa 2, the first boat to finish in the last three editions and race record breaker in 2012, the battle for supremacy is wide open particularly amongst the striking collection of Mini Maxis - yachts measuring from 60-79 ft. Andres Soriano last tasted line honours glory helming his 68-ft Mini Maxi Alegre to success in 2009. Soriano returns in 2013 with his brand-new 72-ft Alegre in what will be its first offshore outing. Poignantly, Soriano will face stiff competition from his former boat now under the ownership of Swiss Alexander Schaerer and racing as Caol Ila R. Schaerer demonstrated the yacht’s continuing potential with a recent victory at the Rolex Volcano Race. Ran 2, Niklas Zennstrom’s twice winner of the Rolex Fastnet, is eager to add success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup to its impressive array of honours. Hap Fauth’s American Bella Mente is currently the Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion and is now seeking to prove its ability in the demanding rigours of an offshore environment. Italian Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig and Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou of the United Kingdom - second fastest finisher at the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup - are also likely to be among the frontrunners. Another significant candidate for line honours, and certain to catch the eye at the front of the fleet, is Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Magic Carpet 3, the recently launched Wally Cento.
2013 Giraglia Rolex course map
In the competition for overall victory on handicap, American George Sakellaris’ 72-ft Shockwave is one of four yachts on the 2013 entry list to have previously won the main prize, albeit under former owner Neville Crichton in 2010. The remaining boats with Giraglia Rolex Cup winning pedigree are defending champion Near Miss, a TP52 from Switzerland, 2011 French winner Foxy Lady and Italian entrant Edimetra, a Wally 65 owned by Ernesto Gismondi and triumphant in 1999. The contest to be crowned overall winner of the competition is always an open affair and difficult to predict. A combination of teamwork and tactics will play a key part, but so too will the wind and its vagaries. The Giraglia Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Italiano, in conjunction with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and the Yacht Club de France, prestigious organisations with well-established ties to Rolex, title sponsors of the historic event since 1998.
The Giraglia rock from a distance
2013 Giraglia Rolex - 2011 overall winner NEAR MISS (SUI) after the offshore race start
Peter Ogden at the helm of Jethou (GBR) during inshore racing at the Giraglia Rolex Cup
Dockside in Saint-Tropez - 2013 Giraglia Rolex Cup
2013 Giraglia Rolex cup fleet with Saint-Tropez in the background
Event Schedule Friday 14 June: Race Sanremo, Italy to Saint-Tropez, France – 58-nm; Registration and Inspection Saturday 15 June: Registration and Inspection (Saint-Tropez) Sunday 16 June: Inshore racing (Saint-Tropez) Monday 17 June: Inshore racing (Saint-Tropez); Rolex Crew Party (Saint-Tropez) Tuesday 18 June: Inshore racing (Saint-Tropez) Wednesday 19 June: Offshore race start – 243-nm Saint-Tropez - La Fourmigue - La Giraglia - Genoa Thursday 20 June: Arrival of first boats (Genoa) Race record: 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds Friday 21 June (depending on boat arrivals): Final prizegiving, Yacht Club Italiano (Genoa) Event website
2013 Giraglia Rolex - EDIMETRA, ITA