Alfa Romeo dominated the final heat of the inshore series in the Giraglia Rolex Cup today, but it wasn’t good enough to win the series. In IRC Group A, a fifthth place was good enough for Paolo Scerni’s Swan 42 Kora 4 to secure overall victory comfortably from the 40-footer Fissa.
The wind was a long time coming to the Gulf of St Tropez. The fleet of 167 boats waited until almost 3 o’clock before the race committee was satisfied there was sufficient wind, at which they point they sent the fleet on a short course which took line honours winner Alfa Romeo just an hour and a quarter.
In addition to line honours – which is to be expected for a boat as sleek and well-sailed as Alfa - Neville Crichton was pleased to win today’s race by more than five minutes on handicap from Farr 52 Nikimar, especially as the wind increased slightly as the race progressed. 'We thought we’d sailed well yesterday,' said the New Zealand skipper, 'and we ended up 31st.' So in a similar scenario today he somehow managed to secure the win, even if he still only finished 4th overall in class.
In the other big boat division, ORC Group A, it was the biggest boats which also enjoyed the best result on handicap today. Wally 65 Edimetra VI won the race, lifting her to third overall, just behind 70-foot Maxi, Atalanta II. However, the cruiser/racer Comet 51 Andromeda managed to hold off the race yachts to cling on to overall victory in the division.
Owner Massimo Guardigli said: 'We are very happy to have achieved this result with a cruising boat that we take on holiday with the children. We have proved that it is possible to get good results with this boat. Of course, the credit goes to the crew, and to Cristiana Monina helmed the last two races. She integrated very well into the team.'
Jean Claude Bertrand maintained his winning streak with A-35 Tchin-Tchin, taking today’s race by more than three minutes on corrected time and dominating IRC Group B with a fistful of first places. Jean-Louis Boue’s Rakam came third today, lifting the First 36.7 to 2nd overall ahead of A-109 Galanga.
In ORC Group B, Federico Massari’s Grand Soleil 341 Mariel won the race today, but Manida’s 2nd place was good enough for co-owners Alberto Patrone and Francesco Damonte to retain their lead and win the division overall.
There was high drama in the GP42 fleet. It was a day when owner of leading Swiss boat Franck Noel might have regretted naming his boat Near Miss, after she ran aground during the first race of the day. Meanwhile Sandro Montefusco’s Airis was getting stronger and stronger, and two wins in the final two heats put her equal on points with Desafio. On tie-break Airis sneaked victory in this, the second leg of the Quebramar GP42 Cup.
By the end of a dramatic day, the top four boats had completely reversed their order, a mark of a new class that promises some thrilling competition in the coming years. Owner of Airis Robert Monti commented: 'The key to victory was to stay focused for the entire event, and for that reason we started 4th going into the last day but finished 1st.'
Competitors will gather tonight at La Citadelle on the hill overlooking St Tropez for the prize giving and gala dinner. Prizes are to be awarded to the best-placed yachts from the past three days of inshore racing.
Tomorrow a fleet of more than 200 yachts will start the 56th Giraglia Race, a 243-mile marathon starting from St Tropez via the Giraglia Rock at the northern tip of Corsica to the finish in the Italian port of Genoa. Provisional Results – Overall after completion of inshore series
IMS Class 0-2 (top three)
1. Andromeda – Antonio Ronconi – Comet 51S – 17 points
2. Atalanta II – Carlo Puri Negri – Farr 70 – 20 points
3. Edimetra VI – Ernesto Gismondi – Wally 65 – 21 points
IRC Class 0-2 (top three)
1. Kora 4 – Paolo Scerni – Swan 42 – 15 points
2. Fissa – Ettore Yachting – A 40 RC – 23 points
3. Nikimar – Christophe Picard – Farr 52 – 26 points
IMS Class 3-4 (top three)
1. Manida – Alberto Patrone/Francesco Damonte – Proto – 7 points
2. Calima – Javier Pujol – Prototipo – 9 points
3. Almogaver – Antoine Illies – X-332 –11 points
IRC Class 3-4 (top three) 1. Tchin-Tchin – Jean Claude Bertrand – A-35 – 3 points
2. Rakam – Jean-Louis Boue – First 36.7 – 13 points
3. Galanga – Philippe de Saignes – A-109 – 13 points Final Results from 9 races – GP42 Quebramar Cup
GP42 class (top three)
1. Airis, Roberto Monti – 28 points
2. Desafio, Gonçalo Esteves – 28 points
3. Canarias Puerto Calero, Jose Calero – 29 points