Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS 728-X-90 TOP

Rolex Giraglia: experience and expertise rewarded

by Quinag 20 Jun 04:56 PDT 13-19 June 2021

For nearly seventy years, sailors have been drawn to the unquestionable allure of the Rolex Giraglia. From its humble beginnings in 1953 to its position today as one of the most respected and important annual sailing events in the Mediterranean, the competition has always showcased the true spirit of the sport.

Rolex has partnered the event since 1998, an integral part of its longstanding association with both offshore racing and with organizers, like the Yacht Club Italiano (YCI), who provide a professional and competitive platform for sailors to demonstrate their commitment, passion and sense of community.

This year's 68th edition demanded great flexibility and dedication from participants and organizers alike. In an exceptional change to the traditional programme and to ensure the staging of a safe event for all involved, the event's principal contest, its 241-nautical mile (446-km) offshore race, started and finished in Italy.

Despite the challenges involved in getting to the Sanremo start line, an impressive international fleet of 138 yachts took part. From the sunshine spinnaker start to contrasting upwind and downwind legs to and from the Giraglia rock, the race offered a variety of conditions and posed frequent tactical questions. That 124 yachts completed the course is testament to the preparation and skill of the competing crews.

Emerging triumphant and earning overall victory on handicap from a diverse range of yachts was the Sydney 43 GTS Imagine. A tale of a crew fully invested in this great race. Co-owned by Gilles Argellies and Jean-Claude André, she sailed excellently, the all-French crew using their vast experience in anticipating constant changes in wind speed and direction. As Jean-Claude André reveals, victory is the result of a number of factors coming together:

"The race demanded competence in every area, from the point of view of our boat, our crew and our tactics. Nobody can predict who will win this race as a lot of aspects are at play. We knew we were doing well on the water and a key moment was the direction we took after the turning mark off Cannes to the Giraglia. It is a great feeling to win the Rolex Giraglia after some 15 to 20 years of participation."

For the race's fastest yachts, competing primarily for line honours, the prospect of close competition added particular lustre to the edition. Three 30-metre (100-foot) Maxis - Arca SGR, Leopard 3 and Magic Carpet Cubed - set their sights on crossing the finish line off Genoa first.

Magic Carpet Cubed, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones's Wallycento, arrived with the greater Rolex Giraglia pedigree having twice won line honours (2013, 2016) and once (2015) achieving overall victory on handicap. Highly-competitive throughout the past two decades Leopard 3 is a former Rolex Fastnet Race record holder. The first-time presence of Arca SGR, in her former guises a regular frontrunner at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, added an element of additional intrigue.

Italian-crewed and skippered by Furio Benussi, Arca SGR assumed control of the race during its early hours. She held a 15-minute advantage as first yacht to round the race's emblematic and rugged landmark, the Giraglia rock, and in the subsequent downwind conditions in which she habitually excels, her lead grew. Despite nearest rival Magic Carpet Cubed showing great determination in reducing the deficit in the final stages of the race Arca SGR held on for victory. Her elapsed time of 26 hours, eight minutes and ten seconds ensures the stunning race record of under 15 hours set nearly a decade ago will stand for another year.

No stranger to success at the race having been part of the triumphant La Forza del Destino crew in 2002, Benussi explains that victory was down to teamwork and the dedication that has gone into preparing the yacht for a return to competitive action:

"After the events of the last year to be sailing again is amazing. Everyone onboard worked really hard. We began this project three years ago, and to now win line honours is incredible. For those who have worked on preparing the boat for three years this is a great success. I am very proud of the team."

This year more than any other the sense of achievement in finishing the race was keenly felt. As the Yacht Club Italiano's President Gerolamo Bianchi explains:

"We are happy and proud to have organised the race this year and to have overcome all of the challenges. Teamwork has been at the fore from all involved. The participants have shown great commitment and enthusiasm throughout."

The Rolex Giraglia, which concluded today with the final prize-giving at the YCI clubhouse in Genoa, once again demonstrated its ability to unite and inspire the sailing community, its respect for both tradition and continuity and an ability to offer a fair and challenging competition. Qualities which have made Rolex a proud partner of the event for nearly a quarter of a century.

Related Articles

Rolex Giraglia 2021 comes to an end
All the prizes awarded at the Yacht Club Italiano Many prizes were awarded and everybody was very satisfied for the success of this offshore classic of the Mediterranean, which this year was in an unprecedented "all Italian" setting. Posted on 19 Jun
Rolex Giraglia line honours update
100ft maxi Arca SGR arrives 15 minutes ahead of Magic Carpet Cubed The Rolex Giraglia regularly delivers close line honours contests with this year's 68th edition proving no exception. Partnered by Rolex since 1998, the event is one of the Mediterranean's most historic and respected sailing competitions. Posted on 18 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2021 underway
A fleet of 138 yachts sets out from Sanremo There were 138 yachts on the Sanremo start line at midday today in perfect conditions that were better than expected yesterday: a 15kn easterly that allowed a splendid start with first the 18 big maxis. Posted on 16 Jun
68th edition of the Rolex Giraglia set
There will be 147 yachts for the start of the 241 mile offshore race There will be 147 yachts in the ORC, IRC and X2 classes for the start of the 241 mile offshore race. The course, for the first time this year, will have, before the Giraglia, two marks Posted on 15 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2021 - true sailing spirit
Yacht Club Italiano has worked intensively to provide a safe environment for this year's race One of the most historic and celebrated events in Mediterranean sailing and partnered by Rolex since 1998, the Rolex Giraglia returns after an enforced absence in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Posted on 15 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2021 approach races start day
34 boats in the ORC and IRC classes will start from Saint-Tropez Just a few days to the start of the Giraglia number 68 with the yachts entered for the approach races that will start from Genoa and Saint-Tropez and converge on Sanremo from Monday, June 14. Posted on 10 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2021 Notice of Race published
Online registration is open for the 68th edition The Yacht Club Italiano, organiser of the 68th edition of the Rolex Giraglia, has published the Notice of Race and officially opened registration for this offshore classic, starting this year from Sanremo. Posted on 24 Apr
Giraglia Race has been postponed
New dates announced in 2021 The decision made was unavoidable, in line with the numerous cancellations that have affected all sports at all levels, all over the world. Posted on 18 Apr 2020
Entry open for Rolex Giraglia Race 2020
Beginning with the Sanremo-Saint Tropez race on June 5th The 68th edition of this Mediterranean Classic is now open for entries and the notice of race is available online. From June 5-13 between St Tropez and Genoa. Posted on 24 Feb 2020
Honour to the winners in Rolex Giraglia
Quaysides of the Yacht Club Italiano packed with boats of all sizes The quaysides of the Yacht Club Italiano packed with boats of all sizes and origins were the suggestive backdrop to the closing ceremony of the Rolex Giraglia 2018. Posted on 16 Jun 2018
Zhik 2021 Season 2 FOOTERCyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER