- Published on Monday, 14 May 2012 20:23
- Written by Josh Courter
May 9, 2012
This week the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup enters its final month of preparation. Celebrating its 60th edition this year, the weeklong programme of sailing commences on Friday 8 June with a prologue race from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez. The main event, the 241-nautical mile race from Saint-Tropez to Sanremo via La Giraglia, starts on Wednesday 13 June. Competing crews too are entering a critical phase of planning for one of the defining tests in the Mediterranean yachting season.
The entry list for the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race shows some notable returnees to a challenge that requires resolute determination to successfully counter the vagaries of the wind, the fierce competition within an anticipated 200-boat fleet, and, the twists and tactical conundrums presented by the racecourse.Dominique Heyraud and the 37-foot Foxy Lady (FRA) are back to defend the unexpected title secured last year. At the realisation of having beaten bigger and faster rivals to the main prize, Heyraud expressed delight and surprise in equal measure, “We thought we could be well placed, but never thought we could win. It’s absolutely a great feeling... it is a very prestigious race that counts a lot in the Mediterranean.”
Igor Simcic’s 100-foot Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is also on the prowl, led once again by Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann with a pan-European crew keen to match Alfa Romeo 2’s (Esimit Europa 2’s former guise) record of three line honours victories in a row. According to Simcic, “over the winter we made significant technical improvements to the electronic and hydraulic systems, and, initial training outings have shown both the yacht and crew to be very well-prepared.”
The last time the offshore element of the Giraglia Rolex Cup finished in Sanremo in 2010 it was a big-boat race with the Mini Maxi Shockwave taking the overall win. Along with Esimit Europa 2, several other maxis have entered the 2012 contest, including Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou (GBR), Gerard Logel’s @robas (FRA) and Ägyd Pengg’s E1 (AUT).
With recent years favouring either the biggest or smallest contenders, the middle of the fleet will surely be hoping that conditions this year split the difference between large and small. Franck Noël and his well-campaigned 52-foot Near Miss (SUI) is one such entry. Noël has prior form. In 2010, he almost upset the apple cart with his then forty-footer, eventually finishing in a top ten dominated by maxis.
There are always newcomers on the start list, but few will match the pedigree of the 40-foot Artie (MLT), owned by Lee Satariano and co-skippered by Christian Ripard. In their previous competitive offshore outing the combination were the first Maltese in ten years to win the hugely demanding 606-nm Rolex Middle Sea Race. This is Satariano’s first venture away from home waters, something he is looking forward to, “it will be a great challenge, but we’re all up for it. The most important characteristic we possess is a motivated crew. After that consistency is a major factor, as is good preparation.”
Whatever their hopes and aspirations, all crews will be looking forward with great anticipation to this Mediterranean institution sponsored by Rolex since 1997. With European protagonists forming the bulk of the fleet and the UEFA Euro 2012 Championship kicking off on 8 June, the pre-race atmosphere in Saint-Tropez may be a little more tangible and tense than usual.
2011 Giraglia Rolex Cup programme
Friday 8 June: Prologue race from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez
Saturday 9 June: Registration and inspection
Sunday 10 June: Inshore Race(s)
Monday 11 June: Inshore Race(s)
Rolex Crew Party at La Citadelle
Tuesday 12 June: Inshore Race(s)
Inshore Races prizegiving, Saint-Tropez
Wednesday 13 June: Offshore race start - 241-nm Saint-Tropez - La Fourmigue - La Giraglia - Sanremo
Thursday 14 to Friday 15 June: Arrival of participants, Sanremo
Friday 15 June: Final prizegiving, Yacht Club Sanremo
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, prestigious organisations with well-established ties to Rolex.
How To Follow Event
Further information on the Giraglia Rolex Cup may be found at www.giragliarolexcup.com
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A daily video round up of the news and action from the offshore race will be available each evening from Tuesday 12 June.
Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its OYSTER watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the OYSTER, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the PERPETUAL rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic and patronage programmes.
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