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Giraglia Rolex Cup : Testing conditions for the fleet

12June2012_Giraglia_rolex_cupPhoto by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

12-June-2012. A second day of inshore racing took place today in Saint-Tropez as the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup continues to catch the eye. A 30.3-nautical mile course was set for most of the fleet, a 25.4-nm course reserved for the smaller classes. Conditions were again boisterous, with winds reaching speeds of 30 knots. Today’s winners were: Jethou (GBR) in Group 0 IRC, Near Miss (SUI) in Group A IRC, Ondine (ITA) in Group B IRC, Paul & Shark Competition (ITA) in Group A ORC and Symfony (RUS) in Group B ORC.

A final day of inshore racing is scheduled for tomorrow before Wednesday’s start to the week’s main event – the circa 242-nm offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Sanremo. In the region of two hundred yachts from 20 countries are expected to participate.

Jochen Schümann, one of the world’s most respected sailors, is skipper onboard the event’s largest and fastest boat – the 100-foot Maxi Esimit Europa 2 (SLO). Owner Igor Simčič and his pan-European crew are widely expected to claim a third straight line honours title and Schümann is in confident mood: “We hope the weather stays similar to what it is now with this strong Mistral. It could be quite an exciting, rough and fast offshore race. I think we’ve not had these type of conditions for a while.”

Esimit Europa 2 is hoping to break the race record set in 2008 by the same boat under its guise as Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo 2 (NZL). Schümann believes a shot at the record – standing at 18 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds – is a realistic prospect. “It will be much faster than last year when there was almost no wind. If the weather forecast stays as it is with a strong breeze around the Giraglia Rock then we have a great chance of beating the race record.”

Schümann brings a wealth of knowledge to Esimit Europa 2 but is taking nothing for granted having competed in the Giraglia Rolex Cup for the first time last year. “Sailing is about experience,” he closes, “having done this race last year is an important thing as are the days of practice we are currently undertaking. It has been a while since this boat and crew sailed in breezes above 20 knots.”

America’s Cup legend Brad Butterworth – calling tactics on the in-form 62-ft Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) - also believes an interesting offshore race is ahead. “It looks very windy and we would prefer slightly lighter conditions than forecast. However, the recent Rolex Volcano Race (which Jethou won) was a good experience as the middle section of the race was very testing. We’re looking forward to the Giraglia, and it will be great to finish in Sanremo.”