The 62nd annual Giraglia Rolex Cup prelude race began at midnight last Friday, June 13th, sending 107 Yachts sprinting across the dark waters from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez. A French yacht piloted by former Whitebread Round the World Race winner, Lionel Pean, was first to cross the finish line Saturday morning. The following three days will consist of inshore racing in Saint-Tropez harbor, leading up to the most challenging race of the event.
Wednesday, June 18th will set some 214 yachts in motion as the renowned 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup begins. Leaving the harbor of Saint-Tropez, the 241 nautical mile offshore race will circle the traditional landmark Giraglia Rock on the northern tip of Corsica before ending in Monte-Carlo.
The crew members are a mixture of nationalities predominately from Europe. Italy is best represented, followed by France, the UK, and Russia, with more exotic flagged yachts from the British Virgin Islands, the USA, and New Zealand. Holding a longstanding reputation of close comradeship and spirited competition among the opposing crews, the annual regatta is highly respected.
The fleet is mixed, from small 30 ft. family run boats up to 100 ft. professional crews, all of whom dig deep within themselves to deliver their best seafaring skills. Each team must work together as a single mechanism, adhering highly to the core values of camaraderie and adventure. Strong character is built by adverse sea conditions.
How did it begin?
In January of 1953, a small number of Italian and French sailors convened in Paris to create an event that would foster a highly esteemed sailing competition in the Mediterranean and draw European countries closer together after the effects of a war-torn world. It only took five months to bring about the first La Giraglia, which was exclusively off-shore racing. Traditionally, Italy and France alternated in starting the race, but now it generally begins in Genoa or Sanremo.
What’s most exciting about this years race?
Slovakian Igor Simcic, the 2012 winner and new course record setter, will return this year with his 100 ft Maxi Esimit Europa 2. He finished with a time of 14 hours 56 minutes and 16 seconds, taking over 3 hours off the previous best. He will be accompanied by his pan-European crew led by German Olympic hero Jochen Schümann. Will he beat his time this year?
So far it looks tame doesn’t it? Smooth sailing, glide with the tide. Not so….take a look!
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was out on the water during the 2013 Girgalia Rolex Cup to capture this gallery of images. Enjoy some Sanremo fast action!
It all boils down to the finish line. The winner will arrive, followed by the others as they skillfully man their crafts toward the shore. Electrified excitement will dominate the scene and continue into the celebration activities.
Stay tuned for the final results next Monday