GIRAGLIA ROLEX CUP RUNNETH OVER
The 2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup is firm fixture and firm favourite in the Mediterranean yachting calendar. The festival of sailing that links France and Italy is mix of hard competition on the water and conviviality ashore. The French and Italian protagonists that form the bulk of the fleet take both elements seriously, and this draws the sizeable foreign contingent each year. The 58th edition looks set to be another success with 233 yachts registered for the weeklong contest that combines three days of inshore racing with a 245 nautical mile distance race. It will be an international affair, with 16 nations and the European Union flag represented. The inshore series starts on Sunday, 13 June and the offshore race on Wednesday, 16 June. With the FIFA soccer World Cup kicking off on 11 June, the dockside atmosphere in Saint-Tropez will be more tangible than usual. The friendly rivalry ashore a little more tense than usual. Someone has clearly had a word with race organizers, the Yacht Club Italiano, because the Azzurri’s first two matches straddle the offshore race. Pity the French. Most will be at sea when Les Bleus take on Mexico in their first game. 182 of the entered yachts have so far committed to the offshore element that, this year, will take the yachts from Saint-Tropez across the Ligurian Sea to the Giraglia rock and back to San Remo. A version of this course last raced in 1999. The Italian finish port is a mere 60 nautical miles up the coast as the crow flies from Saint-Tropez, but the trip out to the rock off the northern tip of Corsica and back will be no easy jaunt. This region favours light winds or strong winds and rarely a straightforward ride. Whatever the weather holds, the race stands on the threshold of a major milestone. The entry level is just a handful short of the all time record of 197 set in 2006 when, coincidentally, one of the smallest yachts in the fleet at 33-feet/10.15 metres, Ala Bianca (ITA), won overall. Owner Camillo Capozzi is back again this year and may view the prospect of a record entry as a good omen for a second such extraordinary performance.
The largest yacht in the competition is set to be the 34.34 metre Swan 112 Highland Breeze, which is closely followed in the glamour stakes by the 27.71 metre, Swan 90, Solleone (ITA) and the 26.31 metre, CNB 86, Spiip (FRA), which was launched in October last year. Fastest in the fleet, on paper at least, is the 100-foot/30.5 metre Esimit Europa 2 (EUR). Skippered by America’s Cup helm and eight-time world champion Flavio Favini and owned by Igor Simcic, the former Alfa Romeo II is the course record holder for the offshore component of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Favini and Simcic aim to follow in the footsteps of previous owner/skipper Neville Crichton who racked up and impressive record of line honours victories with the Reichel-Pugh designed rocketship. Crichton is back this year with his latest iteration in the Alfa Romeo yachting stable. At 70-feet/21.28 metres, Alfa Romeo III (NZL) is a Mini Maxi and already has an enviable record having won her class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last September. Her interior design is styled after the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione motorcar, in red, silver/grey, black and white, with a companionway ladder, which resembles the car's grill. She is not the only hot property on the track in this class. Alegre (GBR), owned by Andres Soriano, also has an exceptional record. She has won line honours and overall at the Rolex Middle Sea Race, and, at the end of May took the Mini Maxi title at Rolex Capri Sailing Week. The Mini Maxi competition will once again be some of the most interesting with Udo Schutz’s STP 65 Container (GER), Sir Peter Ogden’ carbon black Jethou (GBR) and Brian Benjamin’s Aegir (GBR) in the line-up. Competition amongst the 50-footers looks just as intense as at the front. Sam Chan has brought his TP52 Free Fire all the way from Hong Kong, and will join battle with the likes of Atalante II (BEL), Plis-Play (ESP), Imagine (GER), Lurigna (SUI) and, of course, plenty of competition from Italy and France. There are 80 yachts entered that are under 40-feet/12.2 metres in length. Sub-40s have won the distance race in the Giraglia Rolex Cup three times in the past ten years confirming this is a race where weather plays a key part. In the year Capozzi won conditions definitely favoured the smaller boats as Ala Bianca crewmember Adelaide Giromella explained. “It was good for us,” she said. “We found no wind near the Giraglia Rock. But after Giraglia we had good southerly wind, which took us to the finish in Genoa. The big boats found no wind at Giraglia and no wind in front of Genoa. They had to stop more times than we did.” When a small boat wins a race like this the innocent delight is palpable. Capozzi got the better of Russell Coutts back in 2006. In what other sport could you show up with yester-year’s equipment and hose the sport’s grand master. Advantageous conditions or not, you still have to sail your best.
2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup programme
Friday, 11 June: Prologue race - San Remo to Saint-Tropez.
Saturday, 12 June: Registration/Measurement
Sunday, 13 June: Inshore Race(s)
Monday, 14 June: Inshore Race(s)
Tuesday, 15 June: Inshore Race(s)
Close of Entries for Giraglia Rolex Cup distance race
Gala Dinner & Inshore Prize giving at La Citadelle
Wednesday, 16 June: Start of Giraglia Rolex Cup distance race
(245nm) Saint-Tropez - La Fourmigue - La Giraglia - San Remo. Thursday, 17 to Saturday 19 June: Finishers arrive San Remo.
Saturday, 19 June: Prize giving at Yacht Club San Remo
Further information on the Giraglia Rolex Cup may be found at www.giragliarolexcup.com <http://www.giragliarolexcup.com> To receive daily reports and to download high-resolution images, copyright free for editorial purposes, register online at www.regattanews.com <http://www.regattanews.com/>
WATCHING AND WAITING
Sitting on the harbour breakwater in Saint-Tropez staring wistfully out into the bay it’s hard to believe that tomorrow the water will be filled with sails. There are signs, admittedly, that something is afoot. Behind the vantage point, ‘le Vieux Port’ is full of sailing yachts. Quayside strollers are more accustomed to gazing at motor yachts. And, at the end of the mole, there is a buzzing tented village full of purposeful people busy doing something. Out on the bay the activity appears leisurely in keeping with a Saturday afternoon early in the season. Tomorrow, though, the scene will be wholly different. The port and tented village will be empty, as around 190 race yachts and crews take to the sea for the inshore series of the 2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup. Three days of inshore racing are planned as a lead up to the main event, the 241 nautical mile distance course that this year will take the fleet from Saint-Tropez to San Remo, via the fabled Giraglia rock. The day-trippers and holidaymakers of this part of the Côte d’Azur will have plenty to watch from the beaches and waterside restaurants over the next four days. A distraction from the weather may be welcome. Tomorrow the forecast is for a light southerly breeze that may build to 12 knots in the early afternoon. This will please the sailors. More worrying for those on shore is the threat of cloud cover and even the possibility of a little rain. Conditions for Monday are more settled with a second day of light southerlies. On Tuesday, however, the expectation is for stronger winds from the east bringing more clouds and real rain. For those more concerned with the distance race, studying the longer-range forecast does not make great reading. With high pressure anticipated to cover the course, competitors may be blessed with winds that struggle to breach the 10-knot barrier. But this is the Mediterranean and, by all accounts, the situation has been changing day-to-day, so no one will take this as read. A total of 247 yachts have registered for this year’s Giraglia Rolex Cup a record for the event as a whole. The highest number to have participated in the distance race is 197, set in 2006. This looks set to be bettered with a current tally of 198 entrants and the entry period not set to close until Tuesday afternoon. Currently, competing yachts range in size from the 9.14m/30-foot Hocus Pocus (ITA), Massimo Maffezzini’s Adventure 30, to the 34.34m, Swan 112, Highland Breeze. There look to be number of interesting battles shaping up throughout the fleet. A competitive Mini Maxi class has assembled, including Alfa Romeo III (NZL), Container (GER), Alegre (GBR), Aegir (GBR) and Jethou (GBR). Added to this, there are bulk orders of Archambault 40s, First 40.7s, Swan 42s, Swan 45s, Comet 45s and First 45s, which will have the added spice of more localised rivalries supplementing their ambitions for the overall prize. With many off the distance race fleet participating in the inshore series, by tomorrow evening we shall begin to have an idea who is in tune and who is not. The 241 nautical mile offshore component of the 58th Giraglia Rolex Cup starts on Wednesday, 16 June from Saint-Tropez. Prior to this there are three days of inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez. The prize giving for the inshore series will be held at La Citadelle, Saint-Tropez, on the evening of 16 June. The prize giving for the offshore race will be held on the evening of Saturday, 19 June at the Yacht Club San Remo.
SLOW START- SHORT, SHARP FINISH TO FIRST DAY
It was a long wait, but the Giraglia Rolex Cup eventually got underway this afternoon at 15.28 CEST after a long wait for the wind to fill in. When it did come, the wind was piping at 20 knots, with gusts of 25 knots, and the Yacht Club Italiano/Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez race committee put on a short fast race of 9 nautical miles, which Esimit Europa 2 (EUR) had the audacity to complete in a few seconds under 40 minutes. The rest of the fleet was at sea for a little longer enjoying a brief, productive start to the inshore series. Winners today include Container (GER) in IMA, Near Miss (SUI) in IRC A, Nusantara (FRA) in IRC B and Keonda II (ITA) ORC B. Whilst the first three days of racing in the Bay of Saint-Tropez are treated competitively, it is the distance race component of the Giraglia Rolex Cup that deservedly garners most of the attention, and, the winners most of the plaudits. There is likely to be a record fleet this year, with large numbers entering across all categories. There is added significance for the Maxi fleet; the distance race forms part of the 2010 International Maxi Association (IMA) Championship, a season long series that culminates in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September. Within the IMA category, the Mini Maxi class has gathered in force with plenty of both Racing and Racer/Cruiser examples in the entry list. Amongst the Racing Mini Maxis, Neville Crichton’s 21.8 metre Reichel-Pugh designed Shockwave (NZL) (class winner at the 2009 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup) is the longest and should be the fastest. Last time he competed, Crichton was by some way the fastest and set a new course record. But that was on his former steed, the 30.5 metre Alfa Romeo II (now Esimit Europa and in the hands of Igor Simcic), and, the course differed in that the finish was in Genoa rather than San Remo. At just under a metre shorter, Andres Soriano’s Mills 68 Alegre (GBR) may be slower than Shockwave on paper, but Soriano and his crew have beaten longer boats before. In last year’s Giraglia Rolex Cup, Alegre took line honours in the distance race (also to Genoa) despite conceding waterline length to others in her category. According to Soriano, last year’s result was down to perseverance in the face of testing, light wind conditions. For Soriano the key to success and consistency in a highly competitive class relies upon “being prepared and keeping the same team together, making small adjustments, after each regatta to try to do better, in terms of boat preparation, sails and teamwork. Last year showed that hard work pays off, even though it took a while coming.” Like many of the other race boats, the crew of Alegre is hoping that the San Remo finish will lead to a faster race. History suggests that may not be the case, but optimism is the prerogative of those looking ahead. “This year is probably going to be shorter than it normally is, with the probability of better wind and better approach to the final destination,” commented Soriano, quickly adding that this is only his second Giraglia. “So I’m no expert!” Ian Budgen is tactician on Sir Peter Ogden’s 18.3 metre Jethou (GBR), one of the smallest in the Mini Maxi Racing category. Budgen explained that although the inshore races are taken seriously, they bear little relationship to the distance race. “In reality the inshore part of the event is no preparation for the offshore race, which starts on Wednesday. The offshore race is 241 miles. It is going to be somewhere between 24 and 30/36 hours. It’s overnight and probably long enough that you’ve got to rest some of the guys, who’ve got to get some sleep. I’m currently trying to put together a watch system so everybody gets some rest even if it is for a short space of time. There is nothing worse than all the key people trying to stay awake in their proper positions for 24 hours and then find you have another 12 to go.” Apart from managing the crew, another big decision for the race-oriented yachts will be sail inventory. The eventual decisions will be made as close to start time as possible since, whilst all are looking at the long term weather predictions, the wise know well that the best guess as to the course conditions will be made on Wednesday morning. Budgen gave a résumé of the inventory Jethou has to choose from. It was enough to give mere mortals a serious headache, so what will he do when the time comes to leave the dock? “We have two considerations, what we think we need and the weight of those sails. When it’s light we want the boat as light as possible, so we try to take the minimum amount. My general rule is to take everything we think we might need, even if it makes the boat slightly heavier because if you get caught without a sail that you need then the difference in boat speed is huge.” Budgen, at least, has plenty of experience with Jethou. Spare a thought for Marton Jozsa, skipper of Wild Joe (HUN). Landlocked Hungary is not noted for its offshore prowess, but it has an active sailing community particularly in the Olympic classes. Jozsa, however, has gathered a crew to race on what was, when it was first launched, one of the first canting-ballast twin-foiled race yachts. Designed by Reichel-Pugh, it spawned some of the finest fastest yachts of recent years. As Wild Oats, the yacht was part of the winning 2003 Admiral’s Cup team from Australia so it has some pedigree. Jozsa and his crew are up against it. “This is our first regatta,” he calmly remarks when asked if this is his first Giraglia Rolex Cup. “She arrived in Europe a month ago. We have had 10 or 11 days training on her, so we’re quite new to this category of boat and sailing. Our crew is quite young, but we have a number of Olympic class sailors in the crew, so we have experience, but it is still a big step up to this type of boat.” Jozsa is expecting wind for the offshore race, but is taking nothing for granted and is checking the situation everyday. Amongst the Racer/Cruiser Mini Maxis, Aegir (GBR) is another taking part in the IMA Championship. The owner, Brian Benjamin, confesses to being new to competitive sailing, but discovered recently that with two previous Giraglia Rolex Cups under his belt he is possibly one of the most experienced, certainly on this race, in his crew. Even so, with Andy Beadsworth, Ian Moore and Guy Barron in the team he has plenty of knowledge to call on. Benjamin is looking forward to Wednesday, “the long distance race is great. It is totally different to the inshore races, calling on different disciplines and skills, creating different problems – lack of sleep, lack of wind, too much wind.” Benjamin pointed to another issue he believes needs to be considered, “it’s important to get on, because you are out on the boat for a long time together. We have an Anglo-Spanish boat, which makes it interesting, particularly making up the watches. We did well last year so we are hoping to improve on that.” Tomorrow is another day for the crews competing in the Giraglia Rolex Cup, with more inshore racing planned. We will be talking to the extreme ends of the fleet, getting a feel for how their approaches differ or, indeed, do not. The 241 nautical mile offshore component of the 58th Giraglia Rolex Cup starts on Wednesday, 16 June from Saint-Tropez. Prior to this there are three days of inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez. The prize giving for the inshore series will be held at La Citadelle, Saint-Tropez, on the evening of 16 June. The prize giving for the offshore race will be held on the evening of Saturday, 19 June at the Yacht Club San Remo.
ANOTHER DAY CLOSER TO THE OFF
The second day of inshore racing the Giraglia Rolex Cup dawned with more promise than the first. By 13.26CEST all yachts were racing: the IMA group on a 21.5 nautical mile course and the remainder on a 16.1 nm race. Conditions were not as sharp as yesterday with winds around 10-15 knots that softened considerably for the smaller boats as their race progressed; all the same, the 30.5 metre Esimit Europe 2 (EUR) dismissed its distance in 97 minutes finishing 12 minutes ahead of Alegre (GBR) and Shockwave (NZL) on the water. Class winners were: Alegre in IMA, Night Eagle (ITA) in IRC A, Tchin Tchin (FRA) in IRC B, Brancaleone (ITA) in ORC B. Class leaders after two races are: Container (GER) in IMA, Imagine (GER) in IRC A, Sleeper (GBR) in IRC B and Brancaleone in ORC B. There is a varied international fleet gathering for the offshore element of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, the 241 nm race that this year heads to San Remo via La Giraglia, a rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica. Yachts and crews have come from most corners of the world and each morning the race village resembles the United Nations with a cornucopia of languages on offer. Sam Chan, for example, has brought his crew all the way from Hong Kong to race on the TP52 Free Fire, which he acquired in Europe just a few weeks ago. Chan has plenty of offshore experience as a regular participant in the Rolex China Sea Race – 565 nm from Hong Kong to The Philippines. This is his first time in Saint-Tropez, as he happily explains, “this is only my second time in France! I sailed in La Rochelle many years ago in 1994, but I have been sailing a lot in Asia and done everything there.” <http://www.regattanews.com/multimedia.asp?eid=237> Chan has long thought about doing the Giraglia Rolex Cup. “We’ve wanted to do this race for some time. My crew helped me find a boat in Europe and here we are,” he comments, going on to show how he is doing his part for international relations, “all my crew except one are residents of Hong Kong and I have fourteen nationalities in the crew of sixteen.” Chan is evidently looking forward to Wednesday, “we love to do long races and we have the boat to do it, even though it was not designed for this. It is only 240 miles, we’ve spent four weeks preparing the boat; it is not completely ready but there you are. It looks to me that the first day will be great, but after that it might die off. No one on the boat has done the race before so it will be interesting. I’ve looked at the reports for the last two years and it is always different. Two years ago the record was 18 hours and last year there was no wind. To prepare for the possibility of fast or slow we have to take all the different sails to cater for it. We can’t change the boat, but we can change the sails.” <http://www.regattanews.com/multimedia.asp?eid=237> Someone who has done the race before and experienced it all is New Zealander, Neville Crichton. Crichton first rounded the Giraglia in 2003 on his 90-footer Alfa Romeo I and went on to set a new course record. The following year he went again and despite crossing the finish line first, was some nine hours slower. In 2006 he returned to the Giraglia Rolex Cup with a new rocket ship, Alfa Romeo II. Despite a considerable speed and size advantage, it took three attempts to overcome his record time. In 2008 Crichton wiped four more hours off the benchmark, setting the new bar at 18 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds. He smiles wryly when asked how he’ll feel watching Igor Simcic and Flavio Favini (respectively the owner and the skipper of Esimit Europa 2, the former Alfa Romeo II) head off into the sunset on Wednesday, “we’ve always got line honours in the past, I don’t think we’ll be so successful this time. It will be an adjustment to come off the line and see the 100-footer take off. But we’re in a class where we’re winning an losing by seconds, so we’re having good racing.” Asked what the secret to doing well might be, Crichton is clear, “you need a bit of luck.” But his crew are doing their homework and whilst line honours may be out of reach, a win overall is in the sights, “the boat is totally handicap oriented. I think we’ve got a good crack at overall. Going by the long-range forecast it looks like we’ll get a bit breeze and speed, and we’ll keep the pace on.” Taking over a pedigree yacht that has set the yachting world on fire over the last few seasons is a prospect few would contemplate. It would be easy to look foolish. Igor Simcic is not someone who takes chances. Esimit Europa 2 is part of a long-term project for the man whose first experience of sailing was on another famous yacht: Herbert von Karajan’s Helisara. Simcic’s uncle was Karajan’s skipper. Esimit Europa 2 is painted in the colours and carries the flag of the European Union. Esimit has the patronage of the European Commission’s President, Jose Manuel Barroso, and, according to Simcic, “is part of an extensive project to blur the borders and better connect European nations.” Simcic is aware of what he has taken on, “the yacht is very complicated and very sensitive. It is at the top of sailing technology today.” His chosen skipper, Flavio Favini is another deliberate choice, “Flavio and I sailed together on my old boat last year. We got on well. I knew it was important to have a crew that was right for the yacht and my original idea was to have one well-known sailor from each European state, but this will take a long time to achieve. Flavio has put together a crew he knows and trusts. In the racing yesterday when it was the first time we had 25-knots we knew this was right. Everyone did his job.” <http://www.regattanews.com/multimedia.asp?eid=237> Like Crichton before him, Simcic knows the true potential for Esimit will almost always be line honours, “our preparation is exclusively for the long race and if conditions are as promised today we can really do well. Our aim is to be first. It is too ambitious to look for the course record right now, but next year when we have had time, maybe.” Favini, too, knows absolutely what he has taken on, “it is a good experience. It is a bigger yacht that I am used to sailing, so it is a new experience, a learning curve. The crew is made up of sailors that have been together for many years, but we are really learning how to sail her. It will take a while to learn how to sail at 100% of her potential.” Having chosen a crew he trusts, Favini says one element he is not worrying about is managing the crew, “they know what to do.” Away from the glamorous end of the event is a large constituent of smaller, Corinthian yachts. Camillo Capozzi and his Polaris 33, Ala Bianca, are typical of these less celebrated competitors who are the spirit and life-blood of the race. What separates Capozzi from the others is that he has won the race overall, in 2006, and proudly wears his Rolex Yacht-master to prove it. It would be easy to dismiss his victory as luck, certainly the weather helped, “we were lucky, but we were brave. We are used to sailing with little wind. We sailed a slalom course around the bigger boats standing still. When the wind picked up the others could not catch us on corrected time. After the race I asked Neville Crichton, who is a Grand Seigneur, if he would like to buy my boat. He said ‘yes of course, but where do I put my 25 crew!’” Capozzi takes all elements of preparation as seriously as the big boys. He identifies the main difference, apart from the food he will carry, is that he has many years experience with his yacht and the course. His first race was in 1974. Setting Ala Bianca up for the offshore race is second nature to him; he knows intimately the rig tune and sail trim to get the best from her. Capozzi is a true ambassador of all that is good with the Giraglia Rolex Cup, “it is a fascinating get together. You cannot forget it or leave it behind. If someone loves sailing he has to do the Giraglia and if you are brave you are able to win.” Tomorrow sees the third and final day of inshore racing. The weather conditions could be sporting. A low-pressure system is approaching, bringing 20-25 knot easterlies and probably rain. The 241 nautical mile offshore component of the 58th Giraglia Rolex Cup starts on Wednesday, 16 June from Saint-Tropez. Prior to this there are three days of inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez. The prize giving for the inshore series will be held at La Citadelle, Saint-Tropez, on the evening of 16 June. The prize giving for the offshore race will be held on the evening of Saturday, 19 June at the Yacht Club San Remo.
SPIRITS UNDAMPENED AT GIRAGLIA ROLEX CUP DESPITE NO RACING
The most colourful spectacle today in Saint-Tropez was certainly La Bravade des Espagnols, as dark clouds and rain smothered this part of the Côte d’Azur. Normally the noisiest act in the town on the 15 June each year, the religious and military pageant celebrating the Tropézienne victory over a fleet of Spanish galleons 400 years ago had serious competition from the wind in the rigging of the fleet gathered for the 2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup. With gusts and squalls sweeping down the gulf from daybreak, the Yacht Club Italiano/Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez race committee prudently kept the yachts ashore. The majority of the yachts are here for the 241 nautical mile race starting tomorrow and the equipment breaking conditions of this morning were hardly the preparation the crews had in mind. Regular reviews of the situation eventually led to an abandonment at 13.50 CEST. Overnight leaders in the inshore series became overall winners once racing was curtailed for the day. Even though the severity of the conditions had ameliorated by lunchtime, it was not sufficient to encourage the idea of fair and competitive racing. Inshore Class standings were confirmed as follows: Udo Schutz’s STP 65 Container (GER) in IMA, Gilles Argeilles’ Brenta 55 Imagine (GER) in IRC A, Jonty & Vicky Layfield’s Swan 44 Sleeper in IRC B and Ciro Casanova’s X-382 Brancaleone in ORC B. The inshore victors will be added to the 2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup honour roll that, this year, began with a 58 nm feeder race from San Remo to Saint-Tropez held overnight on 11 and 12 June. In this prologue contest, Andreas Faerber’s J-122 Nikita (ITA) held off Alberto Franchella’s Comet 45 I. Nova (ITA) by 5 minutes on handicap to win IRC A. Whilst in ORC B, Giovanni Melioli’s First 33.7 Keonda II (ITA) had a substantial 24 minute margin over Brancaleone. With the prospect of a storm tonight, the prize giving for the racing to date planned for this evening has been rescheduled for San Remo. The forecast weather for tomorrow suggests an improvement in the general situation. The wind will swing round to the south overnight and fill in at between 10 – 15 knots by midday, the scheduled start time for the distance race. Container had a mixed season last year, but after some modifications over the winter she has come out fighting. Helmsman Marcus Wieser arrived in Saint-Tropez fresh from winning the Dragon Europeans in Hungary. Stepping straight off the plane, into a taxi and onto Container on Sunday morning it could have been a difficult start. Wieser was quick to adapt to his new environment sneaking a two second victory over Shockwave. Yesterday, Alegre pushed Container into second, but not enough to knock the German boat from top spot in the IMA class. “It is quite different sailing on a Dragon and then a 68-footer. The challenge is fun and Container is great. She is not strictly a Mini Maxi, since she was built to the STP65 box rule, but class is nice. Speed wise all the boats are different, but still the sailing is very close between us, Alegre and Shockwave,” explains Wieser. “We did the Giraglia Rolex Cup last year. It was a bit of a nightmare because we parked at the Giraglia for eleven hours. This year the wind conditions should be optimum. In our calculations, at the moment, we could be finished in below 20 hours if we get the fast run to the Giraglia and a tight reach back to San Remo. It looks like a cool race.” Wieser suggests the transition for Container between inshore and offshore mode is simple, “we don’t have much to do to the yacht between Tuesday and Wednesday. We use the same sails, just put on the liferafts and go racing.” One suspects there may be other stuff going on too. In terms of crew management, the Container crew takes the view that there is no room for rotation, “it is a long inshore race. It is 240 miles; if the wind averages 14-15 knots it is a fast sail. If it is windy, we need everyone on the rail. I will need to rest occasionally down below, but if it is below 20 hours [the crew] have to do it in one.” Unlike the Spanish fleet of 1637, Miguel Bonet and his teammates on Plis-Play have not been deterred by La Bravade. “The boat is very strong, made of carbon fibre and very easy to handle. Many of the crew have been together for five years, we know each other very well and our boat-handling is excellent,” <http://www.regattanews.com/multimedia_adv.asp?eid=237&aid=mmedia_10335.mp3#4> says Bonet, the tactician. Bonet’s crew will be making some changes for the distance race, adding an extra crewmember, fitting a double backstay and a different mainsail; decisions based on experience and expectation, “we raced the long race before finishing second in class and seventh in real time. It was strong winds and we made 100 miles in seven hours from La Fourmigue to La Giraglia. For Wednesday we are expecting 17 to 20 knots, but we’ll see what is happening. If we have these conditions the boat will be very fast. With light winds we have no chance!”
Olympic gold medallist Sofia Bekatorou-Kosmatopoulos is not doing the offshore race tomorrow, but she has been involved in an interesting sailing programme this week. Sailing onboard Stella Olympiche – Give me Five, Bekatorou’s crewmates are a mix of female Olympians past and present, not all of them from sailing. Paola Protopapa is a gold medal winner in rowing from the 2008 Paralympics, while Valentina Turisini won silver in shooting at the Olympics in 2004. “The girls are from different sports, but we have a common aim: raising funds for an organization that introduces children to sport and another that works with breast cancer victims. It is an international effort and great to be part of, especially to see how different sport stars can work together and have fun at the same time,” she explains. “I am probably the most experienced sailor, but I have realized how much I am able to learn about attitude and approach from the other athletes involved.” <http://www.regattanews.com/multimedia_adv.asp?eid=237&aid=mmedia_10337.mp3#2> The 241 nautical mile offshore component of the 58th Giraglia Rolex Cup starts on Wednesday, 16 June from Saint-Tropez. Prior to this there are three days of inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez. Alfa Romeo II holds the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race record of 18 hours 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Strictly, speaking the fastest time over the 241 nm course between Saint-Tropez and San Remo is held by Riviera di Rimini, which in 1998 covered the distance in 24 hours 21 minutes 47 seconds. The prize giving for 2010 Giraglia Rolex Cup will be held at 13.00 CEST on Saturday, 19 June at the Yacht Club San Remo.