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Gorgeous Rolex Giraglia Race 2019

by J/Boats 17 Jun 11:08 BST 9-15 June 2019
Rolex Giraglia Race 2019 © Event Media

The Yacht Club Italiano, St Tropez Yacht Club, and the Yacht Club de Monaco hosted the 67th edition of the Rolex Giraglia Race. 297 yachts were entered in both IRC and ORC classes.

The regatta format included a "feeder" race to St Tropez from Sanremo, Italy. Then the fleet sailed three days of inshore races that include three Windward/ Leeward races. Ultimately, the fleet took off on the famous Rolex Giraglia Race, essentially a straight shot from St Tropez to a port round of the Giraglia Rock off the northeastern end of Corsica/ Sardinia, and head straight back to a finish in Hercules Bay off Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Feeder Race

104 yachts were on the starting line for the coastal race from Sanremo to Saint Tropez. The starting gun went off at midnight for the 10th anniversary of the 60.0nm race. The fleet included yachts from 16 different countries, with some boats flying the Latvian, Polish, Czech, Maltese, Russian, Swedish and Turkish flags.

The forecast for the midnight start was for an easterly/north-easterly wind of around 10 kts. The strategic decision for navigators was to decide whether to hug the coast, lengthening the course but picking up more wind, or head straight for Saint Tropez. The northeast breeze held and most boats simply sailed a straight, fast, rhumbline course, with most boats finishing by noon the next day.

Inshore Races

There was only two days of racing the inshore races due to the fickle weather pattern that had setup over the Mediterranean. The first day saw the northeasterly flow continue, with moderate five to 15 kt breezes. The front moved further east, leaving behind a broad, light gradient flow that was not strong enough to conduct any racing on the second day. Then, a new front moved in and the fleet had good racing on the final inshore day with more breezes again filling in from the east at 6-10 kts.

Rolex Giraglia Race

The start for the famous 241.0nm race was blessed with a crisp southwesterly wind of 15 to 20 kts that would carry the fleet all the way to the Giraglia Rock in near record time.

It was thrilling as ever to see such a mixed fleet leave the quays of Saint Tropez head out of port for the long race: 241.0nm with still uncertain weather keeping up the suspense that reigned on the quayside this morning.

The weather outlook remained uncertain, as anything could happen, especially with the stronger wind expected for Friday the 14th. Navigating on board Rambler 88 was Silvio Arrivabene, who reckoned that they were likely to arrive at the Giraglia rock "before dusk" on Thursday evening and cross the finish line in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Thursday). "There is a relatively fresh westerly, which will hopefully get us to Giraglia in the afternoon. It is downwind, so maybe we will put in a couple of gybes. Then we will come back on port tack all of the way to Monaco where we can expect the usual park-up. That will depend on if the westerly remains strong during the night." The course from Giraglia Rock to the finish line off Monaco is 297 degrees, which made for a quick fetch/tight reach.

In the end, several J/Crews had good outcomes for their week of sailing in the Mediterranean in some of the most historical, famous, and enjoyable, "watering holes" in the world- St Tropez and Monte Carlo.

In ORC A Class, Chile's Nicolas Ibanez Scott sailed his J/122E ANITA into 4th place in the huge forty-four-boat class in the Rolex Giraglia Race, a great showing for their team. The only teams to beat them were flat-out carbon fiber races, like the winning canting-keeler, a Cookson 50. Then, in the ORC B class of thirty-six boats, Marcello De Gaspari's Italian crew on the J/109 FREMITO D'ARJA sailed an awesome first inshore race, taking third place, but got black-flagged in the second race, ending their bid for a podium finish in a no-discard-race series.

In the IRC Division, Frenchman Yves Grosjean's RORC race-winning J/133 JIVARO sailed a steady series to take 6th in IRC A Class of forty-eight boats, by far the highest placing production racer-cruiser in a class comprised of custom carbon racers such as the half-dozen TP52s! Not far behind them in eighth place was the British team on the J/122 CREME ANGLAISE skippered by John Rainger. Then, in the enormous fifty-boat IRC B Class, David Estoppey's new J/112E NINOTCHKA from Switzerland started off slowly in the first inshore race, but sailed well to close the series with a 6-9 to take seventh place.

More information at rolexgiraglia.com

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