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Tomorrow will see the start of the 68th edition of the Rolex Giraglia

by Yacht Club Italiano 15 Jun 17:34 BST 16 June 2021
2021 Rolex Giraglia fleet set to start © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

There will be 147 yachts in the ORC, IRC and X2 classes for the start of the 241 mile offshore race. The course, for the first time this year, will have, before the Giraglia, two marks: one at Cala del Forte, the new Ventimiglia port, and the other at Chretienne of the Rade d'Agay, about 15 miles from the Gulf of St Tropez.

From there the boats will have a long leg towards the Giraglia islet which they will round anti clockwise and then head north. The finish, as is traditional, will be in Genoa in the splendid setting of the Porticciolo Duca degli Abruzzi which houses the headquarters of the Yacht Club Italiano, the organiser of this race which is by now part myth and part legend.

Meanwhile preparations are under way on the quays of Porto Antico and in the Yacht Club Sanremo race village with thousands of yachtsmen who have filled in an orderly way the splendid spaces prepared by Rolex to welcome them. There are 33 nations represented by crews of super professionals, friends and enthusiasts and veterans of the Giraglia. In addition to the preparations to get the yachts in racing trim, the question everyone is asking is about the weather: what kind of Giraglia will it be? Many are expecting light easterlies for the start and for the first part of the day, veering westerly towards the evening but with light conditions for the first part of the race. Once they arrive in Corsica a moderate south-westerly should arrive to push the smaller boats quickly towards Genoa. So a fast Rolex Giraglia, though not very fast, but certainly with more than when done the two approach races. Among those favoured for victory in real-time are the big 100 footers including Furio Benussi's Arca SGR, Lindsay Owen Jones's 100 Magic Carpet Cubed and the 33 m Farr Leopard 3, skippered by the Australian star Mitch Booth. But these big maxis, who are certain to be among the first to reach Genoa, could be in for a surprise from the fast and light TP52s, always at their ease in light winds and with an excellent rating, for example the Russian Freccia Rossa of Vadim Yakimenko or France's Gerard Logel's @robas 2. In any case, for now this is just speculation, and it will be the starting gun at midday tomorrow to bring us the certainties of a race with the great fascination of the Rolex Giraglia, since 1953 the oldest sailing trophy of the Mediterranean.

This afternoon at 5 PM saw the prize-giving of the approach races followed by an aperitif on board the yachts, since the famous crew party could not be organised and an aperitif was prepared for everyone and taken directly on board all the yachts entered.

Live TV coverage continues, with the Rolex Giraglia for the first time on TV screens with daily reports from sea and dry land. The offshore race will also be broadcast live on Primocanale - Canale 10 digital, and on the YouTube channel of the Yacht Club Italiano.

The Rolex Giraglia 2021 is live every day until June 19 at 8 AM, 1 PM and 6 PM, in addition to online tracking at this link.

The programme

Wednesday, June 16
Midday: Start Rolex Giraglia / Rolex Giraglia X2

Saturday, June 19
Midday: Prize-giving ceremony of the Rolex Giraglia at the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa.

COVID safety protocol

To access the race village it is obligatory to register by mail and download a pass, which will be sent to all participants, and is indispensable for accessing the private areas of the event at the Yacht Club Sanremo and Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa. Full information is available in this section of the rolexgiraglia.com website.

Organisation

The race is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano under the aegis of the Federazione Italiana Vela, the Fédération Francaise de Voile and in collaboration with:

  • Société Nautique de Saint Tropez
  • Yacht Club Sanremo
  • Yacht Club de France
  • Union Nationale pour la Course au Large
  • The International Maxi Association
  • Città di Sanremo
  • Under the patronage of Comune di Genoa and Regione Liguria
Active support continues from the IMA, the International Maxi Association, which has included the Rolex Giraglia in the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge 2021 and is offering a special prize for the best placed IMA member maxi.

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