Mini Maxis Jethou (GBR), Stig (ITA) and Alegre (GBR) reach the Giraglia Rock at daybreak in the 2013 race, Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
by Giles Pearman
The 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup (13 – 21 June) is less than a month away. As always a competitive fleet is gathering to take on the intriguing mix of inshore and offshore racing that makes up this Mediterranean yachting classic. With the added attraction of a one-time only finish in Monte-Carlo for the 248-nm offshore race from Saint-Tropez, it is little surprise that a fleet has been drawn from all corners of Europe. A rousing reception is expected in Monaco with the arrival of the crews set to coincide with the inauguration of the Yacht Club de Monaco’s new clubhouse.
Competition begins on Friday, 13 June with a 58-nm prologue race from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez, and continues with three days of inshore racing in and around the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. On Wednesday, 18 June the international fleet, ranging in size from 9 to 30.5-metres, will set off on an offshore institution that celebrates its 62nd edition.
As is recent tradition the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race will start in France and take yachts across the Ligurian Sea to the Giraglia, a small islet off the northern tip of Corsica. However, uniquely this year, the competing yachts will not turn towards the Italian mainland for the race home. Instead, the glamorous Principality of Monaco will provide the destination. The decision to finish the race in Monte-Carlo has been made in keeping with the spirit of this great Mediterranean occasion. It is the Yacht Club Italiano’s contribution towards the opening of the stunning Lord Norman Foster designed clubhouse of its twin club, the Yacht Club de Monaco.
Giraglia Rolex Cup course. Image copyright Giraglia Rolex Cup
Current course record-holder (set between Saint-Tropez & Sanremo in 2012), Esimit Europa 2, the 100-foot Maxi campaigned by Slovenian Igor Igor Simčič with a pan-European crew led by German Olympic hero Jochen Schümann, is expected to set the pace. The pursuing pack will include an intensely competitive group of 72-ft racing Mini Maxis – Niklas Zennström’s Ràn, Roberto Tomasini Grinover's Robertissima III, Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou and Andres Soriano’s Alegre.
The bulk of the fleet will be made up of the usual mix of fully-professional and Corinthian crews. A large proportion will be Italian and French in origin, but the Giraglia Rolex Cup favours no one country with the last ten overall winners drawn from six different nations. Size is no barrier to success either, given the right weather conditions. The 33-ft Swift, skippered by Thierry de Passemar and one of the smallest yachts competing will surely be encouraged by the victory of her sistership Night & Day at the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race against much larger opposition.
The 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup begins on Friday, 13 June with the offshore race scheduled to start on Wednesday, 18 June. The final prize giving will be held at the Yacht Club de Monaco on Saturday, 21 June at noon CEST.
For more detailed information about the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup including race documents please visit the Yacht Club Italiano website.