Published: Thursday, 01 June 2017

Giraglia Rolex Cup from June 9-17 celebrates its 65th anniversary, expecting a similar number of yacht entries and sailors from the last edition – 268 yachts and around 3,000 sailors.

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(Photos: Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex)

The 2017 Giraglia Rolex Cup will begin with an overnight race starting at midnight on June 9. Competitors start from either Marseille or Sanremo arriving in Saint-Tropez in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saint-Tropez then serves as the event’s centre-stage both on and off the water until the start of the offshore race. Crews engage in three days of inshore racing from June 11-13 and enjoy the opportunity to unwind at social events, most notably the Rolex Crew Party the night before the offshore race.

Giraglia Rolex Cup Celebrates 65th Anniversary

The competition’s main event – the 241-nm offshore race to Genoa, which starts on June 14 – is relatively short in comparison to 600-nm mile races like the Rolex Fastnet and the Rolex Sydney Hobart, but it is still a demanding test of seamanship.

The weather in this part of the Mediterranean in June can pose strategic and tactical problems. Strong mistral winds are a frequent feature, as are periods of complete calm. 

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones claimed line honours last year with his Wally Cento Magic Carpet Cubed, a year after having won the 2015 race on handicap. The race record is held by the 100ft Maxi Esimit Europa 2 in 2012 at 14h 56m 16s.

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Returning to defend her crown is Tip, the 36ft French yacht who won on handicap in 2016, owned by Gilles Pages. The democratic rating system used to handicap offshore yacht racing, as well each Giraglia Rolex Cup’s unique set of conditions make consecutive wins an extraordinary feat for crews.

The recently-launched Reichel/Pugh designed My Song, a 130ft Supermaxi from Baltic Yachts, will be one of the race’s largest-ever entries. The contrasting Maxi 72s - Caol Ila R, Jethou and Momo - will engage in a competitive duel at the front of the fleet.

Further down the size ranking, the event welcomes the ClubSwan 50 from Nautor’s Swan. Jalina, overall winner of the first two editions of the Giraglia Rolex Cup in 1953 and 1954, will participate in the overnight race from Sanremo and be present in Saint-Tropez to celebrate this 65th-anniversary edition.

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Both the line honours and overall winner of the offshore race will receive Rolex timepieces, at the final prizegiving, held at the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa on June 17. 

The race was created in 1953 and its partnership with Rolex can be dated back to 1998.

A long-time Rolex partner and one of the leading forces in the sport of yachting, the Yacht Club Italiano was founded in 1879. Its principal clubhouse at the Duca degli Abruzzi Marina in Genoa was originally opened in 1929. Following bomb damage, it was rebuilt in 1953 the same year as the inaugural Giraglia.

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A historic port city famed for legendary seafarers of the likes of Christopher Columbus, Genoa provides a backdrop for crews to reflect on their individual and collective race experiences.

Rolex has been establishing associations with numerous sports activities, named as the Title Sponsor for 15 major international events.