For the 70th version of the historic Rolex Giraglia, the picturesque port of Saint-Tropez within the south of France once more offered an excellent vacation spot for the three days of inshore racing, which preceded the week’s predominant attraction, historically a 241nm (446km) offshore race to the nice Italian maritime metropolis of Genoa.
This 12 months’s offshore race featured a shortened course, measuring 215nm (398km), but nonetheless included a rounding round one in every of offshore crusing’s most iconic landmarks, the legendary, spectacular Giraglia rock off Corsica’s northern tip.
The 155 starters confronted a variety of wind circumstances and shifts, and included 27 maxis, with the road honours contest that includes a powerful variety of the cutting-edge monohulls typically admired on the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
Black Jack, owned by Peter Harburg since 2017, arrived from Australia as one of many pre-race favourites. In its earlier guises as Alfa Romeo 2 and Esimit Europa 2, below completely different possession, the 30.5m Reichel/ Pugh broke the Rolex Giraglia race report in 2008 and 2012, and claimed a number of line honours titles.
On the Giraglia rock, as much as 10 of the maxis have been in shut competition, providing an alluring and distinctive spectacle within the night time sky. Because the leaders closed in on Genoa throughout daylight, the battle got here all the way down to Black Jack and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed, one other battle-hardened 100-footer and a three-time Rolex Giraglia line honours winner.
Nevertheless, Black Jack – with a crew now campaigning in Europe after years of success within the southern hemisphere – was in a position to keep in entrance and declare line honours after reaching the end in Genoa after 23 hours, half-hour and 16 seconds. Magic Carpet Cubed completed simply 9 minutes 12 seconds later.
Though Black Jack completed a way off the race report of just below 15 hours set in 2012, it was solely the third time up to now decade that the winner has completed in below 24 hours, albeit on a shortened course. Moreover, Rolex Giraglia success was a brand new sensation for Harburg and his Black Jack crew, which included relieved skipper Mark Bradford.
“When there are huge boats racing actually shut in direction of the end and the stakes are excessive, it could get nervy,” mentioned Bradford, who additionally skippered the boat when it gained line honours on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December 2021.
“This can be a prize in yachting we actually needed to have. This workforce has been collectively for a very long time and we’re tremendous proud that after the massive effort of transport the boat from Australia, we’ve come to Europe and added to our victory record.”
Carl-Peter Forster was later celebrating after his Purple Bandit secured the general title on corrected time, though it was the second time the boat had tasted victory, having gained with a unique crew in 2017 as Freccia Rossa. This 12 months’s win was the third Rolex Giraglia success for a TP52 since 2012.
Forster has owned the boat since 2021 and his marketing campaign showcased the skills and growth of a crew shaped predominantly of younger sailors. Over the previous few years, the German has constructed a pathway programme for younger athletes, many highly-competitive dinghy sailors, to expertise and develop as ‘huge boat’ offshore racers.
Following commendable performances eventually 12 months’s Rolex Giraglia and Rolex Center Sea Race, this 12 months the crew reached a brand new degree, with 10 of the crew below the age of 30. “Now we have a superb workforce dynamic. It’s wonderful to see how these younger sailors are working collectively, studying as a lot as attainable and as shortly as attainable. They’re bold and need to enhance,” Forster mentioned.
“All of us like long-distance racing and the competitors on the Rolex Giraglia is fabulous. The race is trickier than you assume, because it has proved many instances. What we’ve achieved this 12 months will take some time to sink in.”
One of many oldest and most revered crusing occasions within the Mediterranean, the Rolex Giraglia and its co-founder and organiser, Yacht Membership Italiano (YCI), have been supported by Rolex since 1998. Since 2002, the occasion has been co-organised by Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, additionally a Rolex associate yacht membership, whereas the race can also be supported by Yacht Membership de France and Yacht Membership Sanremo.
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This text was first revealed on Yacht Type.