Tuesday, July 8, 2014

J/111 STORMs Giraglia Rolex Race!

J/111 Giraglia Rolex Cup winners- J-StormJ/109 JET LAG Takes IRC-B Overall!
(St Tropez, France)- This past week, a large fleet of top European offshore teams racing in IRC, ORC took part in the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup, an annual international rendezvous that regularly attracts over 200 yachts for a week of competition. It is more than simply a sailing event, exhibiting spirited and fair-minded competition, genuine camaraderie among the participants and sublime locations. Sailors are drawn from all corners of the world and all segments of the sport to take part in what has become one of the “must-do” events of the yacht-racing year. This year’s event was marked by a momentous event, finishing the Giraglia Rolex offshore race in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The decision to finish the race in Monte-Carlo was made in the spirit of this great Mediterranean occasion. It is the Yacht Club Italiano’s contribution towards the inauguration of the stunning new clubhouse of its twin club, the Yacht Club de Monaco, which has been designed by the world-renowned architect Lord Foster and was opening its doors for the first time during the final days of the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

J/111 sailing Giraglia Rolex Cup off Italy & MonacoThe Giraglia Rolex Cup is classic adventure that takes place over a week, from 13 to 21 June. Following a prologue race from Sanremo (13 June) the fleet gathered in Saint-Tropez for three days of inshore competition (15 - 17 June) before embarking on a 241-nautical mile offshore race (starting 18 June) to Monte-Carlo, via the Giraglia, the rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica. Organized by the Yacht Club Italiano in conjunction with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, the Yacht Club de France, the Yacht Club Sanremo and, this year, the Yacht Club de Monaco, Rolex has been involved since 1998 and has been integral to the regatta’s continued growth in stature.

In addition to honoring the celebration of YC Monaco’s new clubhouse, it also marked the debut of the Double-Handed Division in the Giraglia Rolex Offshore Race.  A grand armada of 206 yachts set off on the offshore race under a sky awash with low cloud and a sea caressed by a warm, but gentle easterly breeze. With so many boats on the water, the start of the 241-nm Mediterranean classic offered a spectacular panorama to those watching from both Saint-Tropez and the northern shore of the gulf.  Taking it all in and looking forward to the challenge was Massimo Colosimo, owner of the J/111 J-STORM, and crew Maurizio Dotti that were taking part in the Double-Handed Division.  Here’s Massimo’s commentary on the race:

“The start took place off the lovely harbor of Saint Tropez under a dark and cloudy sky, sailing in light 8 kts westerly breeze.  The Double-handed division took off to windward to the first weather mark in order to split-up the huge fleet crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Giraglia Rock LighthouseAfter rounding the weather mark, the next course was straight to Corsica.  At this time, the breeze increased and J-STORM hoisted their biggest Gennaker (the A2 asymmetric) and started flying downwind to the next mark- the Giraglia Rock just in front of the wild Cape Corso.

J-STORMS’s average speed was in the range of 15 kts, easy-to-handle by the two crew- Maurizio & myself. J-STORM  was easily overtaking most of the biggest IRC and ORC boats that had their start an hour and a half earlier!

While approaching the Giraglia Rock, the breeze dropped a little but before nightfall, J-STORM was in the middle of all the big boats and was poised to win her class, if not the entire race overall.

St Tropez, France start for Giraglia Rolex Cup raceBy early morning the wind increased and backed, producing big chop on top of the swells.  It was not exactly the best point of sail for a double-handed crew.  Nevertheless, with no crew sitting on the windward rail, Maurizio and I managed to sail quite fast, paying attention all the time to the best heel angle and closely watching their tactics with their competitors. It was a long 90nm upwind leg to the finish off Monte Carlo, Monaco.  The finish off Monaco can often be difficult because the high bluffs and mountains of the coastline often kill the seabreeze.  J-STORM faired incredibly well, holding the west/southwest position on rhumbline for most of the course, arriving in Monaco still in the offshore breeze and making an average speed of 7.5 kts.  Quite an accomplishment for a 36 footer double-handed in a long offshore race.”

Perhaps the most startling achievement is that it was the first time Massimo and Maurizio sailed their J/111 J-STORM in a double-handed race, easily beating some of the most famous professional ocean sailors such as Pietro D'Ali and Dede de Luca (both trans-Atlantic single-handed champion sailors), plus several good French Teams.  Bravo! Congratulations, “job well done” to both Massimo and Maurizio!

YC Monaco's beautiful new "yacht" club in MonacoThe other J/Teams in the event also had awesome performances.  In the Giraglia San Remo to St Tropez Race, sixty-six boats sailed and the J/109 JET LAG sailed by Richard Burton took first overall against a super-hot fleet of IRC racers.  They were followed by Igor Raspopov’s J/109 M.A.R.C. I in 19th overall and Viktor Zhakharov’s J/122 NOISY OYSTER in 22nd, Paolo Rossini’s J/105 ANDA YA in 24th and Eugeni Nikiforou’s J/111 MERLIN in 28th.

For the Giraglia Inshore Series, the IRC A class had fifty-eight entries and Laurent Charmy’s J/111 SL ENERGIES GROUPE FASTWAVE took 7th in class and the J/133 JIVARO sailed by Yves Grosjean took 15th. In the IRC B class, the J/teams faired quite well.  After their successful regatta debut in the San Remo- St Tropez race, Richard Burton’s crew on the J/109 JET LAG continued their winning ways, taking third in class, just one point out of second!  Fourth was Patrick Gouedart’s J/109 JEDI and tenth in class was Pascale Barbier’s J/97 NO LIMIT.

HRH Prince Albert of Monaco at YC Monaco opening- famous J/24 sailor!The Giraglia Rock race had several impressive performances in addition to the Double-handed win by the J/111 J-STORM.  Taking 5th overall in IRC was the J/111 SL ENERGIES GROUPE FASTWAVE sailed by Laurent Charmy.  Also sailing an excellent race was Giancarlo Ghislanzoni’s J/133 CHESTRESS 3, taking 9th IRC overall. Finally, Richard Burton’s J/109 JET LAG took 13th overall.

In fact, it was Richard Burton’s combination of strong offshore performances and a dominating “inshore series” in his J/109 JET LAG that enabled them to be crowned by HRH Prince Albert of Monaco as the Giraglia Rolex Cup IRC B Series champion!  They managed to beat the “crème-de-la-crème” of the Mediterranean offshore fraternity from France, Monaco and Italy sailing A35s, X34s, First 36.7s, Grand Soleil 40s, X35s and Elan 410s.   Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Carlo Borlenghi   For more Giraglia Race sailing information