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10 June 2008, 10:37 am
St Tropez Shines On The Small Boats
Freya sailing downwind
Freya sailing downwind

Giraglia Rolex Cup 2008
St Tropez, France

It was champagne sailing for day two of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, with beautiful sunshine and up to 13 knots of wind in the Gulf of St Tropez.
However, the thing that really determines a sailor's mood, regardless of the blue skies or azure seas, is the scoreboard. On Monday the sailors with the sunniest dispositions came from the smaller boats, because the best wind didn't arrive until later in the afternoon when the 167-boat fleet was already more than half way through its meandering 30.7 mile race around the Gulf. That late-coming wind propelled the smaller boats back to the finish line in good time, and there was nothing the larger boats could do about it.

Although Alfa Romeo got a peach of a start and was soon showing a clean pair of heels to her smaller rivals, skipper Neville CRICHTON could only manage 34th on corrected time in IRC Group A. After winning Sunday's race, the New Zealand Super Maxi has now slipped to ninth overall in the rankings. Monday's winner of the big boat division was one of the smallest, the 40-foot Fissa, which now lies second overall on the IRC Group A leaderboard. Topping the division is Paolo SCERNI's Swan 42 Kora 4, with scores of 3,7 giving the Italian boat a seven-point lead over the French team on Fissa.

It was a similar story in ORC Group A where a French IMX-40, Laurent LAVAYSSE's Magic Simca won the race. There were three IMX-40s in the top four, the only other boat being Antonio RONCONI's Comet 51 Andromeda which finished second. Combined with an eighth place from Sunday, Andromeda now heads the leaderboard for the ORC big boat division. Steering the Italian boat is former Olympic sailor and well-known match racer Cristiana MONINA. "We thought we had done a very good race, and we have! It is always difficult to know how you have done in handicap racing until you see the results."
MONINA said they made tactical mistakes: "But then I'm sure so did everyone else, because it was that kind of day. At the start the wind was not so strong. We had some problems getting over to the coastal side of the course, but the wind was shifting and we stayed towards the middle of the fleet. That seemed to work for us. Also, I think we have a good rating because the boat is quite old and heavy, but today we were fast. We had some tight spinnaker reaches and the speed was very good."

In ORC Group B, Alberto PATRONE and Francesco DAMONTE's Manida shares the lead with Javier PUJOL's Calima, the Italian and Spanish boats on five points apiece. The lead in IRC Group B is much more clear cut, as Jean Claude BERTRAND's A35 Tchin-Tchin has won both races so far. This puts the leader five points ahead of A-109 Galanga.

Sandro MONTEFUSCO's Airis had the best set of scores from day two of the GP42 Quebramar Cup, the Italian team racking up scores of 2,1,3. "This is my debut in the GP42 class. Our starts were very good and our performance upwind has been very good. Downwind, we still need some polishing on our team work but overall, we are quite fast. The fleet is very exciting and speed differences are not important, these races are more tactical."

Airis moves up to fourth overall, and into contention for overall victory if she can maintain this form on the final day's racing on Tuesday. However there are three very determined teams ahead of Airis, not least new series leader from Switzerland, Near Miss, whose scores of 1,5,1 have pushed her two points past Sunday's leader from Lanzarote, Canarias Puerto Calero. America's Cup sailor Bertrand PACE is steering the boat. He was very pleased with the team's performance but admits the final outcome remains very unpredictable. "Tomorrow it's going to be tough, a real fight because the scoreboard is so tight."

Tuesday is the final day of the inshore racing series of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. On Thursday, a fleet of more than 200 yachts will start the Giraglia Race, a 243-mile marathon starting from St Tropez via the Giraglia Rock at the northern tip of Corsica to the finish in the Italian port of Genoa.

Results - click here

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