Marco PAOLUCCI's Comet 45S, Tartaruga, has taken overall honours in the Giraglia Race 2008, concluding this year's week-long Giraglia Rolex Cup.
The 45-footer completed the 243-mile course in 31 hours, 43 minutes, 27 seconds. Tartaruga won a very close three-way battle on ORC corrected time, beating a Canard 41, Aurora, by just 57 seconds, and third-placed First 44.7 Argo by 2 minutes 13 seconds.
Tartaruga wins the title of overall honour due to the fact that more boats were entered in the 88-strong ORC division than the 82 registered in IRC. In the IRC fleet Fissa, an A-40 RC entered by Ettore Yachting, took first place by more than 50 minutes on corrected time ahead of Vinicio PETRACCHI's Cookson 12M, High Five.
Marco PAOLUCCI, the skipper of Tartaruga, received the Rolex Challenge Trophy and the Bellon Challenge Trophy for being the first yacht overall on corrected time in the division with the most number of entries.
"The joy of winning this historic regatta, a symbol of international yachting, is incredible,"
said PAOLUCCI. "It is a special moment, most of all for someone like me who only started sailing in 2002. A large part of this crew is from the Scuola Vela [sailing school], and they were really committed in this regatta. So a special thanks to Marco QUAGLIERI, Angiolo BORSÒ and Michele REGOLO. This crew was able to stay focussed even when it was calm and there wasn't much wind to keep the attention high."
PAOLUCCI and his crew's unyielding concentration certainly paid off, as on ORC handicap they won the Giraglia Race from the Canard 41, Aurora, by just 57 seconds on corrected time. "It goes to show how important it is not to lose concentration in this race, not even for a moment. That's not easy in such a long race, when the wind drops. For me, it is particularly sweet to win such a prestigious race on a boat that I also take cruising with my family."
Earlier in the week the fleet had competed in three days of inshore racing in the Gulf of St Tropez. With the inshore and offshore results combined, Enrico SCERNI's Swan 42 Kora 4 emerged as overall winner of the Giraglia Rolex Cup.
Good wind on the final approaches to Genoa benefited the medium-sized boats this year, relegating the Maxis to the minor placings on handicap. However on Thursday, the 100-footer Alfa Romeo did at least take line honours and knocked more than four hours off the course record, which skipper Neville CRICHTON had set five years earlier with his previous Alfa Romeo, a 90-footer.
The prizegiving ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon at the Yacht Club Italiano, where the winners of each class were awarded trophies for their achievements. For Alfa Romeo's Line Honours victory, owner CRICHTON received a Rolex Submariner timepiece in gold and steel while PAOLUCCI received a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece in steel and platinum for Tartaruga's overall win on corrected time - a beautiful reward for a hard-earned victory in this renowned offshore regatta. SCERNI was awarded a Rolex Submariner in stainless steel for Kora 4's overall performance in the Giraglia Rolex Cup.