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11 June 2008, 10:41 am
Big Boats Bounce Back In St.Tropez
Neville CRICHTON and Noel DRENNAN onboard Alfa Romeo
Neville CRICHTON and Noel DRENNAN onboard Alfa Romeo, who dominated Tuesday's final heat of the inshore series

Giraglia Rolex Cup 2008
St Tropez, France

Alfa Romeo dominated the final heat of the inshore series in the Giraglia Rolex Cup on Tuesday, but it wasn't good enough to win the series.
In IRC Group A, a fifth place was good enough for Paolo SCERNI's Swan 42 Kora 4 to secure overall victory comfortably from the 40-footer Fissa.

The wind was a long time coming to the Gulf of St Tropez. The fleet of 167 boats waited until almost 15:00 before the Race Committee was satisfied there was sufficient wind, at which they point they sent the fleet on a short course which took line honours winner Alfa Romeo just an hour and a quarter.

In addition to line honours - which is to be expected for a boat as sleek and well-sailed as Alfa - Neville CRICHTON was pleased to win the day's race by more than 5 minutes on handicap from Farr 52 Nikimar, especially as the wind increased slightly as the race progressed. "We thought we'd sailed well yesterday," said the New Zealand skipper, "and we ended up 31st." So in a similar scenario today he somehow managed to secure the win, even if he still only finished fourth overall in class.

In the other big boat division, ORC Group A, it was the biggest boats which also enjoyed the best result on handicap on Tuesday. Wally 65 Edimetra VI won the race, lifting her to third overall, just behind 70-foot Maxi, Atalanta II. However, the cruiser/racer Comet 51 Andromeda managed to hold off the race yachts to cling on to overall victory in the division. Owner Massimo GUARDIGLI said: "We are very happy to have achieved this result with a cruising boat that we take on holiday with the children. We have proved that it is possible to get good results with this boat. Of course, the credit goes to the crew, and to Cristiana MONINA helmed the last two races. She integrated very well into the team."

Jean Claude BERTRAND maintained his winning streak with A-35 Tchin-Tchin, taking Tuesday's race by more than 3 minutes on corrected time and dominating IRC Group B with a fistful of first places. Jean-Louis BOUE's Rakam came third, lifting the First 36.7 to second overall ahead of A-109 Galanga.

In ORC Group B, Federico MASSARI's Grand Soleil 341 Mariel won Tuesday's race, but Manida's second place was good enough for co-owners Alberto PATRONE and Francesco DAMONTE to retain their lead and win the division overall.

There was high drama in the GP42 fleet. It was a day when owner of leading Swiss boat Franck NOEL might have regretted naming his boat Near Miss, after she ran aground during the first race of the day. Meanwhile Sandro MONTEFUSCO's Airis was getting stronger and stronger, and two wins in the final two heats put her equal on points with Desafio. On tie-break Airis sneaked victory in this, the second leg of the Quebramar GP42 Cup. By the end of a dramatic day, the top four boats had completely reversed their order, a mark of a new class that promises some thrilling competition in the coming years. Owner of Airis Robert MONTI commented: "The key to victory was to stay focused for the entire event, and for that reason we started fourth going into the last day but finished first."

Competitors gathered on Tuesday night at La Citadelle on the hill overlooking St Tropez for the prizegiving and gala dinner. Prizes were awarded to the best-placed yachts from the past three days of inshore racing.

On Wednesday a fleet of more than 200 yachts will start the 56th 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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