Two weeks before the start of the Giraglia Rolex Cup 2004, the fleet stands at 100 yachts.
By comparison, in 2003 there were only 60 entries at this point and the Organisers - the Yacht Club Italiano (celebrating its 125th anniversary) in collaboration with the Societe Nautique de Saint-Tropez and the Yacht Cub de France - are quietly confident that last year's 190 boat fleet will be beaten. The biggest fleet in the 52 year history of this event was seen in 2003 and stands at 190.
The countries fielding the greatest number of entrants in this annual race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa will be Italy and France, but there is also a large international contingent representing Finland, New Zealand, the UK, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Jamaica, Switzerland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. Two of the most eagerly awaited yachts will be the new maxZ86 Super-Maxis from the USA. At 86 feet, Roy DISNEY'S Pyewacket and Hasso PLATNER'S Morning Glory have already shown their racing pedigree at St Martin and Antigua Sailing Week. The Giraglia Rolex Cup will be their first competitive outing in the Mediterranean.
Neville CRICHTON'S Alfa Romeo, returns to defend her record (22h13'48''), established in 2003. Other Super-Maxis include- Raffaele RAIOLA'S Idea SAI with Lorenzo BRESSANI at the helm, Flavio FAVINI and Tommaso CHIEFFI as tacticians and Stefano Rizzi trimming; Marco Tronchetti Provera's Kauris III ; Damiani Ourdream (owned by Dede De Luca and the former Alexia of Alberto Roemmers, winner on corrected time in 2003); Edimetra (owned by Ernesto Gismondi, the patron of Artemide); Magic Carpet Squared, which belongs to the president of L'Oreal, Lindsay Owen-Jones; Luca Bassani's Wallyno; Enigma of London (owned by Charles Dunstone, CEO of Carphone Warehouse) and Carlo Puri Negri's Atalanta.
The first three days (13-15 June) of the Giraglia Rolex Cup comprise inshore racing in the Golf de Saint-Tropez. Wednesday, 16th June sees the start of the 243-mile offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa, passing the marks of the Iles du Levant and Giraglia. The start of the offshore race is one of the most colourful and unforgettable moments of the Giraglia Rolex Cup since the entire fleet of modern, classic, large and small yachts cross the line together.
The long distance race of the Giraglia Rolex Cup is the third and final part of the Trofeo d'Altura del Mediterraneo, (which also includes the long distance race of Pirelli - Coppa Carlo Negri (S. Margherita Ligure) and the Tre Golfi Telecom race (which recently took place between Capri and Napoli).
The Giraglia was started in 1952 by Beppe Croce, then President of Yacht Club Italiano, and by René LEVAINVILLE, then President of Yacht Club de France. Rolex has been the principal sponsor of the Giraglia for the past seven years. Now in its 52nd edition, this regatta has established itself as one of the most important sailing events in the Mediterranean and arguably the most spectacular.
BMW and San Pellegrino have been co-sponsors with Rolex for the past few years.