The story of the Giraglia Rolex Cup’s origins is now the stuff of legend. One evening in December 1952, when then-president of the Yacht Club Italiano Beppe Croce and René Levainville, president of the Yacht Club de France, were chatting at a table in a Paris bistro, the almost whimsical notion of a competition between France and Italy began to take shape.
Blue water racing had been gradually taking off again after the hiatus imposed by the Second World War, thanks in good part to the joint efforts of the Yacht Club Italiano and the Yacht Club de France with the collaboration of the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona. Now they had the idea of creating something akin the famous Fastnet Race, with a route that would go far enough out to sea to qualify as a proper offshore event.
As the years went by, the start and finish ports in France have chopped and changed but the length of the route has not.
In the years since its launch, the Yacht Club Italiano-organised Giraglia Rolex Cup has become one of the great classic Mediterranean events. Truly enthralling and held against a wonderfully old-world backdrop, it attracts hundreds of the most beautiful and competitive boats on the international sailing scene.
It starts with a race from Sanremo in Italy to Saint Tropez in France. There the competitors have three days of coastal racing before casting off on the offshore race proper between St.Tropez-Giraglia-Genoa, a distance of approximately 242 miles.www.yachtclubitaliano.it/