GILLES PAGES AND the French crew of Tip claimed victory in the 64th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup in Italy held June 10-18.

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GILLES PAGES AND the French crew of Tip claimed victory in the 64th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup in Italy held June 10-18.

The 2016 Giraglia Rolex Cup was organised by the Yacht Club Italiano, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, the Yacht Club Sanremo and the Cercle Nautique et Touristique du Lacydon. Rolex has been a partner of the event since 1998.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup is three events in one, comprising overnight races from Marseille and Sanremo to Saint-Tropez; an inshore series in Saint-Tropez; and the famous offshore race ‘La Giraglia’, which runs 243 nautical miles from Saint-Tropezto Genoa via the islet that gives the event its name.

In recognition of his success, Pages was awarded the Rolex Challenge Trophy and a Rolex Submariner timepiece.

“We knew the weather forecast was favourable to a small boat before the start,” says Pages, who raced his Sunfast 36 with a crew of six other Corinthian sailors. “We managed the first part of the race very well, and rounded the Giraglia in good shape. We knew the second part would be difficult with the building wind, but the crew were not tired and the boat was comfortable in the conditions. My crew is experienced. We won our class last year so we were well-prepared.”

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The 2016 race witnessed a total fleet of 268 entrants and its eclectic composition. The fleet represented 18 nations, ranging from size from 6.5m to 30.5m. It was also comprised of solo crews and those of 20 or more, and included designs from the early 1900s’ and those launched this year.

“The attraction comes from a central spirit, which has set it apart from other races since the beginning - top professionals racing against Corinthians, different types of boat and each with a chance to win. This motivates people to be part of this mythical race,” says Carlo Croce, the President of both World Sailing and the Yacht Club Italiano.

This year the Solo class was strong and came with 11 teams. Denis Bouan from France racing on Broceliande typifies the latest breed of yachtsman breathing passion into the ‘old lady of the Mediterranean’. Bouan finished fourth in class.

At the opposite end of the size and personnel scale is Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Magic Carpet Cubed, which was 100-feet of sleek sail power. There were 22 crew members in the team, including Volvo Ocean Race winners Ian Walker and Marcel Van Triest. Owen-Jones became the defending champion.

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