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Giraglia Rolex Cup

Alfa Romeo smashes the Giraglia Race record

18 hours only for Neville Crichton’s 100-footer maxi yacht

jeudi 12 juin 2008Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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Neville Crichton has smashed his own course record Record #sailingrecord in the Giraglia Race, after steering Alfa Romeo across the finish line at Genoa at 0803 hours this morning. This means the 100-footer completed the 243-mile course in just over 18 hours, a massive improvement on the record Record #sailingrecord set by Crichton’s previous Alfa Romeo, a 90-footer which set a time of just over 22 hours back in 2003.

Neville Crichton’s 100-foot canting-keeled SuperMaxi sailed majestically across the finish line outside the Italian port of Genoa at 08:03:15 hours this morning, setting a new record Record #sailingrecord time of 18 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds. The New Zealand skipper has sliced 4 hours, 10 minutes and 33 seconds off his own record Record #sailingrecord , which he set in 2003 with his previous Alfa Romeo, a much less powerful, fixed-keel 90-foot Maxi.

Crichton notched up record after record in his old boat, but has been frequently frustrated by poor winds with the 100-footer. However, on this occasion, the 56th edition of the Giraglia Race, the wind came good for Alfa Romeo. Crichton said it had been a dream run for almost the entire course, which takes the fleet from St Tropez to Genoa via the Giraglia Rock off the northern tip of Corsica.

"We had a good breeze on the beat up to the turning mark [near the Porquerolles Islands off the French coast]. We had 22 knots at that point and carried a spinnaker or Code Zero all the way to the Giraglia Rock, where there was about 13 knots’ wind. We picked up a new breeze and reached towards Genoa. The wind dropped and we parked up for almost three hours before we got the new shore breeze to get us across the finish."

Tactician Michael Coxon was delighted and relieved to have taken the record in a race that has so often frustrated the Alfa Romeo team. "We’ve always joked that high pressure follows this boat around. We campaigned the 90 footer very successfully for years, and everyone knows the 100-footer is faster but we’ve not broken as many records.

"This time we finally got the conditions that suit this boat. They weren’t fresh conditions, but strong enough, and the wind was kind both in terms of strength and direction. We parked up for only a little over two hours, which is not bad for this race. We’ve been parked up for hours in the past."

The often windless Bay of Genoa, which on many occasions has been the enemy of Neville Crichton in his quest for record honours, could prove his ally for achieving IRC handicap honours. Not long after Alfa Romeo crossed the line this morning, the rain started to fall in Genoa, as did the wind strength. Although the sun came out again, it has still been painfully slow progress for the other 169 boats in the fleet, with only one other boat managing to drift across the line before 5 o’clock this afternoon. This was Esimit Europa, Igor Simcic’s Open 60, a former Giraglia Race course record holder which finished at 15:07:47 this afternoon.

Some way further behind were two boats, Marco Tronchetti Provera’s Wally 108 Kauris III and Christophe Picard’s Farr 52 Nikimar, which looked set to finish late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Yesterday, just a matter of hours after the race had set off from St Tropez, Luca Minoli’s Sly 47 See You Later capsized after the keel separated from the hull. The crew abandoned ship but were safely rescued and the boat has been successfully brought back to shore.

This is the 56th edition of the 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.

Press info Key Partners (KPMS) / www.

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