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Giraglia Rolex Cup under way

St. Tropez
St. Tropez, France  

ST. TROPEZ, France -- The 243-mile Giraglia Rolex Cup race from St. Tropez on the Cote d'Azur, France to Genoa, Italy is under way.

The course takes the fleet around the Giraglia lighthouse just off the northern most tip of Corsica from which the race takes its name.

The Reichel and Pugh designed 27-metre (82-foot) Idea owned by Italian Neapolitan businessman Raffaele Raiola, which was first home last year, is favourite to win the event.

The race is the climax of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, which includes three days of inshore racing in the Gulf of St. Tropez, followed by the offshore race itself.

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The regatta, organised by the Yacht Club Italiano of Genoa in partnership with the Yacht Club de France and the Société Nautique de St. Tropez and sponsored by Rolex, is one of the most popular on the Mediterranean circuit.

The 2002 series has attracted a record entry of 193 boats from 11 countries (Italy, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, United States, Monaco, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Portugal).

Challenging Idea for line honours in the Giraglia is likely to be another Reichel Pugh design, My Song, owned by Italian cashmere tycoon Loro Piana Pierluigi.

Handicap honours could well go to Dutchman Arien van Vemde with Sotto Voce, a Judel Vrojilk designed 18-metre (62 footer) vessel built by Cookson in Auckland, New Zealand that won the first two inshore races on Monday and Tuesday.

The first yachts are expected to cross the finish line in Genoa on Saturday, June 22.

The Open 60 Riviera di Rimini holds the race's speed record with a time of 24 hours 21 minutes set in 1998.


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