Alex Schärer and team Caol Ila win the Rolex Giraglia after 10+ attempts.
A third place on the water behind Rambler 88 and Magic Carpet 3 for Alex Schärer’s Maxi72 Caol Ila was enough for the Swiss team to clinch the offshore race of the Rolex Giraglia under IRC corrected time by more than an hour from Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou. While there was a wait for the smaller contenders to finish before this result was confirmed, the windy conditions in this Rolex Giraglia - organised jointly by Yacht Club Italiano, Yacht Club de Monaco and Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and supported by the International Maxi Association (IMA) – ultimately favoured the larger boats with Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' Wallycento Magic Carpet 3 finishing fourth and George David’s Rambler 88 ninth under IRC.
Two bullets in the inshore racing in Saint-Tropez, then a second place in the offshore secured Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou the combined inshore-offshore prize for the Rolex Giraglia’s maxi IRC 0 Racer class. Benoît de Froidmont’s Wally 60 Wallyño won the equivalent combined prize in the Cruiser class.nonball
Inshore Dario Ferrari's Maxi72 Cannonball came second but did not start for the offshore, electing to head for Palma to step the boat's new rig and further optimize for the Copa del Rey and the Maxi72 World championship in Porto Cervo.
Victory in the Rolex Giraglia’s offshore came after a long wait for Caol Ila’s Alex Schärer. “I have done it more than ten times, but this was premier today!” he said upon arriving, adding that while he twice sailed windy Rolex Giraglias with his Baltic 50, this was the first on his Maxi72. “It was fun, but early on we were making more water than we could bail out! It was getting more and more like a submarine,” he continued. At this point the wind was regularly blowing 28-29 knots. Unlike Rambler 88, they didn’t park for an hour approaching the finish, thanks to the shrewd navigation of Will Oxley. “We never stopped - it was much more of a business class arrival,” joked Schärer.
In past races Schärer has been pipped at the post by Shockwave, Momo and by Robertissima. As his boat captain John Hildebrand observed: “It is nice for Alex because he has been battling this race for a long time. It has always been a struggle, but he keeps coming back because he loves it.”
For his efforts this year Schärer receives a Rolex Yacht Master watch as a prize as well as the IMA prize for the highest scoring IMA member in the offshore race.