Neville Chrichton's 90ft supermaxi shaves over two hours off the record

The record for La Giraglia, the offshore race of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, has been broken. Shortly before noon today New Zealander Neville Crichton brought his 90 foot Super Maxi yacht Alfa Romeo across the finish line in front of the main breakwater of the Italian port of Genoa, to take line honours and the record for the Mediterranean’s longest running offshore race.

Often called the ‘Fastnet of the Mediterranean’, La Giraglia is in its 51st year. Yesterday afternoon 170 boats lined up for the start in St Tropez for what is the most popular offshore race in Southern Europe. The race takes the fleet from the Gulf of St Tropez, South West along the French coast to the island of Levant, before turning East towards an 800 metre long rock called La Giraglia just to the North of Corsica. The course then turns North to the finish line in front of the Italian port of Genoa.

The race record, which had been held since 1998 by Riviera de Rimini, now stands at 22 hours 13 minutes and 48 seconds, Alfa Romeo having shaved 2 hours 7 minutes and 59 seconds, about 8% off the time taken to sail the course.

Conditions were boisterous on the leg from France to Corsica where the fleet experienced winds of up to 27 knots from the South West at times. For Alfa Romeo the wind lasted for a little over an hour past the rock before it dropped away to nothing for an hour, filling in weakly from the South East slowly for the remainder of the leg to the finish.