Kick off the race "Off the coast!" which will cross the Mediterranean from the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

In a few days, a handful of sunny mornings and late afternoons lit by the setting sun of spring, the Rolex Giraglia will be back.

A much-awaited event, after two years of parenthesis where this nautical event, the spring counterpart of the Voiles de Saint-Tropez, will once again be a full force, bringing the Saint-Tropez site to life for five days, welcoming hundreds of sailors.

Before that, there is an appetizer, and not just any appetizer!

Better than an appetizer or an antipasti, a real main course to open the taste buds of sailing enthusiasts. The race "Off!" cast off this Wednesday - if all goes well depending on the weather - taking its procession of sailboats for golden loops in the Mediterranean.

Before in March, this time in June

Yes, "Off!" in June, and not in March as has been the case since the beginning of the adventure in 2010. The only offshore race in the Mediterranean has moved in the calendar, leaving aside the sometimes violent conditions occurring in March between Spain, North Africa and Italy.

Such is the life of the sea surf, which carries its eternal phlegm from one season to the next. The bottle doesn't matter… You know the rest and it's going to be drunk in a few hours for all these sailors engaged in a hell of a challenge.

On the program, a solo, two-person or crewed course to complete a loop course of 400 or 600 nautical miles, with obligatory passages in the South of the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, the Pontine Islands and North of Corsica.

How long will they take to accomplish this regatta-like circumnavigation in the footsteps of Ulysses, in this pond nostrumthe cradle of our civilization and still open to sailors from all over the world?

Only Eole and the currents know more today, even if we announce very calm weather and probably a little too much calm. Twenty-four sailboats are at the start - JPKs, Class 40s, Figaros, in short, the very best in the world of sailing and which testifies to the very real anchoring of this event in the nautical calendar.

We realize this by consulting the list of those registered at the start, including the emblematic Kito de Pavant, faithful to the meeting on his Class 40, a top sailor among others, or even with the locals like the duo Garnotel-Hauret which will remind the oldest of some great tussles on the optimist on the side of the Canoubiers...

8 solo, 22 duos and 5 crews

The course was chosen a few hours ago by Georges Kohrel and his team, depending on the winds: heading east or heading west? Suspense for the eight solo sailors, the twenty-two sailors leaving as a duo and the five sailboats embarking crews.

In the past, we saw the wives or boyfriends of sailors wave their handkerchiefs when the boats left for long sea excursions. This time, the return should be quick.

And then, since everything changes, the live follow-up of the race (via the site nautical internet), has somewhat put the farewells at the edge of the quays among the memories. Shame. But at the same time, everything changes but nothing changes: the sea is eternal, the sail never dies and like a wave breaking on the sand, all this is immutably reborn, like the phoenix rising from its ashes.

Off the coast? Out to sea, to the delight of the winds, capes and torments, a never bitter sea.



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