Rolex Giraglia: why the Sydney 43 was so striking (and winning)

Sydney 43

It is not possible to win a race like the Rolex Giraglia by chance, especially in an edition like this where strategy, with the erratic wind in some areas of the course, was crucial and it wasn’t enough to get the boat to the finish line and count on a good rating. The rankings for the super classic are starting to emerge, with Gilles Argellies’ Sydney 43 leading the IRC overall, which awards overall victory at the Giraglia.

Sydney 43 was designed in 2011 by designer Jason Ker, specialized in the design of high-performance offshore races. Mr. Ker was also the designer of the America’s Cup Shosholoza, which in the 2007 edition in Valencia, despite not having an experienced crew, gave everyone a run for their money because it was a very fast hull. All Jason Ker’s hulls are fast too, with the successful Ker series of boats (built by Mc Conaghy) achieving good results in all the offshore races they take part in. The Sydney 43, by Sydney Yachts, is built by Croatian AD Boats, the design is from 2013. More specifically, Imagine was launched in 2016.

Originally designed for offshore competitions, the boat features an all-round hull that is not just unbalanced towards load-bearing sailing as happens with many offshore designs. The stern offers the flares typical of Ker designs, with the flares on the stern exits ensuring that this area of the hull only goes underwater when the boat is heeling to increase its waterline length. Inside, there is also a layout for cruising, but no wooden furniture, just composite so as not to weigh the boat down.

Sydney 43 stern
The particular stern of the Sydney 43

The boat is 13.10 meters long, 4.20 meters wide and has a displacement of little more than 6 tons. When sailing upwind, it boasts a 107-square-meter sail plan, with almost 200 square metres of asymmetrical sail area when sailing upwind.

However, a well-designed boat is not enough to win race. A smart crew is equally required. It is noticeable that, in the approach to the Giraglia race, Imagine has kept quite far to the east, in order to be able to sail in a clean wind and not feel the turbulence that Corsica creates in the sirocco if you approach it from a more westerly position. Good boat and good crew, with an effective strategy, the result of these elements makes the overall victory at the Rolex Giraglia. Not without a bit of luck actually, because there was another Ker project, Giovanni Di Vincenzo’s Ker 46 Lisa R, doing even better than Imagine. The Italian boat was in with a shout of winning overall until a few miles from the finish in Genoa, when she was slowed down by the doldrums and was mocked, finishing fourth, by the smaller boats that arrived from behind in the night’s north wind without slowing down.


Second place in IRC overall went to the First 40 Mon Ile owned by Gianrocco Catalano, a well-known name in Italian offshore racing who often visits the podiums of regattas. This is a boat that was born as a production boat and has been optimised to race offshore and beyond. Third place went to Rossko, Timofey Zhbankov’s JPK 11.80, another boat with a penchant for victory.

In ORC, the provisional ranking awards the Frers 64 Anywave of Alberto Leghissa, on the second step of the podium is Vito 2, A40 of Gianmarco Magrini, third the Swan 42 Voloira IV of Francesco Zucchi.

Mauro Giuffrè


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