Esimit Europa 2 gunning for third line honours
A second day of inshore racing took place on the Baie de Saint-Tropez at the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup. The majority of the fleet sailed a 30.3-mile course while the smaller classes sailed a 25.4-mile course. Conditions were again lively, with winds reaching 30 knots.
Today’s winners were: Jethou (GBR) in Group 0 IRC, Near Miss (SUI) in Group A IRC, Ondine (ITA) in Group B IRC, Paul & Shark Competition (ITA) in Group A ORC and Symfony (RUS) in Group B ORC.
A final day of inshore racing is scheduled for tomorrow before Wednesday’s start to the week’s main event – the 242 mile offshore race from Saint-Tropez to San Remo. In the region of two hundred yachts from 20 countries are expected to participate.
Line honours in the offshore races is expected to go to Slovenia's Igor Simčič and his pan-European crew on board the 100ft maxi Esimit Europa 2 where Jochen Schümann, one of the world’s most respected sailors, is skipper onboard. Schümann is in confident mood: “We hope the weather stays similar to what it is now with this strong Mistral. It could be quite an exciting: a rough and fast offshore race. I think we’ve not had these type of conditions for a while.”
Esimit Europa 2 is hoping to break the race record set in 2008 by the same boat under its original guise as Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo 2. Schümann believes a shot at the record which stands at 18 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds – is a realistic prospect. “It will be much faster than last year when there was almost no wind. If the weather forecast stays as it is with a strong breeze around the Giraglia Rock then we have a great chance of beating the race record.”
Schümann brings a wealth of knowledge to Esimit Europa 2 but is taking nothing for granted having competed in the Giraglia Rolex Cup only for the first time last year. “Sailing is about experience,” he concludes, “having done this race last year is an important thing as are the days of practice we are currently undertaking. It has been a while since this boat and crew sailed in breezes above 20 knots.”
America’s Cup legend Brad Butterworth, who is calling tactics on the 62ft Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR), also believes an interesting offshore race is ahead. “It looks very windy and we would prefer slightly lighter conditions than forecast. However, the recent Rolex Volcano Race (which Jethou won) was a good experience as the middle section of the race was very testing. We’re looking forward to the Giraglia, and it will be great to finish in San Remo.”