Thursday, 23 June 2011

Giraglia Rolex Cup : Esimit Europa 2 Leads the Fleet

Esimit Europa 2 on her way to the Giraglia rock. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

by Anna Maria Gregorini

As widely predicted, Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) made an impressive start to the 59th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. At 19:00 CEST, Igor Simcic and his star-studded crew lead the pack, followed by Alegre (GBR), Jethou (GBR) and DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA) and). Esimit are currently 182.5-nautical miles from Genoa.

Esimit Europa 2. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

Esimit were the first yacht to pass the La Fourmigue at around 15:02 CEST, at which point Simcic confirmed that the yacht was travelling at 11.5 knots with a wind speed of 8.5 knots. The crew are predicting arrival at the Giraglia rock, the race’s legendary turning point, at between 04:00 – 07:00 CEST. The already light conditions set to become even more benign.

Phoenix (RUS) approaching the Giraglia rock. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

The staggered start times, with the small yachts going first, ensured that the racecourse was fairly bottlenecked during the early stages. Even so impressive starts were made X-Trifix (ITA), Tchin Tchin (FRA) and Javier Pujol’s Calima (ESP), the overall winners in 2009.

DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA). Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

Alegre (GBR) were the second yacht to round La Fourmigue, and tactician Chris Main confirmed via satellite phone that the crew were on course with their pre-race expectations: “We’re very happy with how things are going, the conditions are good and will most likely favour some of the smaller boats.” Main predicted that the yacht would arrive at the Giraglia rock around 05:00 CEST.

A whale greets competitors near the Giraglia rock. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

According to the tracker, the top three in terms of overall IRC handicap at 19:00 CEST were the 81-ft maxi, Sagamore (USA), Pace (GBR) a TP52, and Thierry Bouchard’s Class 40 Mistral-Loisirs (FRA).

Giraglia Rolex Cup