Friday, 24 June 2011

Giraglia Rolex Cup : Standing Out from the Crowd

Esimit Europe 2. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

by Anna Maria Gregorini

The situation has changed quite dramatically at the 2011 Giraglia Rolex Cup. Igor Simcic’s Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) has pulled away in rapid fashion from the rest of the fleet, transforming what at one stage looked like a tight line honours tussle into a one-horse race. In the time that Esimit chalked up 50-nautical miles their nearest rivals Alegre (GBR), Jethou (GBR) and Stig (ITA) had managed just ten. Esimit were the only yacht at 17:00 CEST to have made the turn away from the Giraglia rock, having done so at 13:13 CEST. On passing this key strategic turning point they benefitted initially from a more favourable south-easterly breeze to accelerate away from the fleet, at one point hitting an average speed of just over 13 knots.

The 100ft-Esimit is currently 45-nautical miles from Genoa, her arrival time remains weather dependent. The south-easterly that helped the bid for freedom is tracking round to the west and expected to soften before building from the north in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

For the crews jostling around the Giraglia rock, the situation is a little more complicated. Andrea Casale, Sailing Master of the Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA), gave a summary of the situation at 16:30 CEST: “We’ve done three nautical miles in three hours. It’s very tedious and extremely crowded around the rock. The yacht is currently travelling at around four knots and at the moment it’s difficult to imagine we will arrive before tomorrow morning, even if it should be more straight forward after the Giraglia.” The priority for the rest of the fleet, left in Esimit’s wake, is to sail around the rock as soon as possible.

Giraglia Rolex Cup