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On Wednesday, 14th August 2013 at 03:17 CEST, with elapsed time of 60 hours and 27 minutes, Esimit Europa 2 crossed the finish line in Plymouth as first monohull yacht at the prestigious Rolex Fastnet Race, therefore secured its 25th consecutive line honours victory.
Once more the 611-nautical mile long race lived up to its reputation of being one of the world’s most challenging races. Fortunately this time not because of stormy winds, capsizes and broken masts, but rather light winds during the entire course, where every single mistake is crucial in terms of losing the pace. 18-member Esimit Sailing Team, skippered by three time Olympic gold medallist and two time America’s Cup winner Jochen Schümann, was well aware of those conditions and therefore perfectly adjusted the yacht for the offshore challenge during its Cowes Week winning performances few days before the start at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on Sunday, 11th August at 14:50 CEST.
In the first couple of hours after the start, fleet of 5 yachts made a significant distance to the rest of over 340 competitors. Besides Esimit Europa 2 the 5-member runaway fleet included a two time line honours winner ICAP Leopard (GBR), Team SCA (GBR), current monohull record holder Abu Dhabi (UAE), Bella Mente (USA) and Ran (GBR). Passing Isles of Scily in the Celtic Sea, just two of them remained in the game – Esimit Europa 2 and ICAP Leopard. Igor Simčič’s 30-meters maxi yacht, sponsored by Gazprom, had to push hard to stay in the front of the same size excellent British yacht, forcing Andrew Cape (navigator) and Jordi Calafat (tactician) onboard Esimit Europa 2 use all their experiences to find better upwind sailing conditions. Therefore, several tacks were performed all the way towards the Irish Fastnet Rock, where Esimit Sailing Team decided to take a westerly turn, while ICAP Leopard stayed on the east side. This brilliant manoeuvre allowed the European flagged yacht to pick up speed when rounding Fastnet Rock at 2:00 CEST and increase the distance to Mike Slade’s FARR 100. When sailing downwind on their way to Plymouth the racing conditions however favoured the British yacht due to its specifics, therefore Esimit Sailing Team had to push even harder to take the very well deserved trophy, one of the most renowned in the sailing world.
“Taking line honours at the Rolex Fastnet Race, as it is one of the greatest challenges among all offshore races, was always one of my biggest wishes. I am happy that my dream realized with the hard work of the entire crew. I am proud of our skipper Jochen Schümann and the engineering team, who did an amazing job in preparing the yacht in the best possible way for the demanding conditions we faced during the entire course. I would also like to thank our main sponsor Gazprom, supporters and endorsers, who share our vision of uniting Europeans through excellence, close cooperation and mutual trust. Only by that we can succeed and we have just proved it with this fantastic achievement,” stated Igor Simčič, owner of the Esimit Europa 2 yacht, who was joining his team for the race.
“The Rolex Fastnet Race once again proved to be a difficult race. We are exhausted, but very pleased with the final result. Basically, it was a race of two stages, upwind towards Fastnet Rock and downwind after rounding it. At the first stage we had a very good breeze of 16 – 20 knots, performing many tacks and we had to keep a close eye on our closest competitor ICAP Leopard. We knew that they are very strong sailing upwind, therefore we had to keep up the good pace and at the same time follow their performance. After rounding the Fastnet Rock and passing the mark, wind was decreasing even down to 5 knots at the final stage of the race, but with the correctly chosen tactics and sails we were in control at every single moment. Being in lead the entire course and taking line honours at the Rolex Fastnet Race is a great achievement and I am very proud of the performance of the crew and yacht,” added Jochen Schümann, Esimit Europa 2’s skipper.
After her successful performances in the northern Europe, including line honours at Kieler Woche in Germany, ÅF Offshore Race in Sweden and Cowes Week Big Boat Series, Esimit Europa 2 is returning to the Mediterranean, starting with Bernetti Lombardini Cup and Barcolana in the Gulf of Trieste. On her way from Trieste to Malta’s Rolex Middle Sea Race, Esimit Europa 2 will try to break the course record between the two maritime cities (Medot Sailing Trophy).