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At midday today amid a record fleet of 43 yachts from 7 countries, Esimit Europa 2 set sail from the starting line in Palermo to embark on the 500 nautical mile long course from the Gulf of Mondello towards Port Hercules in Monte Carlo, where her home yacht club is based.
The course will take competing yachts through the gateway in front of Porto Cervo in mid-race, leaving Sardinia on port side, while after the gateway yachts may choose whether to sail Corsica on port or starboard side.
Before the start, Jochen Schümann, the skipper of Esimit Europa 2 said: "It looks like a very typical Palermo-Monte Carlo Race, starting with light sea breeze and then becoming a little bit difficult through the night with light air. But lately our models show a quite good pick up in wind coming from the south east. At the end it will be probably a two-day race, which is also close to the record that we set in 2010. Races on this course always have light wind, so the record is not really a fast one, but we would still need to be lucky for the sea breeze to be strong enough to have a good finishing time. It is also a special race for us because it brings us in front of our home yacht club in Monaco, where we will celebrate 20 years of the Esimit Europa project during the coming weekend."
Esimit Europa 2 has been competing in this race in consecutive years from 2010 to 2012 and holds the record for the race set in 2010, when the crew completed the 500 nautical mile course in 2 days, 52 minutes and 21 seconds.
The Esimit Sailing Team starts this race in its best formation with three key team members back in the team after taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race: helmsman Alberto Bolzan, navigator Tom Addis, and bowman Antonio Cuervas-Mons - Ñeti.
"I am very happy to be back on board Esimit Europa 2. After more than one year it is a pleasure for me to join the team again. In the last months I sailed every Ocean, it is a great feeling to come back at the helm of this boat for the Palermo-Monte Carlo Race, one of my favourite offshore races in the Mediterranean, on board one of the fastest boats on the planet with a super crew. Nothing could be better than this to start again after the Round the World Race” said the helmsman Alberto Bolzan.
This is already the eleventh edition of the Palermo-Monte Carlo Race, which is organised by the Sailing Club Sicilia in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.