Wednesday, October 24th 2012, Valletta (Malta). The 33rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race proved to be a real challenge for the 83 yachts, coming from 19 different countries, participating on the 606 nautical mile long course.
Starting off in Valletta on Saturday, 20th October in bright sunshine and with brisk south easterly breeze of 12 knots, nearly the entire fleet made the Sicilian coast already on the first day before dark, but during the night the wind dropped and the race turned out to be one of the slowest in the recent years. By forecasting extremely light wind conditions in the first half of the race, Esimit Europa 2’s skipper Jochen Schümann made important tactical decisions already before the start by reducing yacht’s weight to the minimum.
“It was a very long race and in this regard, kind of a record race as well, because it was probably the longest one we have ever experienced, and hopefully ever will. It was a very light air race, as we expected it,” explains Jochen Schümann.
Esimit Europa 2 did a tactically remarkable race, especially with the decision after passing the Stromboli volcano, to head closer to the north coast of Sicily, while the competitors stayed further offshore. That decision proved to be crucial, for Esimit Europa 2 has been charging away from their competitors, while the majority of the fleet was moving at a very slow pace.
“We took a different tactical decision after passing Stromboli, for as basically we all arrived to this point of the race together, which is for a 100-footer not good enough. We jibed away, went a little bit inland and escaped one of the calms, while the other yachts actually got stuck again and that made us leading quite comfortably for the rest of the race. However, we faced dead calms plenty of times,” said Schümann about the decision.
By finding suitable winds also on the fourth day, Esimit Europa 2 crossed the finishing line in Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour as the first yacht on 24th October at 1:13 AM CEST. Taking line honours for the third consecutive year, which has at the Rolex Middle Sea Race only been achieved just once before.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race has been from the tactical and navigational point of view one the most difficult races we have ever experienced. I am pleased with the result and I would like to thank skipper Jochen Schümann and navigator Juan Vila, for making perfect strategic decisions before the start of the race and during its progress. My respect also goes to the rest of our team, which showed exceptional physical and psychological strength at crucial stages of the race. By taking line honours at the Rolex Middle Sea Race, we finished yet another incredible season and I am looking forward to the upcoming challenges,” stated Igor Simčič, founder of the Esimit Europa project.
This latest success is only the crowning achievement of the highly successful 2012 season for the Esimit Sailing Team. They set a new impressive course record at the Giraglia Rolex Cup, smashed the Wally record Monaco – Porto Cervo, took line honours at the Palermo – Monte Carlo regatta and the Bernetti Lombardini Cup and won also at the famous Barcolana regatta in Trieste for the third consecutive time. Before competing at the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Esimit Europa 2 established the benchmark time for the new World Record route from Trieste to Valletta, recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
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