Palermo-Montecarlo: -1 to go and record number of entrants!


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palermo-montecarloEverything is ready for the Palermo-Montecarlo, the 500-mile regatta organized by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia (in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco), which is 10 years old this year and celebrates the important milestone with a record number of entries: nearly 40 boats will line up on the starting line tomorrow.

Like all great successes, the Palermo-Montecarlo knows how to grow and change with time. The 10th edition will be an opportunity for important new features. First and foremost is the start date, moved forward a week from previous ones to facilitate the participation of yachts engaged in the busy schedule of the great high seas classics. Confirmed the gate in Porto Cervo in collaboration with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Another highly anticipated novelty for enthusiasts, however, will be ashore: the arrival of the boats, the reception and the awards ceremony will in fact be celebrated in the brand new headquarters of the Yacht Club de Monaco, designed by archistar Norman Foster and inaugurated just in 2014.

This year’s fleet will again feature boats of the highest caliber: scrolling through the membership list, we see for example the Maxi Nimrod, 80-footer (24.50 meters) design Judel Vrolijk, skipper Marco Stevenazzi, who races under the Yacht Club de Monaco banner, Freyja, Bernard Cordeau’s Elan 40, a former star of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Music, 2012 Swan 53 from the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa. And again the trimaran Multi 50 Trilogic, 15.24 meters long by 12 meters wide, a Joubert-Nivelt and Marc Lombard design, protagonist of many Atlantic crossings and ocean races, now run by Sardinian Gavino Crasta; Prospettica, Comet 41 owned by Giacomo Gonzi of Club Nautico Scarlino. Already present in crew and now ready for the challenge in doubles, it is at the top of the provisional ranking of the Italian Offshore Championship; the Sly 47 Neveralone by Paolo Orlandi and the First 36.7 BluOne by Leonardo Servi who will have Ciccio Manzoli aboard, Marco Negri’s 16-meter catamaran Malloc. Last to formalize entries Blackbull, skipper Piero Platone’s J111 (also navigator of Mini 650) that marks the return to the Palermo-Montecarlo of a great sailor like Pietro D’Alì, Mago Blu with the colors of the Italian Naval League of Palermo and Sandro Buzzi’s Junoplano. Starting B2, owner Pierre Casiraghi (YC de Monaco), with Tommaso Chieffi, and there will be Marco Nannini with his Class 40 and a multinational crew. But that’s not all: there will also be a bit of Luna Rossa present at the tenth edition of the regatta. And it is certainly no coincidence, since the Circolo della Vela Sicilia, the event’s organizer, is also the club supporting the Italian team in the America’s Cup challenge. Luna Rossa will be represented by Manuel Modena, a team member, among the crew members of the AC45 and AC72 of the Italian challenge also at last year’s America’s Cup World Series and America’s Cup, an experienced and quality Garda tailer, who will be aboard the CVS’s flagship boat, the X-41 WB Five, already featured last year. could go on…

All to follow then is the regatta of Massimo Barranco’s X-41 Extra 1: this boat, racing for the colors of Vela del Sud and Club Nautico Gela, starts with the role of defender, having won the 2013 edition on corrected time. Considering the passion and great commitment of Massimo Barranco, and the well-established quality of his crews, Extra 1 can already be called one of the favorites for the tenth Palermo-Montecarlo. It’s not over: at the start of the regatta from Mondello could also be sailor Sergio Frattaruolo, who is having a season with many miles of sailing with his Class 40 Extreme Sail Academy.

The idea of a sailing regatta that cuts across the Mediterranean and unites Palermo with the Principality of Monaco dates back to 2005, the result of a meeting of passions. The City of Palermo’s Sports Department and the Consul of the Principality talk about it, and an event full of winning content is immediately born: a twinning between friendly cities, a route with roots in history, a 500-mile crossing along one of the most beautiful seas in the world, a “real” regatta with high technical content for sailors, a sporting and glamorous event in the heart of summer. Not surprisingly, in its first 9 years of continuous development, the Palermo-Montecarlo saw the participation of the most famous boats and the presence of the most acclaimed sailors.

heximitIn the 2010, 2011, and 2012 editions, the absolute star was the super maxi Esimit Europa 2, which alternated on board with German star Jochen Schuemann (4 Olympic medals in sailing), the great Italian helmsman Flavio Favini (Olympic and America’s Cup appearances to his credit), the young up-and-coming Alberto Bolzan, and big names in sailing starting with Azzurra’s former Titian Nava. And it should not be forgotten that back in 2008, owner Igor Simcic was at the start of the Palermo-Montecarlo with the first Esimit Europa, namely the formerly glorious Rimini Riviera.

But the Palermo-Montecarlo of the Circolo della Vela Sicilia is also an opportunity for young people to grow, it is everyone’s regatta even of the smaller boats, however, it is only fair to remember the great protagonists who are remembered over the years at the Palermo-Montecarlo: Idea, the maxi 80 crewed from Trieste and helmed by Alberto Leghissa, Libertine the Comet 45 multi-winner in offshore sailing from owner Marco Paolucci, MC Sea Wonder By Vittorio Urbinati with Beppe Zaoli, Sagamore By Nicola Paoleschi, the former VOR70 of the world tour Amer Sports One, which Circolo della Vela Sicilia president Agostino Randazzo led to victory in 2006.

The almost invisible but real link that binds the Palermo-Montecarlo to the myth of crewed round-the-world sailing is also confirmed by the participation of another WOR 60, Amer Sports Too, rigged in 2007 by the YC de Monaco and led by Giovanni Marangoni. And how could we forget, in that third year of the regatta, the elegant and historic presence of the Navy’s school ketch,Ursa Maggiore, which also marked a positive partnership between the organizing club and the Italian Navy. And no one forgets Steinlager, glorious ketch triumphant at the Whitbread round-the-world race with legendary New Zealander Peter Blake, brought to Palermo by Mauro Pelaschier, who has been the face of the regatta and present at most editions.

The list is very long and includes other bigwigs: the largest boat ever to have participated in the Palermo-Montecarlo is Sense One, the 140-foot (45 mt) former super maxi Mari Cha III, an ocean record holder, from the Royal Yacht Club of Malta, led by Olivier Lazhchameur, who took the line-honours and regatta record in 2008 in just over 52 hours, which still remains the third best time of all editions.

From one maxi to the next, it was the turn of Damiani Ourdream another 80′ foot maxi that participated a first time in the first editions with two outliers such as Lorenzo Bressani and former Tornado Olympian Lorenzo Bodini. For those who believe boats have souls, Ourdream’s return to the Palermo-Montecarlo in the 9th edition 2013 is a sign of the ebbs and flows that illuminate sea stories.

And it is precisely among the most beautiful sea stories that the Rolly Go, another famous yacht and a protagonist at the Palermo-Montecarlo, one of the boats that Giorgio took to the Whitbread Round The World Race, fits in. In Palermo with owner Guido Falck and with the presence of a sailing “communicator” like Davide Besana.

The list goes on and makes the regatta great. Also sailing the Palermo-Montecarlo route were Out of Reach the maxi 60 with brothers Gabriele and Furio Benussi aboard. Spectacular hulls also include Highland Breeze (majestic Swan 112), skipper Mark James’s magical Wally B, eclectic owner Sandro Buzzi’s innovative Junoplano, and Man, 14-meter IMS on which former Olympian and America’s Cup skipper Gabriele “Ganga” Bruni from Palermo has begun to perform on the high seas.

If names help make a sea event great, the Palermo-Montecarlo is already great. In addition to the aforementioned Olympic sailors, Jochen Schuemann’s medalists, others such as multihull super-specialist (and Olympic medalist) Mitch Booth, French ocean sailor Catherine Chabaud, the great Pietro D’Alì (the only Italian sailor, with Claudio Celon, to have Olympics, America’s Cup and Around the World to his credit) contributed to the richness of the regatta, Andrea Mura (historic winner of the Route du Rhum in the same year of his presence in Palermo), Andrea Caracci (great Mini 650 soloist), Gaetano Mura (today about to leave for the round-the-world race in Class 40), Alessandro Di Benedetto (who has the Guinness Book of Records for his non-stop, unassisted solo round-the-world race in a small boat of only 6 meters; a feat later reaffirmed with the completion of the Vendée Globe Challenge, the Everest of sailing, the solo round-the-world race with IMOCA 60-footer), former World Tornado Angelo Glisoni, former Olympian Edoardo Bianchi, the entire sailing “family” with Francesco, Gabriele and Marco Bruni. In 2011 he was host and testimonial Cino Ricci, the most popular face of Italian sailing.

And the 9th edition in 2013 saw Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Catherine of Monaco, at the start, victorious in real time with Guido Miani and Giorgio Martin’s TP52 Monaco Racing Week. A success that even brought Prince Albert II of Monaco to attend the final awards ceremony.

Charm, regatta and sporting results: in addition to the record and overall win on corrected time, the Palermo-Montecarlo has two coveted prizes up for grabs: the Angelo Randazzo Trophy in honor of the president of the Circolo della Vela Sicilia and creator of the regatta, and the Giuseppe Tasca di Almerita Trophy, established in honor of the founder of the Circolo itself, awarded to the yacht first in real time. It is therefore no coincidence that the regatta has been included in the most prestigious offshore sailing circuits for many years, from the Italian Offshore Championship to the Lombardini Cup circuit to the Great Offshore Mediterranean, which also includes the classic Giraglia and the Middle Sea Race.






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