Event: Palermo Monte Carlo
Start Date: 21st August 2016
Course: Mondello Bay (Sicily)to Porto Chervo Gate to Monte Carlo
Skipper: Oliver Cotterell
Navigator: Eric Holden
Crew: Kees Postma, Nikki Curwen, Quentin Stewart, Piers Hugh Smith, John Milsom, Sean McCarter
The forecast was for light winds throughout the race. We left at 12:00 local time on the 21st, a Mistral was forecast to grow in the north. However it was not forecast to come as far south or be as prevalent a feature as it turned out to be. The Mistral had more force to it and pushed further south more quickly than initial models anticipated.
We departed in what I am told are classic Palermo conditions with a weak sea breeze developing just in time to get everyone over the line and safely away down the course.
As the day drew on and we got further from Sicily the sea breeze wore off and light fluky conditions took over through the night.
On the morning of the 22nd as the fleet pushed north and the effect of the Mistral pushed south the wind built from the N/NNE so that the fleet were pushing into 20-30 kts on the bow I think we saw 35 kts true wind as our highest gust. This wind held at between 15-25 kts maybe veering a little further to the east as we were approaching the Porto Chervo gate.
Corsica caused a wind shadow and while this was a difficult transition zone it also provided some time to get on top of our systems and dry the boat out a bit!
Once out of the lea of Corsica we were back into close-hauled conditions in 20-25 kts of wind. This lasted approximately two to three hours before light fluky conditions saw us all the way home to Monaco.
Firstly I would like to sing the praises of the Palermo Monte Carlo Race. The race was a fun, challenging offshore race and I am sure the event will go from strength to strength and continue to grow. I found the organisation of the event to be excellent, the people friendly, the hospitality superb and the race itself exhilarating throwing in some interesting conditions.
This was Maverick’s second race and the first with this crew and as such achieving a 4th over the line is a result we are proud of. I must say a massive thank you to all the crew who have worked tirelessly on the yacht to make this all possible. We are a very small team and everyone has to contribute in multiple areas to make the program a success.
The event was exactly what we hoped it would be. With the relatively strong head winds we encountered the crew really got to stress test the yacht and learn more about how her systems would operate over prolonged periods in race conditions. As a result of this there is still a lot of work to do but all the time we are learning and moving forward.
Most of the race was either sailing in very light variable conditions or sailing close-hauled into strong winds. In total we were only foiling for probably an hour, in this time, while reaching under a “Jib Top” and “Main,” we managed a top speed of 22.5 kts with sustained averages in the high teens. The speed and stability of the yacht when she is foiling continues to impress me. I have never experienced acceleration on a sailing yacht like this. I was very impressed with how stiff and strong the yacht was. We really threw her off some waves at very high speeds and not only did she take it all in her stride but she behaved very well while doing it!
Certainly, as a skipper, my confidence in here strength has been galvanised after this event.
We had a lot of challenges with various systems during the race and we will be working hard to improve the resilience and reliability of these systems before our next event. As with any race, in hindsight, there are areas I feel that we could have done better. The important thing, indeed what we aim to do as a team, is learn from each event and try and improve in all areas so that better performance results. The yacht is definitely fast, but it is not enough to be fast to do well in these events. Holistically everything must come together and be correct, from sail trim and tactics to rule compliance and the inevitable dreaded “admin”. We are proud that we achieved 4th over the line in the Palermo Monte Carlo Race and are confident that as our time on the water and experience improves so will the performance we can extract out of our yacht.
Finally I would like to congratulate the crew of Rambler 88 on their Line Honours Victory. The crew of Scricca for coming first in ORC and the crew of Desperado for coming first in IRC. They all sailed great races and earned well deserved results.
That's all for now...
"Creativity is contagious, pass it on," Albert Einstein
(Skipper, Team Maverick)