16th Palermo-Montecarlo – 21-26 August 2021


Saturday 21st August 2021. A good start for the 16th Palermo-Montecarlo organised by Circolo della Vela Sicilia, in partnership with Yacht Club de Monaco and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, a firm fixture on the offshore race calendar since its launch in 2005. No fewer than 480 nautical miles non-stop awaits competitors, the big favourite being Arca SGR, a 30m race machine led by Guido Miani associated with Furio Benussi.

Light airs await them for the first 48 hours,” notes Thierry Leret from the Yacht Club de Monaco’s Race Committee. “It’s a light north/west (5/6 knots) that they have to negotiate throughout their ascent of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Weather conditions from the start will require a first tactical decision, whether to go in search of breezes off the Italian peninsular, so further away from Sardinian shores, even though it means covering more ground.” 

From Monday, conditions change as the Venturi effect kicks in, generated by the Strait of Bonifacio where wind is forced to accelerate as it squeezes through this giant bottleneck between France and Italy. An easterly then takes over from Wednesday as they approach the Monegasque coast.

Little downwind speed and difficult conditions will prevail for those trying to beat the course record held since 2015 by the 100-ft Maxi Esimit Europa 2 of 47 hours 46 minutes 48 seconds. But there is everything to play for on this course where complex conditions meteorology-wise will give many an opportunity to regain lost ground in the second half of the race,” concludes Thierry Leret.

Boats striving to succeed the 82-foot Maxi Vera which took line honours in the 15th edition and Primavista Laura, a 52-ft Felci Ice winner in corrected time, will have to find a compromise between speed and distance.