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In the 18th Palermo-Montecarlo Regatta Black Jack Takes a Run at the Record. Did it Succeed?

In a thrilling showcase of offshore sailing prowess, the 18th Palermo-Montecarlo Regatta concluded with Peter Harburg’s Black Jack emerging victorious. The prestigious event, spanning from Sicily to the Principality of Monaco, witnessed around forty competing vessels from a dozen nations. The regatta, jointly organized by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia and the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), saw Black Jack, skippered by Mark Bradford and tactically managed by New Zealander Brad Butterworth, dominate the course.

Black Jack’s Triumph

The defining moment arrived at precisely 19:53:06 on Thursday, August 24th, when Black Jack crossed the finish line, securing line honours and clinching the victory in real time. The 100-foot Maxi covered the challenging route in a time of 55 hours, 3 minutes, and 6 seconds. YCM revealed comments from Peter Harburg, reflecting on the race. “It was a great race; the boat performed exceptionally well. Despite challenges during the second night post the Strait of Bonifacio, we managed to harness favourable

winds afterward,” He added that the moment of crossing the finish line marked the pinnacle of the journey, vindicating the efforts poured into mastering the seas.

Like a Family: A Team Effort

The synergy among the 18 crew members of Black Jack, many of whom have sailed together for almost two decades, was palpable. YCM shared Harburg’s feelings “We’re like a family,” . Harburg, has already tasted success earlier in the year by winning the 151 Miglia Trofeo Cetilar and the Rolex Giraglia, among others. Despite the remarkable achievement, the Palermo-Montecarlo regatta’s record set in 2015 by Esimit Europa 2, (aka Black Jack) remains unbroken.

A Mediterranean Classic 

The classic Mediterranean Race Palermo-Montecarlo has kept its course, unchanged since its inception. It begins at the Gulf of Mondello in Sicily, leading contestants through a gate near Porto Cervo, Sardinia, before culminating in the Principality of Monaco.

Beyond the fierce competition, Palermo-Montecarlo serves as a platform for nurturing the next generation of sailors. Young talents were given the opportunity to participate, as seen with Claudio Demartis’s Shockwave 3 Prosecco DOC and Loïc Pompée’s Le Joy, both featuring aspiring sailors. Under the guidance of YCM Race Director Thierry Leret, young participants aged 13 to 17 embraced the challenges of offshore sailing, mastering tactical decisions and enduring weather fluctuations during the multi-day event.

Prominent Racing and Yachting Event

Organized in partnership with Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and under the aegis of multiple prestigious sailing associations, including the Italian Sailing Federation and the International Maxi Association, Palermo-Montecarlo continues to attract world-renowned vessels and sailing icons. As a fixture on the international summer calendar, the race contributes to the Italian Offshore Championship and other Mediterranean sailing challenges.

Looking Forward

As the excitement of the Palermo-Montecarlo Regatta settles, Yacht Club de Monaco gears up for the upcoming 16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe (September 13-16, 2023). This biennial event, showcasing both sailing and motor yachts of various sizes and styles, promises to further enrich the yachting calendar. With 50 classic yachts and a myriad of vintage motorboats gracing the YCM Marina, the event is poised to be a celebration of maritime heritage and modern excellence.

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