Lady First III big winner of Palermo-Montecarlo regatta

The 17th edition of the Palermo-Montecarlo regatta has ended, and after a voyage filled with rough seas and difficult wind conditions, it was the Lady First III who took the cup.

This year’s Palermo-Montecarlo sailing race pulled in 40 teams from nine countries and drew big crowds in the process.

The event, organised by Circolo della Vela Sicilia in partnership with Yacht Club de Monaco and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda since 2005, is a 480 nautical mile race and is one of the stages in the Italian Offshore Championship circuit, organised by the Italian Sailing Federation, IMA’s Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge and the Class40 Mediterranean Trophy.

“Wind and sea conditions were quite difficult this year, which made it all the more exciting,” said a delighted Agostino Randazzo, President of Circolo della Vela Sicilia.

Despite the challenging environment, the racers all left from the Gulf of Mondello in high spirits, but it was to be Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Lady First III helmed by Nicolas Berenger who would cross the finish first on Sunday evening at 11:47pm after 2 days 11 hours 47 minutes 6 seconds of sailing, winning the Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita Trophy for the first to finish in real time.

“Everything went well,” said skipper Berenger, “we had quite tough conditions for the first part of the course, crossing the Maddalena Archipelago then the Strait of Bonifacio and then managed to escape the whims of the Corsican coast to end on a good crossing from there to the continent, with the wind pushing us along in the right direction. Despite the last 25 miles being difficult, we managed to stay ahead of our rivals.”

In a close second was Dominique Tian’s Tonnere de Glen, though confusingly, after a real time correction, they were first, and therefore winners of the Angelo Randazzo Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the second time after victory in 2018.

“Our crew sailed really well. We are very happy with the results, particularly as it was not an easy race,” said Dominique Tian, who good-naturedly went on to say, “I’m delighted Lady First III took line honours. We are friends and mates at the Marseille Société Nautique, so I’m very happy for them.”

Another prize offered at this race was the newly minted Circolo della Vela Sicilia Trophy which rewards the first in the overall ranking of the ORC group and was won by the Sun Fast 3600 Lunatika of Guido Baroni and Alessandro Miglietti.

Monaco had two boats in the running this year, including Andrea Statari’s Gorilla Gang, K’Mena and Andreas Feichtinger’s Lung’Ta which had two young members from the YCM’s Sports Section on board, and Oscar Royneau and Jessica Klimeck, supervised by YCM’s Thierry Leret.

“They were great throughout,” said Thierry Leret. “Over the 10 days spent at sea (between delivery and the race itself), we had only three hours downwind. The rest of the time we were close-hauled and in some very tough conditions. Despite that, these two young rookies have fallen in love with offshore racing and want to continue on this path which is a victory in my eyes.”



Photo credit: Circolo Della Vela Sicilia, Studio Borlenghi





Jim Ratcliffe signs €7 billion deal with China

Monaco resident Jim Ratcliffe is expanding his INEOS empire into China, signing three separate deals with state-backed China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, which are expected to make a combined turnover of €10 billion from seven tonnes of capacity.

Jim Ratcliffe’s rags to riches story of growing up in a Manchester, England council estate to becoming the UK’s richest man are the stuff of legend. His company, INEOS, a chemical company, proclaims on their website that their “products touch every aspect of modern-day life”, and now they are expanding ever further.

The Monaco-based tycoon is making the news again, this time for the signing of three deals with China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) worth an estimated €7 billion.

The deals include INEOS acquiring a 50% stake in Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Compnay (SECCO), a subsidiary of SINOPAEC. SECCO at present has a production capability of 4.2 millon tonnes of petrochemicals in its 200 hectare facility producing substances such as ethylene, propylene styrene and benzene amongst others.

INEOS has also agreed to set up a new 50-50 project alongside SINOPEC to increase production capacity of up to 1.2 million tonnes of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer, to meet China’s demands.

Finally, the two companies will create another 50-50 venture to build a 500,000 high density poly ethylene (HDPE) plant in Tianjin. The hopes are that this is only the first jointly-built plant and that two additional factories will be built in the near future. The Tianjin plan is expected to go online in late 2023.

INEOS and SINOPEC already work together since the acquisition of BP’s acetyls and aromatics business in January 2021.

“These agreements significantly reshape INEOS’ petrochemical production and technology in China,” said Ratcliffe. “We are pleased to make these major investments with SINOPEC in areas that provide the best growth opportunities for both companies. Both parties recognise the potential for closer collaboration across a number of other areas as we look ahead.”

Each transaction is anticipated to be finished before the end of 2022. They will be financed through a combination of internal cash resources and external financing.





Photo source: WikiCommons





Monaco’s traditional picnic U Cavagnetü returns

After two years of postponement due to Covid, Monaco’s end-of-summer picnic, U Cavagnetü, is back and being held at Princess Antoinette Park in September.  

One of Monaco’s many lovely traditions is an annual picnic held in early September to mark the turning point between summer and back-to-school and work. In the Monegasque tongue, it is called U Cavagnetü and it is reserved for those of Monegasque nationality and their families as a time to gather for an evening of fun and frivolity.

The Princely family is usually in attendance, including appearances by Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who will be marking the end of their summer holidays before starting school again.

The event is also environmentally conscious, featuring recycling bins and recyclable appetiser cups. People are also asked to bring reusable or recyclable plates, cups and silverware as part of their personal picnics.

This year, the party is being held on 3rd September and access to the event begins at 5:15pm for a 6pm start. The evening opens with a mass celebrated on the Parc Omnisports Ground and will be followed by a picnic with musical accompaniment provided by the choir of U Cantin d’A Roca and by a Jazz Quartet, led by Lionel Vaudano, professor at the Rainier III Academy.

From 5pm on the 3rd, access to the Monaco bus network and parking in the Jardin Exotique car park will be free on presentation of the Monegasque identity card or invitation.

Access to the site, Princess Antoinette Park, will be closed to the public from 29th August to 7th September for set up and break down of the event, but the kiosk and the mini-golf course, located in the lower part of the park, will remain open, except on the day of the event. Entry will only be via the entrance located on Boulevard de Belgique.


Photo source: Mairie de Monaco