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Displaying items by tag: Middle Sea Race

Barry Hurley will compete in his fourteenth Rolex Middle Sea offshore Race in a row tomorrow sailing XpAct, a Maltese Xp44. He is one of a handful of Irish crews competing in the 39th race that forecasters say is going to be a heavy weather affair.

Royal Irish's Hurley will sail with mostly the same crew as the last few years. Hurley is helmsman and Irish connections on onboard XpAct are strengthened with Howth Yacht Club's Shane Diviney on board as a trimmer.

Royal Cork's Nicholas 'Nin' O'Leary will be building up his offshore hours in advance of the 2020 Vendee Globe as part of Alex Thomson's four man crew on Hugo Boss. See O'Leary's Facebook vid below.

Hurley, a former solo transatlantic race winner, told Afloat.ie, 'We’re ready for the race, having competed in the coastal race yesterday and finished first in class and third overall. Everything seems to be in full working order and the boat is fully ready after many weeks of preparation. It’s looking like a windier race this year than in recent years so it looks like it will be a bigger challenge for boats and crew than many are used to'.

Now Malta–based Brian Flahive, originally from Wicklow Sailing Club, is sailing double-handed this year on a J122. Flahive is a 2014 RORC Round Britain and Ireland Double-handed Race winner.

A full ISORA entry in the shape of a chartered XP44 X-Prime comes to the line thanks to Welsh skipper Andrew Hall, an Irish Sea regular in his J125, Jackknife.

Conor Doyle and an all Kinsale Yacht Club members crew have chartered a Mills DK46 ‘Hydra to add to the Irish ranks. (Thanks to Finbarr O'Regan via Facebook below)

XpACT Barry Hurley Barry Hurley's XpACT at the light airs Grand Harbour start of yesterday's coastal race

After the high level of Irish interest in the race in former years, there is a drop–off of Irish boats and sailors participating this year. As Irish offshore chief Peter Ryan explains 'the interest is there. The logisitical problems and past chartering problems may have put people off'.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club is a hive of activity , as the 110-boat international fleet taking part in the 38th Rolex Middle Sea Race, continue their preparations ahead of the start on Saturday. Light winds are expected for the first part of the race, with a significant northwesterly arriving by the third day.

According to the latest weather forecasts, the start is forecast to have a moderate easterly breeze, which is due to fade on the first night. Light winds should then affect the majority of the fleet throughout Sunday. By dawn on Monday, a fresh Mistral is expected to arrive in the vicinity of Favignana and these strong winds from the northwest are forecast across the race course for around 48 hours.

Fourteen teams from Russia will be taking part this year, including Yuri Fadeev's Reflex 38 Kabestan Intuition, which has only one non-Russian in the crew, Patrice Ernandez from France. “We are out practising today, and especially looking at our downwind trim.” commented Fadeev. “The boat is provisioned, and we are ready to race. It looks like we might have light winds for the first couple of days, then we are expecting a lot more wind, and we are hoping to get past Stromboli before it arrives, or it could turn into a tough beat to round the famous volcano.”

Ross Applebey, skipper of British First 45 Scarlet Sailplane, knows all too well how the weather can change in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. “Racing Scarlet Oyster in 2014, we experienced a full-blown gale, and we snapped our rudder, and retired from the race.” explained Applebey. “I think it is important to reduce sail early if you are expecting bad weather, and make sure everyone has had a good meal before it arrives. In 2014, the skies became very overcast, and a mist descended before the front arrived, so I would say that would be a good sign to look for!”

The northwesterly wind, known as the Mistral or majjistral in Maltese, emanates from the Rhone Valley. After a period of settled weather, there is change afoot in the Alps with snow forecast. The cooler air flow down the mountains will funnel through the valley and out onto the warm waters of the Mediterranean, where the winds will be energized produce high speeds as far south as Malta.

The 38th Rolex Middle Sea Race starts from Grand Harbour, Valletta at 11.00 CEST on Saturday, 21 October.

This article has been updated to mention additional Irish crews at 1100 on Friday, 20th October.

WM Nixon will be giving further coverage to the Irish in the Middle Sea Race in tomorrow's blog here.

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Round Ireland race monohull record holder George David’s American Maxi, Rambler 88, crossed the finish line of the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Monohull Line Honours at 02:18:26 CET on Tuesday 25th October in an elapsed time of 02 days 14 hours 03 minutes 26 seconds. George David and the Rambler 88 crew were welcomed to the club by Godwin Zammit, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

Rambler 88 Crew: George David, Erle Williams, Brad Jackson, Rodney Ardern, Joca Signorini, Andrew Cape, Silvio Arrivabene, Josh Belsky, Lorenzo Mazza, Will McCarthy, Stu Wilson, Dean Phipps, Nathan Hislop, Mark Newbrook, Joe Fanelli, Jerry Kirby, Scott Beavis, Curtis Blewett, Brian Giorgio, Robbie Naismith

Rambler 88, has taken Line Honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race for the second year in succession. The light winds of the first 24 hours meant that the Monohull and, indeed, outright, race record of 1 day 23 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds, set by George David in 2007, in a previous Rambler, remains intact for another year.

It was a tough race for the Rambler 88 crew, mentally rather than physically. There were several transition zones in the wind to be outwitted in order to secure the lead. And, the quality and depth of the international fleet was such that Rambler 88 could never afford to relax during the race. The Danish Volvo 70, Trifork, helmed by Bouwe Bekking was the main protagonist, nipping at the heels of Rambler 88 and, at one stage, briefly taking pole position. The Rambler 88 crew re-acted well to the pressure, never panicking, staying focused and eventually pulling away in the second half of the race to beat her closest rival by five hours.

There is all to play for in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. When Trifork crossed the finish line, she overtook Rambler in the overall corrected time standings, setting the current bar for the remaining yachts racing to beat. The best yacht under IRC time correction will be awarded the Rolex Middle Sea Trophy and a coveted Rolex timepiece.

Quotes from George David, Owner, Rambler 88

About the race: “The story of the race was that we had a couple of big shut downs in the breeze,” commented George David, once ashore in Malta. “The first was near Messina before the strait and the second one was right around Stromboli. Each time the breeze just shut down and the fleet behind sailed into us. We were all parked together and had to restart. And we restarted at least twice.”

“I would say this race was more frustrating than our previous ones. I’ve rarely seen compression as we had it those two times east of Messina and off Stromboli. I’m pretty confident the eventual results will show that we won the race clearly from Palermo to Malta and that we lost the race clearly from Malta to Palermo. It was effectively two races.”

On the race generally: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is always fun. This is the most beautiful racecourse in the world and that is a fact. The islands on a clear day are spectacular and Stromboli always erupts a little bit. We keep coming back because of the beauty of Malta, the hospitality of the people, the scenic views on the racecourse, and the wind which can be great and which can be frustrating.”

About the crew: “This crew has been together a long time and they have been through some tough times. A half dozen were with me in 2007 in this race, and maybe seven were with us in Ireland (in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race) when the 100 foot boat went upside down. So it is a very steady group, it is a quiet group, nobody raises his voice at all. We work well together and there is a lot of camaraderie and teamwork. It is part of the joy of sailing to have a good group to do it with.”

“When conditions are like they were in this race, we have two helmsmen in particular who seem to like it when the boat is going 0.00. I don’t like it. Typically, I go away somewhere, it’s not for me! When I saw Trifork come up to us in Stromboli I was a little concerned. Nobody ever gets angry or upset, but you do wonder how it can happen.”

About why he enjoys sailing: “It is a fun, challenging sport partly because of the element of luck. You can do all the preparation you want, all the strategy, planning, organisation, preparation, teamwork, training, design, materials, building … everything you can name but sometimes there is an element of luck. I don’t mind it. It is part of the game.”

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Howth Yacht Club crew man Anthony Doyle reports from Conor Fogerty's Jeanneau 3600 BAM! on the second day of the Middle Sea Race Race.

'We're just through the straits of Messina at approx 1530, we have what you can only call a mixed bag of a race.

Following a very light wind start in Valletta Grand Harbour we found ourselves with plenty of time to make up after the beat to Mark 2. Then the course brought us north to the South eastern side of Sicily where BAM! started hauling and passing out the competition.

Unfortunately we snagged a very complex lobster pot off Sicily which cost us at least an hour and one of the crew had to dive down to untangle the mess.

This meant that our competitors got away on different breeze but we are now reaching towards Stromboli with the A2 up doing 10 knots and a course of 330 magnetic and hope to make up some lost time.

Hopefully this is a race of many starts, and we have had ours... The skipper and crew are in great spirits and already looking forward to the next one pot wonder Paddy Gregory will rustle up for dinner this evening.

BAM Middle sea raceConor Fogerty's BAM! crew have the wind behind them on day two of the Middle Sea Race. The Irish Jeanneau 3600 is racing in division IRC six with a full Howth Yacht Club crew including Simon Knowles, Paddy Gregory, Sam O'Byrne, Rob Slater and Anthony Doyle

As Afloat.ie reported previously, Fogerty's is racing in division IRC six with a full Howth Yacht Club crew including Simon Knowles, Paddy Gregory, Sam O'Byrne, Rob Slater and Anthony Doyle. As Afloat.ie readers will recall, the doughty Irish offshore campaigner took a class win in February's RORC Caribbean 600 race.

Fogerty arrived into the Grand Harbour in Valletta last Tuesday. In the last 12 months, Bam has been sailed from Howth to the Canaries, then did the ARC race to St Lucia, then the Caribbean 600 race in February, then Conor sailed solo to the Azores, delivery from Azores back to Howth, then the Round Ireland Yacht race in June, then to the Solent for the Fastnet solo race, then the new RORC IIe D’Ouessant Race, then the Cowes to Cherbourg race and just now a delivery from Southampton to Malta. After the Middle Sea race, the boat will be wintered ashore in Malta until next spring year when she returns home.

Organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race will start at 11:00hrs (CET) on the 22nd October in the spectacular Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.

ISORA sailors Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are back onboard the Maltese J122 Otra Vez skippered by owner Aaron Gatt Floridia, who has sailed in Ireland's Dun laoghaire to Dingle race. It will be Coyne's fourth Middle Sea on Otra Vez. 'This will be my seventh Middle Sea race and really feeling good about this one' Coyne told Afloat.ie. Coyne managed a class win in 2014 and has previously been sixth time overall.

Also racing is INSS sailor Kenneth Rumball as part of a Maltese crew onboard the Xp44, Xpact. Rumball previously raced on Xpact in 2014 with other Irish sailors Andy Boyle, Philip Connor and Barry Hurley to second overall and first in class three onboard this X-Yacht. Hurley is back on board this year and joining them is Shane Divney of Howth Yacht Club coming back from GC32 Circuit. Laura Dillon of HYC is on Winsome. Dublin's Conor Kinsella, a co-skipper on Lynx in this year's Round Ireland, is sailing on Xpedite.

London–based Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Niall Dowling is listed on the crew of Pata Negra, the Lombard 46 skippered by Giles Redpath

Published in Middle Sea Race

One Irish boat and a good selection of Irish sailors are among 112 twelve boats, from twenty five nations and six starts in tomorrow's Middle Sea Race. A light wind forecast means that it may suit smaller boats rather than the big yachts, including the sole north Dublin entry.

Conor Fogerty's BAM, a Sunfast 3600, races in division IRC six with a full Howth Yacht Club crew including Simon Knowles, Paddy Gregory, Sam O'Byrne, Rob Slater and Anthony Doyle. As Afloat.ie readers will recall, the doughty Irish offshore campaigner took a class win in February's RORC Caribbean 600 race.

Fogerty arrived into the Grand Harbour in Valletta last Tuesday. In the last 12 months, Bam has been sailed from Howth to the Canaries, then did the ARC race to St Lucia, then the Caribbean 600 race in February, then Conor sailed solo to the Azores, delivery from Azores back to Howth, then the Round Ireland Yacht race in June, then to the Solent for the Fastnet solo race, then the new RORC IIe D’Ouessant Race, then the Cowes to Cherbourg race and just now a delivery from Southampton to Malta. After the Middle Sea race, the boat will be wintered ashore in Malta until next spring year when she returns home.

Organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race will start at 11:00hrs (CET) on the 22nd October in the spectacular Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.

ISORA sailors Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are back onboard the Maltese J122 Otra Vez skippered by owner Aaron Gatt Floridia, who has sailed in Ireland's Dun laoghaire to Dingle race. It will be Coyne's fourth Middle Sea on Otra Vez. 'This will be my seventh Middle Sea race and really feeling good about this one' Coyne told Afloat.ie. Coyne managed a class win in 2014 and has previously been sixth time overall.

Also racing is INSS sailor Kenneth Rumball as part of a Maltese crew onboard the Xp44, Xpact. Rumball previously raced on Xpact in 2014 with other Irish sailors Andy Boyle, Philip Connor and Barry Hurley to second overall and first in class three onboard this X-Yacht. Hurley is back on board this year and joining them is Shane Divney of Howth Yacht Club coming back from GC32 Circuit. Laura Dillon of HYC is on Winsome. Dublin's Conor Kinsella, a co-skipper on Lynx in this year's Round Ireland, is sailing on Xpedite.

London–based Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Niall Dowling is listed on the crew of Pata Negra, the Lombard 46 skippered by Giles Redpath

The 608-mile yacht race takes place in the heart of the Mediterranean and covers one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Starting and finishing in Malta, the route includes the deep azure waters around Sicily including the Aeolian and Egadi Islands, as well as Pantelleria and Lampedusa. One of the most stunning vistas is Stromboli, the active volcano which is a course mark.

Challenging, enchanting and historic, the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of Europe’s most popular and respected offshore races. Supported by Rolex since 2002, the event’s fascination is largely drawn from its alluring, 608-nautical-mile race course – a rigorous and scenic anti-clockwise loop around Sicily, which introduces numerous ‘corners’ that present changing and complex meteorological shifts.

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As the Royal Malta Yacht Club is well into its preparations for the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race, the interest and response so far is very encouraging, suggesting that there will be another good fleet in 2016.

A highly rated offshore classic, the race has in previous years have seen over 120 boats, representing over 24 countries, some as far flung as Australia and New Zealand, grace the iconic Valletta Grand Harbour prior to the start of the 608 nautical mile race.

2015 saw an impressive mix of mono and multihulls take part, with Monohull Line Honours going to George David’s Rambler 88 which arrived soon after Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70 Phaedo 3. The latter was the first Multihull home. Michele Galli's Italian TP52, B2 won the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy, whilst fellow Italian Vincenzo Onorato's Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino won the Boccale Del Mediterraneo.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a widely anticipated race for both sailing crews and the general public, who mark their diaries well in advance to ensure they don’t miss the action in the Grand Harbour. Participants have come to expect a memorable offshore sailing event combined with the usual great hospitality at the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

The 37th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is scheduled to start on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Entries for the race have been steadily coming in with a good mix of familiar names and new ones signing up for the 608 nautical mile race.

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RORC Caribbbean 600 champion Conor Fogerty's Bam from Howth Yacht Club is an early Irish entry into the 37th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race and doubtless there will be more strong Irish offshore entrants before the start on Saturday 22nd October 2016.

Entries for the race have been steadily coming in with a good mix of familiar names and new ones signing up for the 608 nautical mile race.

Last year, Malahide boat and race regulars Dermot and Paddy Cronin took the double–handed honours. This year the Irish offshore season is starting to build for April's first race on the Irish Sea and with plenty of new boats there may be some tempted to extend the season by taking the trip to Malta. 

Since its inception in 1968, the Middle Sea Race has developed into a highly rated offshore classic, popular among both professional and Corinthian crews, putting Malta firmly on the sailing map. The scenic course around many islands provides changeable and demanding conditions that require crews to be constantly at their best. The event attracts a varied fleet which is divided into numerous classes giving every boat a fair chance for a good result.

2015 welcomed an interesting fleet which included some high profile boats making up a total of 111 yachts, representing 22 countries to make yet another successful event. Monohull Line Honours went to George David’s Rambler 88 which arrived soon after Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70 Phaedo 3, which was the first Multihull home. Michele Galli's Italian TP52, B2 won the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy, whilst fellow Italian Vincenzo Onorato's Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino won the Boccale Del Mediterraneao.

Although still early in the year, the interest and response so far is very encouraging, suggesting that there will be another good fleet in 2016. Participants should expect another memorable offshore sailing event combined with the usual great hospitality at the RMYC.

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Malahide father-and-son crew of Dermot (63) and Paddy (31) Cronin are the Afloat.ie Sailors of the Month for October after their clearcut win by almost two hours in the IRC Double-Handed Division in the 606-mile Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Sailing their keenly-campaigned First 40.7 Encore, Team Cronin tackled conditions and the opposition as though they were a fully-crewed boat. And though overall it proved to be a race which suited boats around the 50ft mark, the 40ft Encore was very much in contention in her open Class 6 against racers sailed by numerous experienced crews, placing sixth overall out of 18 boats.

This pattern of being a third of the way from the front was continued in the total fleet of 102 contenders, as they placed 37th in an impressive turnout which included all the best offshore racers in the Mediterranean, and such noted international stars as George David’s Rambler 88 (due in Ireland next June in the Round Ireland Race 2016) and the Maxi 72 Momo, which dominated the big boats in the Fastnet Race.

It says everything about the skill and dedication with which Dermot and Paddy raced that we find ourselves easily making comparisons with their showing against the fully-crewed boats, whereas the real story is that they won the Double-Handed Division with plenty of time in hand.

paddy dermot cronin
It seemed almost too good to be true, but it really happened……Paddy and Dermot Cronin back in Valetta find they’ve won the Rolex Middle Sea Race Double-Handed IRC Division with nearly two hours to spare.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Malahide Yacht Club's Dermot Cronin sailing with his son Paddy has won the double–handed division of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The stand out international result for the Irish double–hander was achieved on his Beneteau 40.7 Encore. 

encore

Encore from Malahide on her way to overall victory in the double–handed class. Photo: Rolx/Carlos Borlenghi

Cronin is a regular competitor in the 600–mile race but this is understood to be the first time the Irish yacht has been sailed double–handed in the Mediterranean fixture.

The Irish duo, who finished 37th overall beat the UK based Neo 400 Banks Sails Racing by more than two hours on corrected time in a time of five days, 11 hours and 43 seconds. 

middle sea race result

Malahide YC commodore Graham Smith was one of the first to offer congratulations to the Cronins. 'It's great news, richly deserved and we are delighted for Dermot and Paddy, he said.

The father and son team took just over five days and night to complete the race. Paolo Semeraro's Neo Double Banks Sails Racing had led for much of the race but finished in second place after a strong finish from the Irish team. Beppe Bisotto & Manuel Polo racing Fast 42, Atame was third. This was Beppe's 11th Middle Sea Race and his fifth Double Handed.

Dermot Cronin competed with his First 40.7, Encore, in the last Rolex Middle Sea Race with a full crew but didn't finish the race due to rudder problems in heavy weather. Dermot and his son Paddy have raced double handed before but nothing like the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

“Last year watching the Prize Giving for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, I remember thinking that the only chance I have to get on that stage is with my son Paddy.” commented Dermott Cronin. “Paddy has been tremendously successful racing double handed and I was delighted when he agreed to team up with me this year. I have huge respect for Paddy, I get quite emotional just thinking about that, I call him my master and commander, unequivocally he is the skipper and I am the crew. We have sailed for years and for me it doesn't get any better than this.”

“Probably the stand-out memory of the race was when we approaching Malta.” Commented Paddy Cronin. “We could pick up the tracker again, we knew we were in contention but we had no idea we were leading the Double Handed Class. Initially we thought that would be easy but then we started doubting that, so we put up the spinnaker in strong breeze and the snuffer jammed at the top and we knew that like that we couldn't get it down. So I went up the rig, hoisted by my Dad. It was blowing 25 knots in a confused sea and I was bouncing around and I was thinking we had messed the race up. So to be honest, when we came through the line there was more feeling of relief than anything else. When you finish a race like that it is almost surreal, you are so wrapped up in the race and we only came back to reality when we had a lovely reception from Barry Hurley, who won the Two Handed Class in 2012.”

It will be an emotional moment for Dermot and his son Paddy, when they take to the stage tomorrow, for the Rolex Middle Sea Race Prize Giving Ceremony.

Other Irish sailors competing inlcuded David Kenefick sailing with Artemis in 75th place with Ireland's former Green Dragon, now in Austrian hands, in 76th. 

Competing in class four on Xp–act Banks Sails Racing were Andrew Boyle, Philip Connor,  Barry Hurley and Kenny Rumball who finished 21st overall.

Meanwhile, Vincenzo Onorato's Italian Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino, with Northern Ireland's Ian Moore as navigator, corrected out to win the overall prize for the race rating under the ORC Rule. The top three yachts came from three different classes, 57 yachts entered the race under the ORC rating system, which rated the yachts by time over distance. In second place overall was Michele Galli's Italian TP52, B2 with Francesco de Angelis as tactician. In third place overall was Milan Hajek's First 40.7, Three Sisters with a crew all from the Czech Republic.

2015 Maxi 72 World Champion winning navigator, Ian Moore spoke about the Mascalzone Latino victory. “This is the first time we have sailed together as a team for over a year and we put in a great performance. Our team and the boat performed well over a broad range of conditions, and we especially made big gains in the light winds. B2 was always going to be quicker than us in a straight line and they did well in the transition zones at Stromboli and Capo San Vito. We did catch up 14 miles on the first night going past Mount Etna, which was a big gain for us. On the leg from Lampedusa to the finish, there were a lot of thunderstorms and we saw one wind shift of 50 degrees, which we got spot on. This was an exciting race for us and tactically extremely difficult.”

In ORC One, Michele Galli's TP52, B2 was the winner from Hungarian RP60, Wild Joe, skippered by Marton Jozsa. In third place was Vicente Garcia Torres' Spanish Swan 80, Plis play was third.

B2's navigator, Nacho Postigo commented ”I think the 50-52 feet is a good length for this race. The TP52 is an all-round boat, with very little weaknesses, a good compromise between rating and speed. For me this was a typical Middle Sea Race; you struggle to find the wind, and when you do, it happens in excess. This time it was more about managing the light than about strong winds. For me, this is one of the most challenging races in the world. In this race there is a strong association between land and sea, and this drives you to take many important decisions along the way; sometimes, mistakes are really expensive here.”

ORC Two featured three canting keel yachts. Mascalzone Latino was the winner and there was a close battle for second place. Franco Niggeler's Swiss custom 42, Kuka-light, had an epic battle with Guido Paolo Gamucci's Italian Cookson 50, Cippa Lippa 8. Kuka-Light crossed the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race just eight minutes ahead on corrected time to take second place ahead of Cippa Lippa.

ORC Three was won by the Turkish Ker 40, Arkas Flying Box, skippered by Serhat Altay, Arkas Flying Box was also placed 10th overall in ORC. Bastiaan de Voogd young Dutch team racing Sydney 43 Coin Coin was second. Vittorio Biscarini's Italian Mylius 15, Ars Una was third.

“Our Code Zero was a real weapon this race, especially in the wind holes.” commented Martin Watts, Arkas Sailing Team Coach. “There was no end to the enthusiasm from the team in their first major offshore race. Morale was very high on board and the team sailed very well together, I must say they are a real treat to sail with. Our ultimate goal for this year was to win our class at the Rolex Middle Sea Race and our efforts have achieved that, so we are absolutely delighted.”

ORC Four produced a tense battle for the class win, Christopher Opielok's Corby 38, Rockall IV from Hong Kong, corrected out to win the class by under an hour from three Maltese yachts, Christoph Podesta's First 45, Elusive II BOV was second, Sonke Stein & David Anastasi's J/133, Oiltanking Juno was third. Josef Schulteis & Timmy Camilleri’s Xp-44, Xp-Act Bank Sails was fourth by less than five minutes after time correction.

“In the light conditions, we were up against it but once we got into the breeze, this was more advantageous for Rockall, as we have a superior righting moment with a deep heavy keel.” Commented Rockall IV crew, Simon 'Cake' McCarthy. “The team did a great job at Pantelleria, we must have passed about 20 boats with our Code Zero up and at Lampedusa, we knew we were going well. Then the breeze just built and built and in big waves, we were on the edge of control. It was an awesome finish to the race.”

ORC Five produced one of the closest battles of the race. Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard's Maltese J/122, Artie won the class and also placed fourth overall under ORC. Costantin Manuele's First 40.7, Canevel Spumanti from the Yacht Club Adriaco, Trieste was second. Jamie Sammut's Maltese Solaris 42, Unica was third and Laurant Charmy's French J/111 SL Energies Groupe Fastwave was fourth. All four yachts finished within an hour of each other on corrected time.

“Mentally that was a very tough race and at times very frustrating.” Commented Artie's Lee Satariano. “At many stages of the race, if we could have found more wind, we would have done. The crew agree that we probably sailed the boat better this year than we have ever done. We sailed every leg really well and made very few errors. We set out to win our class and we are very happy that we have achieved that.”

ORC Six was won by Three Sisters taking part in their seventh race, the team from the Czech Republic corrected out to beat Grand Soleil 37, Sagola-Biotrading, skippered by Peppe Fornich. The crew are from the Yacht Club Favignana, the Aegadian Island of Favignana marks the northwest corner of the course. Gherardo Maviglia's Beneteau Oceanis 430, Amapola representing Circolo Velico Fiumicino, Roma was third. 

Published in Middle Sea Race

Michele Galli's Italian TP52, B2 have been confirmed by the Royal Malta Yacht Club as the overall winner of the 2015 Rolex Middle Sea Race, posting the best corrected time under the IRC handicap rule.

After over three days of racing, B2 was the IRC winner by seconds from Vincenzo Onorato's Italian Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino. The narrow victory was exemplified by the fact that Mascalzone Latino was the overall winner of the ORC class.

“Crossing the finish line with an advantage of nine seconds, on corrected time, was a big surprise, but even having losing to Mascalzone we would have been happy, because we know both teams did a great race and we both would be fair winners.” Commented B2's navigator, Nacho Postigo.”I think the 50-52 feet is a good length for this race. The TP52 is an all-round boat, with very little weaknesses, a good compromise between rating and speed.

For me this was a typical Middle Sea Race; you struggle to find the wind, and when you do, it happens in excess. This time it was more about managing the light than about strong winds. For me, this is one of the most challenging races in the world. In this race there is a strong association between land and sea, and this drives you to take many important decisions along the way; sometimes, mistakes are really expensive here. It is similar to races like the Fastnet or the Caribbean 600 in terms of dealing with the islands, whether you stay offshore or you get closer.

We have a great team on B2, Francesco De Angelis is a very motivating person, always pushing. Michele is a fantastic owner, very competitive, and he really loves these offshore races. And then the rest of the crew: I don’t know the number of peels we’ve done in these three and a half days, but they were simply perfect.”

Michele Galli and his team will receive the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy at Saturday's Prize Giving Ceremony. This is the second occasion that Michele Galli's TP52, B2 has won the trophy, winning the race overall in 2013.

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Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD 70, Phaedo3, co-skippered by Brian Thompson, crossed the finish line of the 2015 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Multihull Line Honours at 00.09.41 CET on Tuesday 20th October in an elapsed time of 2 days 11 hours 29 minutes and 41 seconds. Lloyd Thornburg, and his elated crew, were greeted at the Royal Malta Yacht Club by Commodore, Godwin Zammit.

After crossing the finish line, Lloyd Thornburg commented dockside at the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

“We were repairing one of the beams the night before the start, we were repairing a bit of damage sustained from setting some of our records, so we didn't get to do our normal practice and preparation.

The start of the race went really well and we had a very nice sail up to Sicily, then in the Messina Strait, we found a wind hole, which was a bit of a battle to get out of. It was a wonderful race with Rambler for much of the way, they made a better call in Messina going inside and it took us a while to get back from that. The conditions were light with lumpy seas, which we don't do so well in but towards the end we finally got our legs and were able to show the speed we are capable of.

Taking multihull line honours in this race has been a dream come true, we have been talking about this race for about four years. It is one of the classic 600 mile races and now we have done them all except one. I had heard that this is a beautiful race and I have found it incredible, especially passing Stromboli and coming into the finish, the surrounding are just amazing. It is unusual to do a 600 mile race and always be in sight of land, even at night you can see the city lights, which is kind of cool. I am now looking forward to seeing some of Malta while I am here - This race has lived up to my expectations and beyond.”

George David's Maxi, Rambler 88, crossed the finish line of the 2015 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Monohull Line Honours at 04.48.43 CET on Tuesday 20th October in an elapsed time of 2 days 16 hours 18 minutes and 43 seconds.

Published in Offshore
Page 5 of 9

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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