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In 2022, a fleet of 118 yachts from 24 countries had to negotiate extremely light winds in the 2022 Middle Sea Race, requiring crews to demonstrate supreme patience and perseverance to maximize every opportunity to maintain momentum. It was a race in which Ireland's Conor Doyle and his Kinsale crew won their ORC division on the Xp50, Freya.  

Eric de Turckheim's French yacht Teasing Machine was the overall race winner, a just reward after coming close to victory at several Rolex-partnered offshore races in recent years.

Watch the full feature below!

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Having been in contention for a top three place in IRC 4 at several points of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Kinsale Yacht Club's Conor Doyle was rewarded for his Mediterranean exploits with the ORC Three title in Valetta Harbour, Malta on Friday evening.

As Afloat reported earlier, Ireland's only entry in the race 600-miler ended up fourth on IRC Four rating after a tough battle with French and Maltese yachts. 

The Ireland Freya crew skippered by Conor Doyle from Kinsale at the finish of the 2022 Middle Sea Race in Valetta harbour, includes Kelvin Harrap, Rory Harrap, Will Byrne, Barry Hurley, Nick Jones, Malcolm McCormick, Cian Guilfoyle, James Lyons, Conor Doyle and Nin O'Leary

Malta’s past and present combined today at the Rolex Middle Sea Race final prize giving. Held, as is now tradition, in the 16th century former-Sacra Infermeria overlooking Grand Harbour, scene of the start one week ago, the story of the event was all but completed, just as the finishers conclude their own story as the cross the finish line.

This year’s edition, the 43rd in the long and illustrious history of the Mediterranean’s most demanding and renowned 600 mile offshore race, will be remembered for light winds, dogged determination and the remarkable imagery from the racecourse. Its character, so diametrically opposed to last year, it is hard to imagine the two races took place over the same track at the same time of year.

The principal success stories of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race recognised at the prize giving included:

  • Teasing Machine – overall winner under IRC and recipient of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy
  • Mana – multihull line honours winner and recipient of the Captain Morgan Trophy for victory under MOCRA
  • Leopard 3 – monohull line honours winner and recipient of the RLR Trophy
  • Wild Joe – ORC Category winner and recipient of the Boccale del Mediterraneo Trophy

David Cremona, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club paid tribute to all crews that had taken part, reserving special mention for the overall winner, Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD 54 Teasing Machine from France, but also the handful of boats still to finish the 606nm race. Cremona also thanked the volunteers of the club that make up the Race Committee and its small permanent staff for their hours of selfless work in preparing for the race. He also took time to record the club’s deep appreciation of its 20 year relationship with title sponsor Rolex, as well as the support of other race partners, such as Yachting Malta and the Royal Ocean Racing Club, and government bodies, such as the Malta Tourism Authority, for their important contributions.

In addition to participating crews, the occasion was attended by several distinguished guests, in particular the Italian Ambassador, Fabrizio Romano, and the President of Malta, George Vella who gave a short address. “This historic building provides the most fitting venue for this ceremony with its connection to the seafaring Knights of St John,” said President Vella. “As well as drawing the best sailing talent to our country, the Rolex Middle Sea Race has come to symbolise Malta’s maritime history. Each year it brings the island’s historic grandeur back to life.” Malta’s Head of State also referred to the global appeal of the race. “One of the race’s most impressive elements since its inception in 1968 is its multi-cultural and multi-national aspect,” he said. “So many diverse backgrounds and languages sharing a common love for the sport of sailing. For the past days you have demonstrated resilience, determination and patience. Your accomplishments would not have been possible without a strong team spirit. The image of endurance the Rolex Middle Sea Race offers each year is an example and encouragement to those of us ashore and a source of great inspiration.”

The Principal Race Officer, Stefan Kunstmann, also took a moment to reinforce the thanks for the volunteers and staff that had delivered the race and to congratulate the competitors. “I admire each and every one of you – finisher, retiree or those still racing – for the sportsmanship, the patience, the acceptance of nature and the determination you have shown. These qualities are as much a part of our sport as sailing ability.”
The 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race now passes into legend. It was an exceptional race for very different reasons to last year, and a reminder that tough conditions include light and fickle winds as well as fast and furious.

The 44th Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 21 October 2023.

IRC Overall & winner Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy
Teasing Machine, Eric de Turckheim, FRA

IRC Class Winners
IRC 1 Spirit of Lorina, Jean-Pierre Barjon, FRA
IRC 2 Teasing Machine, Eric de Turckheim FRA
IRC 3 Ino XXX, James Neville, GBR
IRC 4 Albator, Philippe Frantz, FRA
IRC 5 Tevere Remo Mon Ile, Gianrocco Catalano, ITA

Monohull Line Honours & winner RLR Trophy

Leopard 3, Chris Sherlock, NED

Multihull Line Honours & Malta Tourism Authority Trophy (First Foreign Boat)
Mana, Riccardo Pavoncelli, ITA

MOCRA Overall & Captain Morgan Trophy
Mana, Riccardo Pavoncelli, ITA

ORC Category Overall & winner Boccale del Mediterraneo Trophy

Wild Joe, Marton Jozsa, HUN

ORC Class Winners
ORC 1 Wild Joe, Marton Jozsa, HUN
ORC 2 Daguet 3 – Corum, Frederic Puzin, FRA
ORC 3 Freya, Conor Doyle. IRL
ORC 4 Tevere Remo Mon Ile, Gianrocco Catalano, ITA

First Boat with Maltese skipper & majority Maltese crew -Transport Malta Trophy
First Maltese Boat under IRC & Arthur Podesta Trophy
First Maltese Boat under ORC & Teddie Borg Trophy

Artie III, Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard, MLT

Yachting Malta Nations Cup (Country with three best corrected times)
France – Teasing Machine, Spirit of Lorina & Arobas 2

Italian Ambassador’s Trophy for Sportsmanship
Arobas2, Gerard Logel, FRA

First Italian boat under ORC & winner Federazione Italian Vela Trophy
Tevere Remo Mon Ile, Gianrocco Catalano, ITA

At the time of writing, 44 boats had finished, 13 are still racing and the rest have retired.

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Year on year, the Rolex Middle Sea Race features a myriad of skirmishes right through the fleet. If you dream of winning one of the classic 600 nm offshore races overall, you must have the determination and commitment to first win your section of the IRC category. At the 43rd edition, some of the class wars have been intense affairs to the finish, while others have appeared walkovers as the competition missed catching the wind train or suffered other injustices in the fickle winds. At least one such battle is still ongoing and is unlikely to finish for many hours.

Ireland's sole entry in the race, Conor Doyle's XP50 Freya from Kinsale, finished on Friday evening, taking fourth in IRC 4 division and 26th overall and rewarded with an ORC division win as Afloat reports here.

In IRC 1, the eventual gap between the first and second boats on time correction was 50 minutes, and the fight remained unresolved until the finish line. The two boats, Spirit of Lorina (FRA) and Wild Joe (HUN) had been in contention since the start, and were locked together until Stromboli. Halfway across the north of Sicily a gap started to appear, and Marton Josza’s Hungarian crewed Reichel/Pugh 60 managed to stretch away from Jean-Pierre Barjon’s French-crewed Botin 65. At the Favignana transit (the nominal halfway point) the gap was 40 minutes in the favour of Wild Joe.

The Botin 65 Spirit Of Lorina competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt ArrigoThe Botin 65 Spirit Of Lorina competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Races can turn in an instant as Wild Joe explained: “We caught the fisherman’s net in the evening hours on the approach to Pantelleria. Luckily, we spotted it straightaway and were able to get free quite quickly and didn't get too entangled.” All the same by Pantelleria, the positions were reversed with Spirit of Lorina holding a 40 minute advantage on corrected time. Despite a concerted effort by Wild Joe on the Lampedusa – Malta leg, the gap could not be closed. According to the Wild Joe navigator, Andras D’Albini, “To do well in this race you need a favourable weather forecast, and some luck especially in the windless areas. This is our best ever result, so we are very happy. We had an accurate weather forecast ahead of the race. The team is very experienced, and we kept hitting our polars. It was great to be here. Really nice to see two other Hungarian teams. We hope to be back.”

Teasing Machine’s victory in IRC 2 was comprehensive by the finish, Eric de Turckheim’s French NMYD54 beating Red Bandit by more than two hours. It was not always so. A 20 year old Farr 52, Chocolate 3 (the former Optimum 3 overall winner in 2004) now representing Switzerland, although mainly crewed by young Bulgarian dinghy sailors, was right at the top of the standings until Stromboli. “We had a very good start,” said owner François Bopp. “We were first in the rankings going into the Messina Strait, and then we blew a jib. We lost a lot of time because it was ripped in two. We missed the first train there, and then again at Stromboli where we had boats less than a mile away from us going superfast while we were stuck.” Bopp continued: “The two extremes of last year and this year prove that this race is fascinating. The landscape is beautiful, the winds can change, the result is not predictable, and that is all it needs to be great race.”

Marton Jozsa's RP 60 Wild Joe competing in IRC Class 1 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt ArrigoMarton Jozsa's RP 60 Wild Joe competing in IRC Class 1 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt Arrigo

The Chocolate afterguard this year included serial round the world yachtsman Bouwe Bekking. “It was a very, very, very slow race. We predicted four and a half days, and it’s taken us over six. There are a lot of young sailors onboard, and motivation was always high, the crew was always eager. They got a great experience and kept fighting to the end. It was probably an eye-opener.” Bekking continued: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race gives you everything. You don’t have any better starts anywhere else in the world than Valletta. Then the whole ambiance, going around corners, seeing Stromboli letting smoke go, it is just a fantastic course. Kudos to the Royal Malta Yacht Club.”

Francois Bopp's Farr 52, Chocolate 3 an IRC Class 2 competitor in the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt ArrigoFrancois Bopp's Farr 52, Chocolate 3 an IRC Class 2 competitor in the Rolex Middle Sea Race's Class 1 Photo: Kurt Arrigo

One of the most anticipated duels was in IRC 3, a rematch between Lee Satariano’s Artie III (MLT) co-skippered by Christian Ripard and the RORC Commodore James Neville’s Ino XXX (GBR). Ino XXX beat Artie III by 10 minutes on IRC corrected time in 2021. The Artie team though has won the Rolex Middle Sea Race overall on two occasions in a previous boat. While both boats are both high performance HH42s they are not identical. The drive and will to win, though, is an even match.

“We have a strong team that has been working together for about five years and we have done a lot of 600 mile races,” commented Neville. “During this race we were constantly changing sails; always ready to keep the boat moving. The navigation was also absolutely critical.” Locked together for much of the race, as Ino and Artie approached Pantelleria the wind started to fade again. “As the wind died, we took a gybe west,” explained Neville. “It was only about a half a mile detour, but that converted to a sixty mile lead because it kept us in the breeze, while the wind just disappeared behind us.”

Thumbs up from the HH42 Artie skippered by Lee Satariano/Christian Ripard, a competitor in ORC: Class 2, IRC: Class 3 in the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt ArrigoThumbs up from the HH42 Artie skippered by Lee Satariano/Christian Ripard, a competitor in ORC: Class 2, IRC: Class 3 in the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt Arrigo

“The Rolex Middle Sea Race is always a fantastic race, but before this one we knew there would be parts of the race with very light winds,” commented Satariano. “Up until Favignana we were very happy with our performance. At Pantelleria, we missed the breeze by a matter of minutes. We were becalmed for over 20 hours. At that moment you feel devastated, but we did our best and we are really happy with the performance of the boat and the crew. You have to move on because we could not have done anything better to avoid it.”

For co-skipper Christian Ripard, who has done many Rolex Middle Sea Races: “It was a typical race. A lot of unexpected things happened. Very testing conditions, very testing psychologically.” “You ask any sailor, the highest skill you need is to sail with no wind,” Ripard continued. “It is very important to keep everyone pulling the same rope, and not just giving up. The whole crew has to give it their all. Luck may have been against us, I don’t know, but we enjoyed it!”

Ino XXX, sailed by James Neville in IRC Class 3 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt ArrigoIno XXX, sailed by James Neville in IRC Class 3 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt Arrigo

After Pantelleria, Ino XXX never looked likely to relinquish the lead and sailed away to win IRC 3 by 11 hours. The reward for Artie’s perseverance was to finish top Maltese boat winning the Transport Malta Trophy, the Arthur Podesta Trophy and the Teddy Borg Trophy.

In IRC 4, for a long time the First 45 Elusive 2 entered by the Podesta siblings from Malta looked likely to repeat their successes of recent years. By Stromboli Elusive held a tenuous lead of 17 minutes over Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator (FRA), but was sailing very well. However, at Favignana, Albator had reversed the deficit turning it into a 3 hour advantage. At Pantelleria, the lead was six hours on IRC time correction. Rounding Lampedusa, the southernmost mark of the course, 18 hours ahead on the water the higher rating Albator was 13 hours in the lead. The French crew finished the race on Friday morning just before 1000 CEST. At 1800 CEST, Elusive was closing in on the finish having made up substantial ground, but not enough.

Philippe Frantz's NMD 43, Albator a competitor in IRC Class 4 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt ArrigoPhilippe Frantz's NMD 43, Albator winner in IRC Class 4 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Photo: Kurt Arrigo

“We have done this race four times,” advises Frantz. ”The image we have in mind is mostly heavy weather. Quite calm to Messina and then windy all the rest. We had no idea this race can be so quiet, with light winds all around Sicily. The biggest discovery was that this race could take six days, when our previous average was three to four days.”

“I’m proud of my crew,” said the quietly spoken Frantz. “They were always on deck doing everything to sail the boat as fast as we could. There were no points where we could have done anything better. It is a good crew for efficiency and teamwork. I’m really proud of that.” “For us, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a high point of the season. You can get light winds, then strong winds which makes it so interesting. Keep on running this event, it is a beautiful race. The most beautiful I know.”

With only one boat managing to complete the course, so far, in IRC 5 and only one boat still racing Gianrocco Catalano’s First 40 Tevere Remo Mon Ile (ITA) is the runaway winner. Their victory is a victory over circumstance as much as the opposition. “This is our third race. It was very hard, very different to the previous ones,” remarked Catalano. “Last year was difficult because there was so much wind. This year was difficult because there was no wind.” Tevere was first to reach every turning mark of the course, the first to wiggle free of the windless zones. “The passages around the islands were very hard,” continued Catalano. “We had a very good crew, able to read the water and find the breeze to keep us moving. The boat has been prepared specially for offshore races. We have had good results here previously. It was our ambition to do well, and we have fought hard. Having bigger boats around us kept the concentration high and motivated us to continue.”

“The preparation for a race like this is hard. You have to work a lot just to bring the boat here, but when you finish you have a lot of powerful emotions. During the previous edition, which was very tough, I had moments when I thought I don’t want to do this anymore,” admitted Catalano. “But as soon as I finish, I started thinking about the next edition. It is like I fill my storage of good feelings which help me live better at home and work for the rest of the time.”

No one has yet finished in IRC 6 – out of respect to those still racing, the full story can wait until another day. In the meantime, Massimo Junis’ JPK1080 Colombre (ITA) continues to lead on the water and under IRC time correction. The only competitor to have rounded Lampedusa, Colombre is 80nm from the finish, and 25nm ahead of Ludovic Gerard’s JPK 1080 Solenn for Pure Ocean (FRA) racing double handed and Sebastian Ripard’s J/99 Calypso (MLT).

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At the Pantelleria transit in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator (FRA) held a seven-hour advantage over, currently, second-placed Esentia (POL), the Grand Soleil 44 entered by Marcin Sutkowski.

Conor Doyle’s Xp50 Freya (IRL) is in third on the water (and fourth in IRC four division) abeam of Pantelleria, while the Podesta’s Farr 45 Elusive 2, for so long leading the class on time correction, has just reached the isolated island.

Light winds have seen 50 of the 118 competing yachts in this year’s 606-mile offshore retire.

The situation in this class will become clearer once both are through the transit. IRC 4 yachts stretch back to San Vito Lo Capo, where Maks Vrecko’s Elan 450 Karpo (SLO) is last boat on the water in class.

With 131 miles left to sail, the Kinsale yacht – the sole Irish entry in the race – is expected to finish on Friday teatime after a six-day race

Overall the race has been won by France's Eric de Turckheim's French NMYD 54, Teasing Machine, with an Irish highlight of this edition being Tom McWilliam's line honours win as part of Chris Sherlock's Leopard 3 crew.

Live tracker below

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On Wednesday, 26 October, the winner of the 43rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race was announced as Eric de Turckheim's French NMYD 54 Teasing Machine.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has confirmed that none of the remaining yachts still racing is able to better Teasing Machine’s corrected time under IRC.

“It is a huge emotion winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race,” said de Turckheim. “It is our first 600 (nm) race overall, after making several podiums around the world. On top of that, it is certainly our favourite 600nm race because of the complexity of the course, the complexity of the winds.”

“I have a passion for the 600nm races,” he continued. “It’s like running a marathon. It’s a mixture of being competitive 24 hours after 24 hours, and having the resistance and the teamwork. It was our seventh race and experience counts a lot.”

Teasing Machine Crew: Eric de Turckheim, Laurent Pages, Christian Ponthieu, Quentin Le Nabour, Tony Brochet, Gabriele Olivo, Betrand Castelnerac, Paco Lepoutre, Aleandre Degrival, Jerome Teillet, Quentin Bouchacourt

The Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Commodore, Eric de Turckheim, is a force to be reckoned with in any offshore race. Teasing Machine’s record at the Rolex Middle Sea Race was already exceptional before this overall win. A class winner and third overall in 2017, on the NMYD 54’s debut, was followed up with second in class in 2019, third in class in 2020, and second in class in 2021.

Teasing Machine is the fourth French yacht to have won the Rolex Middle Sea Race, following in the footsteps of Antares (1981), Spirit of Ad Hoc (2008) and Courrier Recommandé (2018).

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Farr 100 Leopard 3 (NED), with Joost Schultz at the helm, crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race on Tuesday, 25 October to take Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 70 hours 34 minutes 29 seconds.

As Afloat reported earlier, In blazing sunshine, the massive spinnaker bearing the unmistakable logo of the famous maxi was lowered at the Fairway Buoy. The international crew hit the rail for the short beat to finish. This is the third time Leopard 3, skippered by Chris Sherlock, has participated in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the second time it has been the first monohull home, winning the RLR Trophy.

The crew on this occasion comprised Chris Sherlock, Joost Schultz, Laura de Vere, Matt Lester, Curtis Blewett, Ireland's Tom McWilliam, Will Best, Stefano Nava, Gian Ahluwalia, Guy Filabozzi, Michael Pammenter, Samuel Wright, Murray Goodsell, Richard Bouzaid, Tim Marsh, Dennis Frederikson, Giles de Jager, Ian Budgen, Steve Booth, Guillermo Altadill, Ronald Bunders, Mitch Booth, and Gerry Mitchell.

“It is emotional to take Line Honours after three days and nights of racing,” commented Joost Schultz taking part in his first Rolex Middle Sea Race. “There have been lots of ups and downs and surprises, and now I understand why the Leopard crew have been very careful about predicting anything. This race has a lot of twists and turns around every corner, including getting caught in fishing nets and ripping sails.”
 
“On the first night it was really light winds, we could not see the dolphins around the boat, but we could hear them breathing through their blowholes. We were lucky enough to go around Stromboli in the daytime and we could see the lava rolling down the mountain. The sea was so blue and reflecting in Leopard’s hull. Many times, during the race, we felt like we were at one with nature.”
 
Leopard 3 made a superb start in Grand Harbour and led the monohull fleet all the way to Capo Passero and through the Messina Strait, where it experienced strong winds over 20 knots. However, on the leg to Stromboli, a broken sail and an entanglement with a fishing net cost Leopard 3 the lead, as Andrea Recordati's Wally 93 Bullitt (ITA) raced past. It took Leopard 3 until just after Palermo to catch up with Bullitt, when San Vito lo Capo then entered the game with its high cliffs proving a barrier to the wind from the south. Bullitt came to a standstill, Leopard stayed out a little more and edged clear first, breaking into the solid southerly breeze to regain the lead. Leopard 3 had caught its prey and kept a vice-like grip to the finish. Bullitt was the second monohull to finish the race just under an hour behind Leopard 3 on elapsed time.
 
“Even this year with light winds it is physically and mentally tiring, but for me to do this race with a very good professional crew  is a real honour,” explained Schultz. “I have a technical background, so I am very interested in all of the technical aspects of sailing. What I also learnt is how the crew set up the boat, how to look at the sails. We were not always leading the race and it is never over until you cross the finish line.”
 
From a tactical and navigational perspective, the race played out as expected by Will Best and Mitch Booth, who confirmed that the forecasts at the start of the race came to pass. There were localised moments of strong conditions, such as during the Messina Strait and at the Egadi Islands but, overall, it was a light wind race. The conditions from Lampedusa to the finish were better than expected and made life a little easier on the run to the finish. Leopard 3 was able to maintain a loose cover on Bullitt offering no passing opportunities and not over stretching crew or equipment. 

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With 215 nautical miles still to sail to the finish of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the sole Irish boat in the race, Conor Doyle's XP50 Freya stays in fourth position in the 23-boat IRC Four division on Wednesday morning.

The Kinsale Yacht Club is 30th on IRC overall and the leader in the 12-boat ORC3 division. Light winds are predominating over the 660-mile Mediterranean course.

As of last night, the IRC Four leaders were heading for Pantelleria. The NMD 43 Albator (FRA) has made significant gains over the class on the leg from Stromboli to Favignana. Albator has since sped away south towards Pantelleria. Second in class, 26nm behind is Elusive 2 (MLT). Christoph Podesta reported in from Favignana: “The wind is very light, and it is very difficult to round Favignana because of a strong adverse current. The forecast tonight is not looking good, but we are making the most of the wind that we have.” Ranked third is the Grand Soleil 44 Essentia (POL). Freya has also rounded Favignana and is heading south for Pantelleria.

On board Freya – the sole Irish boat in the race – is a high-powered crew that includes Kelvin Harrap, Rory Harrap, Will Byrne, Barry Hurley, Nick Jones, Malcolm McCormick, Cian Guilfoyle, James Lyons, Conor Doyle and Nin O'Leary.

The race started last Saturday, with Freya estimated to finish in Valetta Harbour, Malta, this Friday morning.

Live tracker below

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This morning, Tuesday 25 October, the Farr-designed 30.48 metre/100-foot maxi, Leopard 3 (NED), skippered by Chris Sherlock, crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 10:54:29 CEST to take Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 70 hours 34 minutes 8 seconds.

This is the third time Leopard 3 has participated in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the second time it has been first monohull home, winning the RLR Trophy. The previous occasion was in 2009. Leopard’s elapsed time is some 30 hours outside the monohull race record of 40 hours 17 minutes 50 seconds established in 2021 by Comanche.

The Leopard 3 Middle Sea Race Monohull Line Honours Winning Crew:

Chris Sherlock, Matt Lester, Curtis Blewett, Tom McWilliam, Will Best, Stefano Nava, Gian Ahluwalia, Guy Filabozzi, Michael Pammenter, Laura de Vere, Samuel Wright, Murray Goodsell, Richard Bouzaid, Joost Schultz, Tim Marsh, Dennis Frederikson, Giles de Jager, Ian Budgen, Steve Booth, Guillermo Altadill, Ronald Bunders, Mitch Booth, Gerald Mitchell.

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Conor Doyle’s Irish Xp 50 Freya, the only Irish boat in Malta's Middle Sea Race, is lying fourth on Tuesday morning in IRC Four division.

The leading boats came to a grinding halt at Stromboli in the early hours of Monday.

Philippe Frantz’s French NMD 43 Albator was the first to get going and has pulled out a lead on the water of 16nm over Kinsale's Freya and the Podesta family’s Maltese First 45 Elusive 2.

Elusive 2 had been leading the class since the start on Saturday, but Albator is now estimated to be ahead as the class make their way to Favignana.

The 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race came alive on Monday, for some at least. It really is a race of two halves, as those crews to the west stretch their legs metaphorically in a stiff southerly, and those still to the east stretch their actual legs lying on deck waiting for the wind. The fleet is now spread between the Messina Strait and midway between Lampedusa and the finish

Live tracker below

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Riccardo Pavoncelli's MOD70 Mana (ITA) crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 00:32:38 CEST on Tuesday, 25 October, to take Multihull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 61 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds.

The Mana crew were Riccardo Pavoncelli, Alexia Barrier, Paul Larsen, Jeff Mearing, Tom Dawson, Jonny Malbon, Kai Weeks, and Evan Walker.

In a close finish, Mana crossed the line less than one minute ahead of Zoulou (FRA), skippered by Erik Maris, after two and a half days of racing and 606 nautical miles. Giovanni Soldini's Maserati Multi 70 (ITA) finished third, ten minutes after Zoulou.

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