Leopard have been closing the gap, on their virtual adversary during the night and it is still very much a possibility that they will succeed in setting a new record for this race Behind them a battle rages for the overall winner on handicap with last year’s line honours success, Andres Soriano’s Alegre trying to hold off the stellar crew on Torben Grael’s Luna Rossa in a titanic struggle. At Pantelleria Alegre were just seven minutes ahead of Luna Rossa, on corrected time. In Class Two, Swan 82R Nikata had a fantastic leg along the top of Sicily and at 0500 this morning, the magnificent yacht was a long way ahead of their class, on the water. Nikata navigator, Mike Broughton contacted the race office to reveal the secret to their success. “We are now charging along on a shy reach with the wind gusting up to 39 knots. Spirits are high, helped by top cuisine from Helen our South African chef.”
The Nikata army obviously marches on its stomach! In Class Three, David Franks’ Strait Dealer is having a fantastic race his crew include the highly experienced Nigel King and they are going extremely well overall and in pole position for the class. However Rosario Vannucchi’s Fever with Andy Beadsworth and Wouter Verbraak in the afterguard pose the biggest threat. In Class Four, Antonino Fava’s Velado was the handicap leader passing Stromboli, the Sicilian yacht is competing for the first tome in the Rolex Middle Sea Race but they have a proven record, winning the Syracuse-Malta offshore race this year. One of the smallest boats in the race, RICOMINCIO DA 3 were second in class at Stromboli. David Latham’s Seawolf of Southampton are third but may well suffer when they bare away at Favignana, having shredded two of their spinnakers. Another boat to watch is Milan based Storm owned by Massimo Colosimo. They have ventured inshore, presumably to gain an advantage of a sea breeze which may develop close to the North Sicilian coast.