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Irish Sailors Stay Second in Middle Sea Race after Maltese Thunderstorm

25th October 2012
Irish Sailors Stay Second in Middle Sea Race after Maltese Thunderstorm

#middlesearace – Dun Laoghaire yacht Dinah sailed by Barry Hurley and Andrew Boyle are maintaining second overall in the double-handed class inspite of a massive thunderstorm and torrential rain engulfing Malta overnight in the latest update from the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

IRL3508, a modified JOD 35-foot yacht is 232 miles from the finish line and expected to be the 66th boat to cross the line in the 83 boat fleet. The experienced offshore pairing were making just over 4 knots in the still tricky conditions as the race enters its closing stages.

Late last night before the thunderstorm struck and engulfed Malta in heavy rain Hurley told Afloat.ie 'We're doing ok in our class although our main competition is now in different weather systems, so we need to work extra hard to keep in contention. Fingers crossed we have what it takes! Hurley told Afloat.ie

Meanwhile, Nick Lazos and Periklis Livas' Farr 52, Optimum 3 Aspida crossed the finish line to lead Class Two and the Rolex Middle Sea Race overall. However, the Greek team's tenure on this extra-ordinary race was very short lived. At 04:18 15 Eddie De Villiers, Welbourne 46, Hi Fidelity crossed the finish line to take the overall lead in the race.

In driving rain with thunderbolts lighting up the medieval bastions, the South African crew, soaked to the skin, looked astonished to find out that they are now the hot favourites to win the overall prize for the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

To put the amazing performance into perspective, Hi Fidelity's corrected time was nearly seven hours quicker than Niklas Zennstrom's JV72 Ran but the team had no idea until they finished.

"We didn't have a clue how well we were doing until we finished, it is unbelievable," exclaimed De Villiers. "The crew have been absolutely fantastic, I can not give them enough praise. This has been one hell of a race, we have had just about everything thrown at us. Coming through the Comino Strait there was a terrific amount of thunder and lightning it was all around us and the wind touched 37 knots. To come through the finish and find out that we have such a great result is truly amazing!"

Two yachts pose the biggest threat to HI Fidelity's overall lead Josef Schultheis' & Paolo Semeraro's Xp44, XP-ACT and the reigning Rolex Middle Sea Race champion, Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard's J/122, Artie RTF. Both yachts are expected to finish this afternoon.

Published in Offshore
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