Ian Moore, originally of Carrickfergus, and Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” in October 2016 after navigating the Italian Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino to overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race last year, is not defending his Middle Sea title this time round writes W M Nixon. When the 2017 edition gets under way from Malta in Grand Harbour, Valetta on Saturday, Moore will be in the Far Eastern waters in Vietnam, for this morning he started in the biennial 690-mile Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
For this one, he’s again navigating Mascalzone Latino, but with a new owner. The Middle Sea Race winning owner was listed as Vincenzo Onorato, but in the current race the boat sails under the colours of Matteo Savelli.
The fleet is modest – just 13 competitors after more than 40 took part in the recent regatta series in Hong Kong - and Mascalzone is racing in a group of ten, as the three lowest-rated boats were sent on their way yesterday. However, there are some notable contenders, and doing the race is part of the buildup in the bigger plan, as it counts as qualifier for the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race 2017 on December 26th.
In that, there’ll be several Cookson 50s to sharpen up Mascalzone Latino’s performance to an even higher level. When we remember that the preliminary outlines of the Cookson 50 concept were first aired by Mike Cookson to Farr Yacht Design something like 14 years ago, and that one of them – Ron O’Hanley’s Privateer – was a close second in last year’s Fastnet while Ger O’Rourke’s sister-ship Chieftain was overall winner in 2007, then clearly “Flash in the Pan” simply wouldn’t do as the name for a Cookson 50.
Race tracker here