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Stromboli Front And Center

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  • Stromboli Front And Center

    DAY 3 AM UPDATE | Earth, Wind and Fire

    At 1000 CEST on the third day of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, well over half of the fleet had rounded the active volcano Stromboli, which marks the most north-easterly corner of the 606-mile race course. Fairer winds returned to the Rolex Middle Sea Race overnight with breeze filling in from the west. It was not all good, with many crews reporting thunderstorms, reduced visibility and volatile local effects.

    George David's, Rambler, accelerated in the fresher conditions making short work of the leg from Stromboli to Favignana, turning the corner just before 0900 CEST this morning. In the previously lighter conditions, Dieter Schön's German Maxi72, Momo, had been a constant threat to David’s pursuit of a fourth successive Line Honours title. Rambler has now extended the lead to over 30-miles, and barring a serious problem looks to be secure. With 250 miles to go, their eventual finish time depends upon how conditions develop. The American Maxi is well outside the 2007 record pace and, with the stronger winds unlikely to arrive off north-west Sicily until this evening, she is expected to arrive some time tomorrow.

    During the night, the two leading multihulls in the race split strategies off Sicily's north coast Giovanni's Maserati stayed south, whilst Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay went north. At 0500 CEST, Maserati led by 90 minutes, a similar delta to Stromboli. Both trimarans are now west of Sicily heading south and experiencing downwind conditions. Maserati have 210nm to go to the finish, with PowerPlay 40nm behind. Both are expected to arrive back in Malta in the early hours of tomorrow morning (23 October). Maserati holds the lead, despite reporting some technical problems earlier in the race.

    At 1000 CEST, 76 yachts racing under IRC had passed Stromboli. In the Overall Standings, Giuseppe Greco's Comet 50 Verve-Camer had the lead, at that point, by a mere 40 seconds after IRC time correction ahead of Vittorio Biscarini's Italian Mylius 15e25 Ars Una. The Riccardo Genghini skippered Austrian Swan 651, Lunz Am Meer, was a further 23 minutes behind.

    Class Analysis
    IRC One - Momo led at Stromboli, just 22 minutes ahead on corrected time of the German Botin 65, Caro, skippered by Maximilian Klink. Gabriel de Llano's Spanish Swan 80 Plis Play was in third, 1hr and 48 mins behind the leader.

    IRC Two - Giuseppe Greco's Verve-Cramer led by 31 minutes at Stromboli with five teams within striking distance: Periklis Livas & Nikos Lazos' Greek Farr 52, Optimum 3, Eric de Turckheim's NM54, Teasing Machine, Vincenzo Addessi's Fra Diavolo, and Stefan Jentzsch's Black Pearl.

    IRC Three –a beak away of three yachts has formed at the front of the fleet. Ars Una led by 59 minutes at Stromboli from Frederic Puzin's Corum Daguet 2, with Dominique Tian’s Tonnerre de Glen 70 minutes behind the leader.

    IRC Four – Three Swans glided through Messina to extend a significant lead in the 19-strong fleet. Swan 651 Lunz Am Meer led at Stromboli, 38 minutes ahead on corrected time from Renzo Grottesi's Swan 42 Be Wild. Milan Hajek's Swan 42 Daring Sister was 80 minutes behind the leader.

    IRC Five – 18 of the 34-strong fleet rounded Stromboli at dawn this morning, celebrating breakfast at the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” was Géry Trentesaux's French JPK 1180 Courrier Recommandé, leading the class by 23 minutes on corrected time from Ed Fishwick's Sun Fast 3600 Redshift Reloaded, skippered by Nick Cherry. Nicolas Ibañez Scott's Chilean J/122 Anita was in third.

    IRC Six – A terrific battle is developing with three yachts passing Stromboli with seconds of each other this morning; Timofey Zhbankov's Russian JPK 10.80, Rossko, was first to round the iconic volcano, followed by Gerard Ludovic's French JPK 10.80, Solenn, 32 seconds later. Piercarlo Antonelli's Sun Fast 3600 Bora Fast was just 92 seconds behind the leader. Only four minutes separated the trio after IRC time correction.

    IRC Double-Handed – Three yachts racing Double-Handed rounded Stromboli this morning. Sergey Rytov's Russian JPK 11.80 Bogatyr led by over an hour from Sean Arrigo's Maltese J/122, Otra Vez. Jamie Sammut's Solaris 42, Unica, also from Malta, was third.

    To date, four yachts have officially retired. All crew are believed to be safe and well:

    Robert Szustkowski’s HH66, R-Six
    Marton Jozsa’s RP60, Wild Joe
    Adrien Keller’s Custom Catamaran, Allegra
    Maxime de Mareuil’s XP44, OM-BCTG

    A full update from the racecourse is scheduled for 1700 CEST, in the meantime follow the progress of the fleet on the race tracker here:
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    NEWSFLASH – 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race: Giovanni Soldini’s Italian Multi70 Maserati takes Multihull Line Honours.

    Maserati crossed the finish line of the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Multihull Line Honours at 22:54:58 CEST on Monday 22nd October in an elapsed time of 2 days, 11 hours 54 minutes 58 seconds.
    Maserati Crew: Giovanni Soldini, Guido Broggi, Carlos Hernandez Robayna, Oliver Herrera Perez, Matteo Soldini, Nico Maori Malingri di Bagnolo, Vittorio Bissaro, Francois Robert.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Also see:
      Also note the missing stb rudder on the picture of Maserati above!


      • #4
        Pressure Increases In Rolex Middle Sea Race

        DAY 4 AM UPDATE


        In the early hours of the fourth day of the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race, George David's American Maxi Rambler took an historic fourth straight Monohull Line Honours and, in doing so, set the bar to beat for the overall win under IRC. At 0800 CEST, 46 teams had passed Favignana, with remainder of the 130 fleet still racing expected to pass the northwest point of Sicily later today. The strong north-westerly wind arrived during the night for the boats already to the west of Sicily, providing a sleigh-ride south double digit boat speed.

        Rambler arrived at 0207 CEST and is safely tied up in Grand Harbour. Some three hours earlier, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 crossed the line at 2254 CEST to take Multihull Line Honours. Both were outside their category’s respective race record times.

        OCTOBER 23, 2018
        The Bowling Alley
        As predicted, the 50th anniversary Rolex Middle Sea Race exploded into life overnight. The tension created by the strong northerly squeezing through the Strait of Sicily has grown steadily since sunset on Monday. First, the battle for line honours in the Multihull and Monohull fleets was played out. Both questions were resolved either side of midnight, with the pre-race favourites holding off spirited challenges from their closest rivals. Then, attention turned to the main prize: the overall win under IRC time correction and the destiny of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy. With just 100 yachts still at sea, the final result is by no means clear-cut, but the true pretenders to the throne are beginning to stake their claim.

        George David’s Line Honours victory with Rambler may not have set a new race record, but David and his well-honed crew have entered the history books. The first yacht to claim four successive first to finish titles, Rambler has consigned the endeavours of Esimit Europa (2010-12 & 14) and Benbow (1975-77) to a lower rung on the list of outstanding achievements in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. For David, this was a fifth such success, when combined with his all-conquering debut in 2007 with a previous iteration in the Rambler maxi dynasty.

        “This was a challenging race,” said David. “There were a couple of notable points including a big squall north-west of Trapani, about 40 knots for us, and a bunch of park ups when we were ahead of everybody. The summary for the race is zero knots to 40 knots and winds from east, west and north, but no south! South was the one direction we didn’t see on the compass rose this time.” David confirmed that the German Maxi 72, Momo, had kept them on their toes throughout: “We always had the boat speed to get ahead of Momo and stay ahead, but it was amazing to see the elastic band we had between us. At one point, they were two miles ahead and then we were 12 miles in front, and before they were two, we were five or six miles ahead; then we were 30 miles ahead again, then 12 and, finally, 25 miles.” For David, there was no doubt they would return. His closing remark will be music to many ears: “We’ll be back again next year.”

        Maserati Multi70 had a similar experience with PowerPlay. It took most of the leg to Messina for the Italian trimaran to impose herself. Even then, the lead never felt certain as the evolving conditions and frequent corners of the course gave PowerPlay opportunities to pressure Giovanni Soldini’s crew. The Italians did not make life easy for themselves, suffering two significant equipment issues. First, a problem with the hydraulics needed resolving and then, more seriously, damage to the starboard rudder fitting looked set to derail their efforts.

        “Last time (in 2016), we hit something on the delivery and could not foil,” recounted Soldini. “This time it was an engineering problem with the new rudder system. It is very frustrating! The boat was 100% in flying mode at the start. Then we had the big problem with the starboard rudder. We were lucky to have the light air. In the stronger wind, we had to back off because when you go fast you have less control.”

        Soldini explained that the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a great test bed for his innovative craft. The constant changes in conditions due to the shape and location of the course mean plenty of opportunities to learn how best to adjust trim and rake, and, to perfect manoeuvres. It was the willingness to keep trying different set-ups that enabled Maserati to stay ahead, particularly on the stretch from Lampedusa to the Comino Channel.

        “We had to gybe on the way down to Lampedusa and then sail on the starboard hull all the way to Malta,” advised Soldini. “We were very scared that PowerPlay would be able to overtake us. We kept trying and found that by trimming the rake a little bit we could flatten the boat and be very fast, with just the central rudder in the water. We were also lucky that we were in the beginning of the strong winds and the sea-state was flat.” Soldini is another who enjoys the Rolex Middle Sea Race course despite the stresses of racing: “Sailing is my passion, so I always enjoy it even if I’m not happy to have a problem. It is a very nice race and I would love to come back.”

        In the contest for the overall win, the day resembled a bowling alley as boat after boat topping the standing was skittled. Rambler, Momo, Freccia Rossa, Arobas2, Endlessgame: all at the top of the podium on arrival, all unseated by a later finisher. French yacht Arobas2 took out the Russian entry Freccia Rossa by less than two minutes. The Greek entry Optimum 3 then squeaked in by just under five minutes. Pericles Livas and Nikos Lazos, Optimum 3’s owners – winners in 2004 - could then only watch as Tonnerre de Glen sailed the final few miles, from Comino to the finish off Fort Manoel in Marsamxett Harbour, against the stopwatch to snatch the lead by just under 23 minutes. With so many boats still at sea, it is now for the French yacht to wait to see if their hold on the trophy is tenable or tenuous.

        Elsewhere, there remain individual battles within the main contest. The first Maltese yacht to cross the finish line always receives a hero’s welcome at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Since the start of the 39th edition of the 606nm race, an epic contest has raged between three Maltese boats. At 1700 CEST, Ramon Sant Hill & Jonas Diamantino’s Comanche Raider III controlled the bragging rights. Approaching Lampedusa, 114 miles from the finish, Comanche Raider was 20 miles ahead of the Podesta family on Elusive 2 and Josef Schultheis & Timmy Camilleri's XP-ACT, which in turn have been side by side for virtually the entire race. This envied honour is will remain undecided until the early hours of tomorrow (Wednesday).

        They may not be pursuing a major race trophy, but the J/109 Jarhead Young Sailors Malta will receive huge kudos should they finish the race. Rounding Favignana on the fourth day of the race, with 250 miles to go, the crew of teenagers backed by the Jarhead Young Sailors Foundation - a Maltese non-profit organisation with the principal purpose of educating youth in the sport of sailing - is making the most of their testing experience. “Happy to be round Favignana.... And heading for home!” blogged Jarhead. “It has been a tough 36 hours, but the young guys are doing well and in high spirits, now we are blast reaching south!”

        The remaining bulk of the fleet, still racing, has enjoyed exhilarating downwind conditions throughout the day, making good speed towards Pantelleria. Yves Grosjean’s J/133 Jivaro called in while passing the island, 185 miles from the finish: “We are tired, but our spirit is good. Every year we do this race it is never the same. We love coming back because it is a well-organised, magnificent race, with a beautiful course, which is always mysterious.”

        The team on board Tilting at Windmills, skippered by John Alexander, have flown all the way from Australia to compete in the race. Veterans of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the tough upwind beat to Favignana would have been familiar territory for many of the crew.

        With 230 miles to go, Roger Jacobsen exemplified the overwhelmingly positive mood prevailing across the course, despite the tough examination of the previous few days: “Good spirits onboard Tilting at Windmills! Flying main and spinnaker on our way to Pantelleria - boat and crew in tiptop shape.” 130 boats started the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race. At 1800 CEST, 14 had finished and 19 had retired, leaving 97 still at sea.

        The Rolex Middle Sea Race is supported by the Ministry for Tourism, the Malta Tourism Authority, Transport Malta, Yachting Malta, Marina di Valletta, Grand Hotel Excelsior Marina and the Grand Harbour Marina.

        IRC One – At Lampedusa, the German Botin 65 Caro, skippered by Maximilian Klink, was leading Dieter Schön's German Maxi 72 Momo by just nine minutes after time correction. Baltic 115 Nikata was third. Momo would finish the race this morning to take pole position in the overall standings under IRC. The magnificent Baltic 115 Nikata, the largest yacht ever to participate in the Rolex Middle Sea Race has also completed the course, and currently lies in second place in the big boat class, with Rambler in third. Caro is expected to finish the race early this afternoon, and should go into the overall lead after time correction.

        IRC Two – Sadly, two of the leading contenders suffered equipment damage last night and have officially retired from the race. Stefan Jentzsch's Black Pearl broke their rig while Eric de Turckheim's Teasing Machine lost their port runner and was close to a dismast. All crew are well and both yachts have taken shelter at Lampedusa before starting the long limp back to Malta

        “Everyone is fine, but the rig is broken; the top half is gone,” explained Black Pearl's navigator Marc Lagesse. “It is a shame because we were having a good race. To be honest, the conditions last night were mild by Rolex Middle Sea Race standards; 25 knots of wind with a decent sea running and very few squalls. We actually thought it was champagne sailing until fate intervened. We have spoken with Teasing Machine and we are putting a plan together to get back to Malta.”

        IRC Three
        Dominique Tian's Tonnerre de Glen is the only yacht in this class to have passed Lampedusa by 1000 CEST. At the previous mark of the course, Pantelleria, Tonnerre de Glen was leading her class after IRC time correction by some 93 minutes from Vittorio Biscarini's Ars Una, with Puzin Frederic's Corum Daguet 2 lying in third. Tonnerre was also holding third place in the overall ranking.

        IRC Four
        Ten yachts have so far rounded Favignana. Riccardo Genghini's Austrian Swan 65 Lunz am Meer is comfortably leading after IRC time correction, nearly two hours ahead of the Podesta family's Elusive 2 from Malta. Renzo Grottesi's Italian Swan 42 Be Wild holds third, 29 minutes ahead of Philippe Frantz's Albator. At Pantelleria, Lunz Am Meer had returned to the overall podium, lying in third.

        IRC Five
        Eight yachts are past Favignana. Géry Trentesaux's Courrier Recommandé was over two hours ahead after time correction. Redshift Reloaded, skippered by Nick Cherry, was second. Milan Tomek's Bohemia Praha Debra was just seven minutes behind in third.

        Zdenek Jakoubek's M37 Hebe 5 from the Czech Republic, one of the smallest boats in the race contacted the media team this morning. “Tough conditions last night with gusts of wind up to 30 knots and big waves. We are just about to round Favignana and put the kite up for the first time since Messina.” Meanwhile, Trentesaux’s French team has passed Pantelleria and holds the overall lead under IRC.

        IRC Six
        Two yachts are having an epic high speed match race at the front of the class. Timofey Zhbankov's Rossko was just two minutes ahead of Gerard Ludovic's Solenn after time correction at Favignana. Both yachts are JPK 10.80s and, having unfurled their downwind sails this morning, have pulled the trigger in the big conditions west of Sicily. Piercarlo Antonelli's Bora Fast was third and is over an hour behind the two leading boats. Last night Solenn reported in on their approach to Favignana: "An exhausting day with 20-25 knot headwind, deep swell, and fierce competition with Rossko, Bora Fast and Bogatyr – the double-handed crew! Unbelievable to tack with Bora Fast like a match race. After a full day sailing different options we are eager to turn to the left and hoist a kite!”

        IRC Double-Handed
        None of the teams racing Double-Handed have yet passed Favignana. Igor Rytov's Bogatyr appears to be leading the class, holding a 13-mile lead on the water from Björn Ambos's Mandalay with Marco Paolucci's Libertine is third.

        Currently, out the 130 starters, five boats have completed the course, 18 boats have retired and 107 are still racing.

        Retired yachts:
        R-Six, Wild Joe, Allegra, OM-BCTG, Otra Vez, Black Pearl, Teasing Machine, Frogfoot, Katzu, Amapoula, Plis Play, Kings Legend, Unica, Swiss Nautic III, Phoenix, Tango, Preferisco, Jangada

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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        • #5
          The Smaller Boats Get The Upper Hand


          The 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen further changes to the leaderboard as the steady stream of finishers continued overnight and during the fifth day of the anniversary event. With 47 boats having completed the course, the podium places in certain classes are beginning to take shape. The overall standings reflect the view that the building conditions have favoured the smaller boats. Currently, seven out of the top ten positions are filled with yachts from IRC Classes Four, Five and Six. French yacht, Courrier Recommandé holds pole, but with around half the fleet still at sea it is too early to be popping the champagne corks.

          Today has been a day of celebration for all those to have finished, but particularly in the local fleet. The first Maltese yachts arrived in the early hours and early morning of Wednesday and the Royal Malta Yacht Club has given the crews their traditional rousing reception. It was Ramon Sant Hill & Jonas Diamantino's Comanche Raider III that led the way for the island nation. Taking the lead from the race start the team worked hard to secure bragging rights. “I am proud of the crew and proud of what we did, and so very happy. We never gave up, we just kept going,” commented Sant Hill. “I will always remember the top speed of this race, 23.3 knots. It was a memorable moment. The sensation of going at that speed makes you very happy. We have to clean the boat, and after we will have a big celebration at the Royal Malta Yacht Club!” Comanche Raider III crossed the line at around 0303 CEST.

          Just under four hours later, the second Maltese boat passed in front of Fort Manoel, as Josef Schultheis & Timmy Camilleri’s XP-ACT, completed their race after an intense struggle with Elusive 2. “We have been doing this race for the last seven years; it is a really solid team and we are all good friends. That is where our energy comes from,” commented Schultheis. “We were with Elusive for most of the race, it was a great battle with a very good team. They are friends of ours, so it was a friendly battle, as it has been for years. The friendship on board and with Elusive is why we do this race, and pushes us to perform.”

          Elusive 2 was co-skippered by the Podesta siblings - Aaron, Cristoph and Maya, who caught the Rolex Middle Sea Race bug from their father Arthur, who competed in every race from 1968 until 2014. Less than half an hour separated Elusive from XP-ACT after nearly four days of racing, evidence of the intense struggle. “You need competition to push yourself, and we have pushed each other,” commented Maya Podesta, referring to the local rivalry. “It was a really good race; we swapped places a few times. All of the Elusive crew put their heart and soul into the boat, and that is the reason why we can do what we do. We all have our own things to offer, and together we make a great team.” In the overall standings under IRC time correction, Elusive is the best placed Maltese entry and currently holds third place in IRC Class 4.

          With the majority of yachts still racing from the smaller boat classes, it is possible to give a provisional overview of the podium positions in IRC Classes One, Two and Three. The big boat class, IRC One, looks to have been won by German Maxi 72 Momo, owned by Dieter Schön, the powerful Maxi 72 has had a memorable season: winning the Rolex Giraglia offshore race and successfully retaining its Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship title. Next in line, is another German entry, Caro. This will be the third consecutive year the Botin 65 has finished second in class. The 115ft Supermaxi Nikata, the largest yacht ever to take part and on her Rolex Middle Sea Race debut holds third.

          In IRC Two, Optimum 3, co-skippered by Periklis Livas and Nikolaos Lazos, put in a great performance. Overall winners in 2004, the Greek Farr 52 looks secure at the top of the class standing. Pietro Moschini's Italian Cookson 50, Endlessgame, looks to have lost out by a just under five minutes after three days and nights of racing. Gérard Logel's French TP52, Arobas², was third slipping in ahead of Freccia Rossa by less than two minutes, confirming the close nature of the competition among the frontrunners.

          Dominque Tian's French Ker 46, Tonnerre de Glen, held pole in the overall standings for a few hours. She eventually gave way to faster opposition, but her commendable performance means she should have won IRC Class Three by nearly three hours from Vittorio Biscarini's Mylius 50 Ars Una with Comanche Raider III in third.

          The Rolex Middle Sea Race is not all about trophies and prizes. There remains a place for the Corinthian sailors and adventurers who simply wish to challenge themselves over a racecourse that demands determination and perseverance to endure the wide range of conditions and rewards with spectacular vistas of volcanos, islands and islets, and, a variety of sealife.

          Built in 1976 by Palmer Johnson, the Frers 53, Encounter, is a classic of the IOR era of yachting. Now owned by two Dutchman, Bart Weduwer and Ed Spaargaren, Encounter was restored after a number of years of neglect and until this race had been used for cruising and inshore racing near her homeport of Cap d’Ail, France.

          Speaking to Weduwer and Spaargaren shortly after finishing their first ever 600nm offshore race, both were evidently proud of the achievement. First and foremost, to have got around safely, but also the performance of their crew and Encounter herself. “It was a beautiful, incredible race. A great experience,” they agreed. “It absolutely lived up to its reputation. The playing with the current through Messina, passing Stromboli at night, the beat to Favignana in 25 to 30 knots on the nose, the roller coaster ride to Lampedusa surfing at 20.4 knots and a tough reach back.”

          “It was tough at times. The boat is like a tank. She goes and goes and there is no stopping her. We had a little bit of damage, a stanchion is bent, one of the genoa tracks is lifting and it’s very, very wet inside.” they continued. “Our crew is great bunch of guys; we’re all well over 50, all great friends. This was a goal for us, and has helped us bring the boat and crew up to a high standard. We know what it takes to do a race like this and what we are capable of. You need a good boat and a good crew. Anything less is not enough,”

          Weduwer and Spaargaren’s final words were reserved for the Royal Malta Yacht Club, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its famous race: “They are such nice people and it is really to the credit of the club that they hold this event and continue to persevere with it each year. It is a lot of work to put it on and a great tribute to their efforts that they have a record fleet this year.”

          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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