by Louay Habib
In the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Michele Galli's modified TP52, B2 crossed the finish line early this afternoon completing the race in just over three days. For the moment, the Italian yacht has the fastest corrected time of all the yachts that have finished the race. However, with the bulk of the fleet still racing, an overall win for B2 is far from certain. Although the conditions were light, it was a tough race for B2, as Spanish navigator, Nacho Postigo explained.
David Anastasi’s Oiltanking Juno progressing up to the top of Sicily
'There were several key moments in the race that we managed well and that is why our overall performance has been good. However on the second night we had a major problem. All of our electronic instruments shut down completely. So we have been sailing with a smart phone for a compass, we have raced B2 like a dinghy and Francesco (de Angelis) has had to call the strategy almost completely blind, I don't think he has had more than two hours sleep, he must be exhausted.'
B2 will have to wait until several yachts finish the race to see if they can remain in pole position for the overall win.
In IRC One, Andres Soriano's Mills 72, Alegre leads the class, however Maltese J/122, Otra Vez´, skippered by Edward and Aaron Gatt Floridia can still take both class title and the overall win for the race. Otra Vez must finish by 0900 tomorrow morning, which is unlikely but still possible.
Although most of the yachts in IRC Two are still racing, none of them will be able to better B2's corrected time. Luca Simone's Baltic Mini Maxi, Nikka Sixty Five, has finished the race and is currently second in class. Johann Killinger's German Swan 60 Emma, Germana Tognella's Italian Cookson 50, Cantankerous and Hans Riegel's German Marten 49, Speedy are just a few miles from the finish.
David Anastasi's Maltese J/133, Oiltanking Juno was leading IRC Three at 1500. Oiltanking Juno was also the leading Maltese entry with 168 miles to go. Timmy Camilleri's XP44, XP-Act was just four miles behind with 172 miles to go. Edward and Aaron Gatt Floridia's J/122, Otra Vez was the third Maltese entry, ten miles behind the leading Maltese boat.
Arthur Podesta's First 45, Elusive II and Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard's J/122, Artie-RTFX are both 200 miles from the finish, having a close battle. Jamie Sammut's Unica, Jonas Diamantino amd Ramon Sant Hill's Comanche Raider 2 Gasanmamo and Charles Borg Barthet's August Rush Beta Paints have formed a trio of Maltese yachts enjoying a tight race, with all three yachts in sight of each other.
At Favignana in IRC Four, Renzo Grottesi’s X40, Pita Maha was leading the class. Peppe Fornich's Grand Soleil 37, Sagola Biotrading was second with Rod Stuart's Elan 410, Eos in third.
In IRC Double Handed, Anthony Camilleri's Vision 50, Bavaria has retired from the race at Trapani. Marco Rodolfi's Class 40, TWT Ucomm still leads the class but on corrected time, Massimo Juris' First 40.7, Blucolombre was only one hour behind. Third in class was Maltese skipper, Georges Bonello Dupuis' First 47.7, Escape by Tommy Hilfiger.
By 1500 on Day Four of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the vast majority of the yachts racing have now passed Favignana and many have made good progress down the west coast of Sicily. The battle for class honours and the first Maltese entry to cross the line is very much alive. Jamie Sammut, skipper of the all-Maltese crew racing Unica, called the race office this afternoon at Pantelleria. 'We are back moving again after a frustrating day yesterday,' commented Jamie, 'Tonight we have our usual dinner of lasagne, in fact every crew member has entered the Unica Lasagne competition. At the moment we have a dead heat between Matthew Fiorini Lowell and Anthony Demajo. However, it looks like we will have three more lasagne suppers before we finish this race and I am sure that we will have some more delicious helpings.'
Rolex Middle Sea Race