sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Rolex Middle Sea Race - Sailors commit to conquer the challenge
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Sailors commit to conquer the challenge

'RÁN 2 (GBR), ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (SLO) and STIG (ITA),rounding the mark at the start of the 33rd Rolex Malta Sea Race.'    © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo

Rolex Middle Sea Race. Offshore racing is very competitive, mentally and physically testing, and, frequently unpredictable. Confronting long days at sea and challenging a three dimensional playing field, where the weather, the sea state and the occasional landmass influence tactics and strategy, requires detailed preparation and planning.

The entrants taking part in the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race – one of the world’s great offshore races and a relative of other established classics like the Rolex Fastnet and the Rolex Sydney Hobart – have made a significant investment and commitment in their pursuit of conquering the race. Sponsored by Rolex since 2002, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club. First run in 1968 the competition exudes virtues of drive, determination and dedication.

Start of the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race (Group 6 - Purple) from Saluting Battery -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

Success in sport is strongly linked to proper preparation. The crew of reigning Rolex Middle Sea Race champion, the Maltese yacht Artie, has focused firmly on the 2012 race immediately since winning the trophy last year. 'You don’t want to leave any stone unturned,' explained co-skipper Christian Ripard, before setting off on the 606-nm course that begins and ends on the island of Malta. 'We’ve been working on the boat literally since the finishing the event last year and all through the winter. We’re always trying to improve.' Artie’s crew has invested countless hours in their desire to become the first boat to retain the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy since 1980.

Preparation can focus on the finest of details. 'On a long race and with competition so intense you can’t afford to lose even ten seconds an hour,' explained the event’s legendary competitor Arthur Podesta, who has competed in all 33 editions of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. 'For example, I keep updating our sails - each year an old one is replaced by a newer version.'

While local participants are able to concentrate on fine-tuning their boats, the logistics involved in moving foreign boats, plus associated equipment and crew, poses and additional problems and requires careful planning, particularly to an island. The vast majority of entrants have arrived from elsewhere in the Mediterranean, some in a highly competitive manner.

The pan-European crew of Slovenian registered yacht Esimit Europa 2, line honours winner at the past two Rolex Middle Sea Races, made maximum use of the passage to Malta. 'One of the training opportunities we took advantage of was racing the 700-nm stretch from Trieste to Malta in bringing the boat and full crew here. This enabled us to fine tune everything such as the positions and the watch system so we can be ready for the offshore race,' explained Spanish navigator Juan Vila, who has competed in both the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (SLO) - 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

Tim Powell oversees the logistical operations for Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán 2, and sailed the yacht from Palma, Spain following an active season on the Mediterranean inshore racing circuit. 'It’s a travelling roadshow with these boats,' explained Powell. 'The easiest part is the boat getting here but then we have two 40-ft containers which need to be transported and with Malta being an island it’s a bit harder.' Once boat and containers were united, Rán’s 16-strong professional crew spent the week before the race organizing and preparing the boat’s sails and racing gear.

For a fully professional team an offshore race is an extension of an already intense season of competition. Physical preparation is a vital component. 'It is in everybody’s own interest to stay fit and the crew all have their own training programmes,' explained Powell. 'Everybody knows the job they need to do and the fitness level that they need to reach.' For most this means punishing hours in the gym, and keeping a careful eye on their diet.

Food remains equally important during the race, and for the professional race boats there are additional components to consider beyond nutritional value – weight and ease of preparation: 'Food on the boat is mainly freeze dried and light to carry. We add hot water, leave it for half an hour and it is ready to eat.' Protein and energy bars are commonly used to provide a vital boost between main meals.

For the Corinthian crews, nutrition is an equally significant focus. Podesta, skipper of Maltese yacht Elusive, appreciates the importance of hydration and replenishment. Elusive races both with dry food and more substantial pre-cooked meals. 'In the ten days before the race we prepare a variety of meals and then the day before we put everything in the deep freeze of the boat in the order of what we’d like to eat first,' he explained. 'I’m very fussy about eating good food on the race. If you don’t eat well, morale goes down!'

Sleep is another essential element. Most crews execute a watch system that dictates who rests when, enabling members of the team to catch a few hours’ sleep when possible. Not all crews enjoy this luxury to the same extent. Spare a thought for the ambitious French duo of Remy Gerin and Bernard Jeanne sailing Faiaoahe double-handed. Having to plan and execute all manoeuvres with just the two of them means sleep will be at a premium. 'The preparation is in the head of the crew,' explained Gerin. 'It’s important to get lots of rest before and anticipate changes in conditions as soon as possible.'

When light airs are forecast ensuring a boat is as light as possible is frequently part of the final preparation. 'We have our own water maker onboard so we don’t have to carry 300 kilos [of water] around,' revealed Powell. 'We analyse sails, spares, food. Whatever we can do to save a few kilos is going to benefit us in the long run.' Kuka Light of Switzerland was designed to be as a light, small, and fast as possible. Even this is not enough for skipper Mitch Booth: 'We have minimized everything that we can possibly take and reduced the crew from seven to six. We couldn’t have done much more.'

COMANCHE RAIDER II GASANMAMO (MLT) exits the Strait of Messina in breeze. -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

Offshore racing is renowned for the navigational challenges it poses. The Rolex Middle Sea Race course pits the fleet on a mammoth anticlockwise loop around Sicily involving numerous ‘corners’ that introduce fresh challenges. Analyzing the forecast weather is a critical part of any crew’s preparation, both in terms of planning race strategy and ensuring the boat is ready to face the predicted conditions. 'Generally speaking we start talking amongst ourselves about a week out and discussing what wind conditions we’re going to have,' explained Powell. 'We try and work out what we need to focus on in the training. When we’re 24 hours out and we’ve got the boat sorted, we focus on the weather and the finer details of what we’re going to expect around the race track.'

It is an approach echoed by Vila. 'From the navigation standpoint we start preparing more intensely from three days before the start; focusing on the start itself and then the race. A month out we study historical statistics but mostly the experience of having done the race before often dictates how you plan your sail inventory.'

'A lot is weighing on the navigator - he has a real headache managing the wind shifts,' advised Ripard. 'Their job is full-time and most of the time the navigator will be awake with a lot of decisions to make.' 'I’ve been monitoring the weather for the past three weeks and more intensely as the start approaches,' added Podesta. 'Weather prediction is one of the most difficult things. It’s a winter race during a time of change. The man that predicts a perfect weather forecast is more than an Einstein!'

Ultimately no two offshore races are ever the same, and for all the preparation that is invested, crews still need to adapt and remain humble in confronting the elements. As Edmund Hillary, the first man to successfully climb Mount Everest once said: ‘It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.’ For the crews engaged in the Rolex Middle Sea Race that challenge is constant.

'This race is the most challenging we do in terms of changeable conditions. You might think you know everything but for sure you won’t!' counselled Powell, as Rán 2 set off to try and add success at the Rolex Middle Sea Race to her multiple victories at the Rolex Fastnet.

Rolex Middle Sea Race website


by KPMS

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=103128

2:57 PM Tue 23 Oct 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race

Related News Stories:

21 Oct 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race - Record number attacks the start
20 Oct 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race - New record for race starters expected
18 Oct 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race - 33rd edition all set
17 Oct 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race - Coastal Race action on the horizon
03 Oct 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race - International fleet headed for Malta
23 Jul 2012  Rolex Middle Sea Race preview






News - USA and the World

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The 117 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will face an early test this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting a sharp 20 to 25 knot southerly change on Boxing Day afternoon not long after the start. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - There’s no doubt the returned soldiers aboard Spirit of Mateship and Southern Excellence II are the kind of blokes you want around if things went horribly wrong – and for that matter, you want them for the good stuff too – because they are top blokes. ... [more]  

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series: This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, is proving to be a huge attraction for overseas entries with over 20 already signed and more than 50 boats expected overall. One of the biggest draws is the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race (21 January), a 60 nautical mile ocean race round the island. There are currently 14 established records in this race. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race: The challenges of racing as a duo, not just seeking to perform at the highest level over a period of 90 to 100 days but actually co-habiting in a small, confined space whilst also experiencing extremes of discomfort – wet, damp, tired, hot, cold, emotional and physical. Here Ken Way gives an insight into how he helps the relationship between the two skippers work. ... [more]  

Comanche’s owner, Jim Clark concedes that a Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t the ideal first race for such a big, complex machine, but: 'I am married to an Australian, and I’ve seen the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart a number of times. ... [more]  

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta are proud to announce that Cruzan Rum and Presidente beer, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC, will provide major sponsorship in support for the 2015 regatta. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Warwick Sherman never really wanted to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart, he’d done plenty of ocean racing, but bashing his way across Bass Strait to get to Tasmania just didn't grab him. Perversely, all that changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. ... [more]  

The second stage of the Soto 40 South American Tour is coming up next and will be held in Algarrobo, Chile from 24 - 31 January. More than eight yachts are expected to take part in the Chille Sailing Week, a competition noted for its level of competition and close racing, where success is characterized by consistency, precision and teamwork. ... [more]  

The Flying Dutchman, regarded as one of the finest and fastest one-design dinghy classes ever designed, will return to Sydney Harbour en masse when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron conducts the Australian and World championships, starting next week. ... [more]  

The International Moth Class isn't exactly a new sailing class, yet the learning curve would have to be one of the steepest out there. Moths have been on foils for almost 10 years, yet besides talking to fellow moth sailors, there isn't a lot of information out there to help you master the skills and techniques needed to fly ... [more]  

America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
The Decision of the Court for Arbitration of Sport over the suspension of Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder has been circulated. The report, which was earlier reported in summary form as to the decision, confirms a 18month suspension on de Ridder, one of the Netherlands' top sailors ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Australia’s premier ocean race has always had an international flavour; Captain Illingworth, who started the whole Sydney Hobart thing was, after all, an Englishman. ... [more]  

An initiative by the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) led to collaboration with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and ultimately the creation of a new superyacht handicapping rule - the ORC SuperYacht Rule (ORCsy). ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Ocean sailors are daft; why else would you think it a good idea to take a modern ocean racing yacht around the world on her own bottom to compete in lots and lots of races, some thousands of miles long? ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The island is off the NSW south coast, 155 nautical miles south of Sydney’s South Head and about 6 nm south-east of Narooma. Its lighthouse, built of granite quarried on the island, began operating in 1881. The island is a protected nature reserve. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hundreds of Australian sailors spend their lives trying to win the Tattersall’s Cup; year after year they declare in Hobart that this was their last Rolex Sydney Hobart - definitely - for sure. But 12 months later you spot them again at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, tinkering with their pride and joy and nervously eying off Boxing Day ... [more]  

America's Cup: Lawsuit against Oracle Racing lodged in San Francisco *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
In further legal fallout from the 34th America's Cup one of the New Zealand sailors named in an action bought by the International Sailing Federation has in turn lodged a lawsuit in a California Court against his former racing team, Oracle Racing Inc over boat fixing in America's Cup World Series ... [more]  

Antigua Sailing Week 2015 by Antigua Sailing Week
If you haven't been to Antigua Sailing Week for some years Antigua Sailing Week have a quick overview for you of what has changed and what makes it worth the journey along with information on bareboat and race charters, multihulls and challenges for 2015. ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic Race: The three-man team on Sérénade was the final yacht to complete the inaugural race. Having spent over 18 days at sea, the crew were understandably tired but Denis Villotte, Alain Houchard and Pit Porta were smiling from ear to ear in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. A large welcoming party had gathered to greet them. ... [more]  

2017 J/80 World Championships: The Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) has an active J/80 fleet and attracts many more of the class to its summer series of regattas run annually from May through to September, in addition to match racing J/80s in the annual Grade 2 Match Cup. ... [more]  

Spectacular fire on Sydney Harbour captured on video *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Sydney sailing sports photographer, Beth Morley was on Sydney Harbour, capturing images of the Friday night racing, when a luxury launch caught fire nearby. I was out photographing the Ransa Sailing yacht race this evening when I saw smoke coming from the back of a large cruise boat around the back of Sow and Pigs (reef) area towards Middle Head. ... [more]  

Clipper Round the World: The award is in recognition of the way he directed his crew during a dramatic man overboard rescue in the harsh northern Pacific Ocean last March. The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is an internationally renowned trophy awarded annually for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea. ... [more]  

OK Dinghy Worlds: Some sailors will even be in transit over the festive period, so thoughts of overindulgence will be a long way from their minds as they focus on the challenge ahead – overcoming the strong Australian team and preparing for the conditions on Port Phillip Bay. However, if the event is true to form - there will be overindulgence in competitive and fun racing. ... [more]  

The Decision of the Court for Arbitration of Sport over the suspension of Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder has been circulated. The report, which was earlier reported in summary form as to the decision, confirms a 18month suspension on de Ridder, one of the Netherlands' top sailors ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - With the early weather outlook for next week’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race indicating it will be a sometimes torrid all-round test over the 628 nautical miles, the highly experienced crew of race record holder Wild Oats XI is feeling comfortable but not over-confident. ... [more]  

Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club, Huki Outrigger, and Hoven Vision present the 19th Annual Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge to be held in Mission Bay, San Diego, Ca. on January 24th, 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Andrea Francolini was on the water to provided this gallery of images of Comanche. ... [more]  

Images from Mauritius as the Team Vestas Wind recovery crew prepare to depart for the Cargados Carajos Shoals, over 200nm away. The team have acquired some salvage equipment and will live aboard a chartered boat and attempt to float the boat over the reef and into the lagoon. ... [more]  

The skipper of Mapfre, Iker Martinez will leave the Campos managed Volvo Ocean Race entry for the third Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team cites a conflict between Martinez's Olympic commitments in the Nacra 17 and the Volvo Ocean Race, as the reason for the departure which the team says was a planned move. ... [more]  

Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS) has flown back to a remote Indian Ocean reef to help oversee a complicated operation to retrieve his stranded boat after it was grounded there during Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race nearly three weeks ago. ... [more]  

The America's Cup Competitor Forum, comprising the six teams registered for the 2017 America’s Cup, has appointed Iain Murray as Regatta Director. The appointment was tipped a month ago in Sail-World.com. Under the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup, the appointment has to be approved by the majority of the competitors. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race: The intention to enter the fleet of twelve Clipper 70s in the 71st edition has just been confirmed by Clipper Race organisers. The RSHYR will form part of the biennial Clipper Race series for a second time. The round-the-world fleet created much interest in 2013 as amateur sailors from over 40 different nationalities competed as part of their 40,000 mile circumnavigation. ... [more]  

If you missed this week's edition of Adventures of a Sailor Girl, then hear the replay below. This week's show is the 34th. Sailing news in sixty seconds-ish (2:46). Sail Sydney: Josh McKnight (Moth, 9:43), Tom Spithill (Moth, 12:45), Olivia Price & Eliza Solly (FX, 15:24) Tom Burton (Laser, 23:20) James Wierzbowski (Extreme 40's, 32:08) and much more ... [more]  

Pogo 40, Bingo completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 3 - On the Atoll *Feature
Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Safety Requirements published
Int'l 14 World Championships - Defending champion expects tight racing
WWA Wake Park World Series - Daniel Grant and Aaron Gunn make history
US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards
Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Highlights video from Port Philip
Bart’s Bash raises huge total for international sailing charity
Optim'X (FRA) completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Perpetual Loyal unveils 1120 square metre A2 for Rolex Sydney Hobart
ISAF SWC Melbourne – Girls’ Day Out *Feature
Website for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna is launched
Great signed Limited Edition sailing books by Bob Fisher for Christmas
Clipper Race - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to mentor young South African
IFDS Worlds 2014 New Video Memories - Halifax is just a click away!
McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds 2015 - Must see, seriously fun event
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 2 - On the Rocks *Feature
Successful St. Maarten Regatta Beach Clean-Up at Kim Sha Beach
US Sailing releases Rio 2016 Olympic Trials System
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Oldies return
Volvo Ocean Race sets up independent inquiry into Vestas Wind disaster   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Brunel: sweet victory   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Apollo 7 touch down   
2014 OK Dinghy Worlds Preview one - Last but not least   
Melges 24 Christmas Sprint Series - Christmas comes early for Red Mist   
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 8 - Superb podium finish for Realteam   
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson on the Team Vestas Wind disaster - 1 *Feature   
USA 4 Windsurfing campaign   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - One last modification to Wild Oats XI   
Sydney-Hobart: Wacky Races 2 - Frosty, Hoonigan and Wilbo *Feature   
RORC Transatlantic Race 2014 - Big adventure comes to an end   
ISAF World Sailing Rankings – 15 December 2014   
Comanche; Supermaxi Showdown VIDEO   
Miami Star Winter Series - Commodores Cup Final day   
2014/15 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Jason Michas wins   
2014 RORC Transatlantic Race - Yacana crosses finish line   
2014 Extreme Sailing Series - Act 8 - Swiss team Alinghi wins   
Extreme Sailing Series: Images from Act 8 + Series' Highlights video   
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng Race Team - Leg Two review   
Extreme Sailing Series: Alinghi crowned 2014 and Sydney champions   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT