Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Rolex Middle Sea Race Fleet closely packed

by KPMS on 24 Oct 2011
Stromboli - Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo http://www.regattanews.com
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011, organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, is currently underway. Forty-eight hours into the race and the fleet has encountered all of the challenges and conditions that tacticians and navigators had anticipated well before the race start.

The 606-nautical mile course around Sicily is notorious for its changeable conditions, and local anomalies in wind, current, and weather. Many competitors work out a game plan that breaks the course into several parts – each with its own challenges. And overriding all race plans is the weather forecast – this year the predictions were for lighter breeze at the start, though several fronts passing through the area were expected to bring more wind along the western coast of Sicily.
After a faster than expected first 24 hours, the frontrunners suffered on the stretch of the course along the north coast of Sicily where lighter winds finally materialized slowing the boats down to a relative crawl. But once they could stick their bows around the northwest corner of Sicily, past San Vito lo Capo, they were back in the breeze and off again.

Through the Egadis
Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) made their way around the corner, passing between the Egadi Islands of Favignana, to port, and Marettimo, to starboard, at 2300 last night. There they found the forecast southerly breeze, and after a few tacks they were just able to lay Pantelleria, 70 nautical miles distant, and rounded the island at 0630 this morning.


At that same time Rán (GBR) was rounding the northwest point at San Vito lo Capo. Around the point, the breeze increased and the crew on board reported, 'After experiencing very little wind during the night in our downwind sailing, we are now back upwind in 16.5 knots of wind and we are sailing at a speed of 13.5 knots.' Putting it into perspective they continued, 'If you were driving a car, this would compare to about 25 km per hour approx. Slow you might think? Well, with a carbon floating machine like this one and her heel angle when going upwind, you better hold on and forget about your nice hair-do! Rocky and fast is the description of the experience; Hold on and strap yourself in! Still no rain instead a beautiful sunrise behind the hilly landscape of Sicily!'


Along the north coast of Sicily
Around 1000 this morning Alegre (GBR) and Med Spirit (FRA) rounded the northwest corner. Behind them was Class 2 leader Nikata (GBR) just south of Isola Ustica along with Dralion (MLT) and Wild Joe (HUN). From onboard Nikata, navigator Mike Broughton predicted, 'Looking ahead we expect our world to change when we round the western tip of Sicily and enter the southerly winds. The strength will increase and be more on the nose. At the moment we are peeling between the code zero and headsails, but we will just be using headsails shortly. We’re happy with that; it gives us a chance to extend on Dralion, one of our major competitors. We made a good decision last night to stay north, away from the wind shadows of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. Dralion did the same, and we owe them time unfortunately.'


As for the days ahead, Broughton said, 'Further ahead we think that Lampedusa could be a problem and another park-up. There is a low tracking over Malta on Tuesday that could bring really light winds, changing the picture all over again and really changing the shape of the race.'


The bulk of the fleet - including all of Classes 3 and 4 - is fairly closely packed along the rhumbline off the northern coast of Sicily. Abeam of the island of Alicudi (one of the Aeolian Islands) this morning, skipper Arthur Podesta onboard the Class 3 boat Elusive St. Regis (MTA) said they had a visual sighting of 34-35 boats around them. He reported, 'It was a tough night, we rounded Stromboli with good breeze around 2300 - its usual eruptions and a very nice view. About an hour later, the breeze started to die, and then it was just a big swell with sails flapping, shock loading the boat. We now are sailing in six knots of wind, making 6.3 knots of boat speed, with the apparent wind just forward of the beam. We anticipate the wind to increase by midday, though forecasts have been mostly inaccurate! Anyway, that’s the name of game. Right now we have bright sunshine some cloud cover.'

In the race amongst the Maltese boats, for first boat home, the eight boats are relatively neck in neck, though with Lee Satariano’s Artie in front.

Course record stands
To beat the course record, the first boat would have had to finish by approximately 11.30 CEST today. With the lead boat Esimit Europa 2 currently 130 nautical miles from the finish at 1030 this morning, the course record set by George David's Rambler (USA) is safely intact for at least another year. That record, set in 2007, stands at 47 hours, 55 minutes, 3 seconds.

Cultural Notes
The Rolex Middle Sea Race Mark is unusual as many of the marks of the course are physical islands. At the northwest corner of Sicily, off Trapani, lie the Egadi Islands. These islands (Favignana and Levanzo) must all be left to port, except for the island of Marettimo, which must be left to starboard.

The permanent population for the three islands is around 5,000. Although a popular summer destination, it is still possible to find secluded coves and walking paths. The islands are rugged and hilly, but offer wonderful beaches for swimming in the cobalt blue sea.

Event Notes
A total of 70 yachts started the 32nd Rolex Middle Sea Race on Saturday, 22 October; to date, one boat has retired, the Class 40 Pogo 1 (GER).

The final prize giving is at 12.00CEST on Saturday, 29 October at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

Kilwell - 1Schaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250T Clewring - Generic

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr