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The Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Transat Jaques Vabre and the International Masters Regatta

by David Schmidt 22 Oct 08:00 PDT October 22, 2019
Rambler - 2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race, day 3 © Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

Autumn's dark and wet hit the Pacific Northwest in force this past week, slamming the mountains with snow and reminding sailors why summer days are so precious in this part of the world where one pays dearly for their luxuriously long summertime sunshine come the fall, with days that drop minutes of daylight seriously fast thanks to our location at almost 48 degrees north latitude. But while this sounds ominous, the truth is that our racing season is just now getting going, with some of the year's best races coming in the weeks and months ahead. Granted, this means racing when it's even darker, wetter and colder than this past weekend, but this is somehow fitting for life in this quirky city that sits at the northwestern edge of the Lower 48.

Looking beyond the waters of Puget Sound reveals a much sunnier picture of sailing, especially if one focuses their attention on the Rolex Middle Sea Race, where George David (USA) and his all-conquering crew aboard Rambler 88 took line honours just outside of Malta's Marsamxett Harbor at 08:13:00 CEST Tuesday.

Other North American entries in this prestigious offshore contest, which is considered to have one of the world's most breathtakingly beautiful racecourses, include Mark Stevens Hinckley 51 KIVA (USA 40104), Christopher Sheehan's well-sailed and well-traveled Xp44 Warrior Won (USA 60564), and Peter and David Askew's Volvo 70 Wizard (USA 70000), the latter of which has enjoyed one heck of a winning streak this summer.

Sail-World wishes all Rolex Middle Sea Race sailors safe and fast passage to Malta.

Speaking of European offshore races, 60 boats and doublehanded teams have gathered in the French port of Le Havre for the Sunday, October 27, start of the biennial Transat Jaques Vabre, which will take the fleet from France across the Atlantic to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Teams will be competing in this prestigious offshore contest aboard Class 40s, Multi50s and IMOCA 60s. 

While the "TJV", as its known colloquially, is a primarily French and European affair, American interests will be represented by Charlie Enright, who will be sailing with co-skipper Pascal Bidegorry aboard 11th Hour Racing. Enright will be skippering the 11th Hour Racing campaign (nee Hugo Boss) in the 2021/2022 edition of The Ocean Race and is wisely using this event to gain valuable shorthanded and foiling experience aboard his team's newest whip. 

Racing begins this coming weekend, so stay tuned for more TJV news, as it becomes known.

And finally, much closer to home, the 2019 International Masters Regatta took place last weekend on the waters off of San Diego, California, and was hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club. Racing took place aboard a rotating fleet of club-supplied J/105s, and after three days of racing, Canadian Andy Roy and his teammates emerged the winners, followed by skippers Scott Harris and Chuck Sinks and their hardworking crews. 

"We didn't start off the day great, but we got our act together just in time and had a great third race," said Roy, in an official regatta release. "We knew it was time for a good start. We just had to pull it off and get off the line. We had an opportunity to get underneath out biggest competitor [Chuck Sinks] at the start line and forced them to go up high."

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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