Tuesday, October 27, 2015

J/122 ARTIE Wins Rolex Middle Sea Race

J/122 Artie sailing at start- Rolex Middle Sea Race (Gzira, Malta)- The Royal Malta YC is proud to be hosting the 36th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The race has attracted 100+ competitors from 22 countries from all over the world. The 606nm race starts and finishes in the spectacular surroundings of Malta's capital city, Valetta.  The weather forecasts of light to medium winds for most of the race have been true to form.  No records broken.  In fact, 88 ft canting-keelers (Rambler 88) were beating 70 ft record-breaking trimarans (e.g. Phaedo) through the Straits of Messina between the volcanic island of Sicily and the Italian mainland- the famous “boot”.

It was a drama-filled several days of sailing for the various J/teams in the event. Here were some of the reports.

On Monday 1600 hrs on the third day of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, a pulsating battle had emerged between six Maltese yachts close to the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily. The six yachts are all in sight of each other, vying to be the first Maltese yacht to finish the race and lift the Transport Malta Trophy. Last year's overall winner, the J/122 ARTIE, co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, leads the pack of Maltese boats by a single mile and was the first Maltese boat to finish the race last year. The six Maltese yachts are only three miles apart after 250 miles of racing!

Tuesday at 1600 hours at Favignana Rock, the scenario was not much different.  In IRC Four, Sönke Stein and David Anastasi’s Maltese J/133 OIL TANKING JUNO was in a dead heat for the class lead and, potentially, overall lead.  In IRC Five at Favignana, Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard's Maltese J/122 ARTIE held a narrow lead of just 16 minutes on corrected time from Laurant Charmy's French J/111, SL ENERGIES GROUPE FASTWAVE.

Thursday 0800 hours at the finish line- there was high drama in the early hours of Thursday morning, with five Maltese boats all finishing the race in sight of each other at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard's J/122 ARTIE, was the first Maltese yacht to cross the line with David Anastasi & Sönke Stein's J/133 OILTANKING JUNO completing the scene.

Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard's Maltese J/122 ARTIE corrected out to win IRC Five and placed fourth overall in a fleet of over 100 yachts. ARTIE was also the Maltese yacht with the best-corrected time in IRC and ORC, winning both of the Teddy Borg Trophies. After the race, the ARTIE crew were happy with their performance, despite not winning the race overall, as they have done on two previous occasions.

“Mentally that was a very tough race and at times very frustrating, overall I don't think there was anything more we could have done to achieve a better result. At many stages of the race, if we could have found more wind, we would have done, but there is an element of luck to that and this year, we were not so lucky but tactically we sailed pretty well and amongst the crew, we agree that we probably sailed the boat better this year than we have ever done. We set out to win our class and we are very happy that we have achieved that.”

“I think that the fact that so many Maltese boats finished so close together shows that we are very competitive people. The level of sailing amongst the Maltese teams has definitely gone up, we have all improved, because the standard starts somewhere, someone takes that on, and so we drive each other to new levels. Maltese sailors are also taking part in more racing internationally, this race is getting bigger, and the Maltese sailors are taking it more seriously.”

The Royal Malta YC has been buzzing all day, with crews arriving back in Malta, rubbing shoulders with fellow sailors, describing the story of their own Rolex Middle Sea Race. About half of the fleet has now finished the race with many more yachts expected to arrive today and tomorrow.

In IRC Five, the J/122 ARTIE was the winner. Taking third in a terrific performance was Laurant Charmy's French J/111 SL ENERGIES GROUPE FASTWAVE from the South of France.   Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo   For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information.