Competitors in the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race gathered in the Malta's capital city of Valletta at midday today (Saturday) for the official prize giving. In keeping with this island's rich and fascinating culture and history, the prize giving was held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, located in the former "Sacra Infermeria", once a hospital during the 1800s.
The formal awards ceremony was held in the Republic Hall, once the main courtyard, and was followed by a reception for the 70 competing crews and guests in the Long Ward of the Holy Infirmary of the Order of St. John. Measuring 155 metres long by 11 metres wide, it is one of the longest halls in Europe, and was recognised as an architectural feat in the 16th century when it was constructed.
Close to 1,000 competitors, guests, race officials, and media showed up in force. Commodore Georges Bonello DuPuis welcomed the guests and said, "We've seen the race grow from a well-regarded event with a few entries from our nearby European neighbours, to a truly international offshore classic, attracting interest and entries from the world over."
This year's race was one for the small boats and the local fleet in particular. With nine out of the top ten boats overall all under 45 feet, the smaller boats finally had their day. Despite fewer entries than in the past, four out of the top five yachts were from Malta. Bonello DuPuis continued proudly, "What can we say about our local fleet, Malta's race surely went well. Artie, I'm truly speechless at your achievement. What an amazing fleet of boats we have flying the eight-pointed cross. Malta's on the map and I'm really proud of the achievements of our club and as an island sailing nation. We have shown the true meaning of the spirit of Malta."
Rolex Middle Sea Race Principal Race Officer Peter Dimech conducted the ceremony, and members of the Maltese government and the event committee presented the awards. The main event at the prize giving was the overall winner in IRC For this, the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece were presented by Bonello DuPuis, Mr Yann Dupasquier of Rolex and Malcolm Lowell, of Edward, Lowell & Co to Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, of Artie.
Satariano said, "I have to say we faced loyal and worthy opponents and I want to thank every one of them for making this race very challenging."
Despite an inauspicious start that found the Maltese owner and co-skipper sick and having lost his voice and navigation instruments that were found to be in error on the first night, the crew of Artie pressed on.
Satariano said, "The crew had to put up with a skipper who couldn't communicate and instruments that wouldn't cooperate. Our luck turned in due time; a lot of our victory goes down to our tactics and quick thinking. The victory is a result of the hard work that our team has put in – co-skipper Christian, as well as Matthew, Isaac, John, Kurt, Jan, and Peter. Your determination and ability have made Artie's dream a reality. This group of men go beyond the definition of crew — you are a second family, and thank you."
Also awarded was the RLR Line Honours Trophy and a Rolex Chronometer to the first monohull boat home, Igor Simcic's Esimit Europe 2. Dora Ripard presented the trophy and Yann Dupasquier from Rolex SA presented a Rolex Yacht-Master to Matej Knez from the Slovenian maxi. The Slovenian maxi also won the Malta Tourism Award for first foreign boat home, presented by Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Dr Mario DeMarco.
Winning their classes in IRC were Niklas Zennstrom and Rán (GBR) in Class1; Pit Finis and Dralion (MLT) in Class 2; Andrew Calascione and Jaru Team EC (MLT) in Class 3; Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard and Artie in Class 4.
Winning their classes overall in ORC were Niklas Zennstrom and Rán in Class1; Marco Serafini and Tyke (ITA) in Class 2; Jaume Binimelis and Petrouchka III (ESP) in Class 3; Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard on Artie in Class 4.
The following awards were also presented:
— Youth Cup to 14-year old, Grace Payne-Jones on Heartbeat IV, by Mr Bernard Vassallo, CEO of Malta Sports Council
— Transport Malta Trophy for first boat to finish having a Maltese skipper and majority of Maltese crew to Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard and Artie, by Mr Bernard Vassallo, CEO of Malta Sports Council.
— Starboard Trophy for first Maltese boat overall (on handicap) in IRC and ORC to Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard on Artie, both IRC and ORC.
— John Illingworth Trophy for first boat overall in Double-Handed Class to Beppe Bisotto and Ian Knight on Atame.
— Nations Cup for best combined score overall under IRC by three boat from the same nation to the Maltese boats, Artie (Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard), Otra Vez (Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia), and Jaru (Andrew Calascione)
The 33rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race will begin on Saturday, 20 October 2012.
A total of 70 yachts started the 32nd Rolex Middle Sea Race on Saturday, 22 October; 65 boats finished, and four boats retired: Pogo 1 (GER), Comanche Raider II Gasan Mamo (MLT), and Ali Raja Bluorange (ITA), and Acrobat Sailing Team (ESP), and 55 boats have finished. Skipperclub (RUS) finished just outside the time limit for the race.
The course record set in 2007 by George David's 90-foot Rambler (USA) stands at 47 hours, 55 minutes, 3 seconds.