Vincenzo Onorato's Italian Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino,with Flavio Favini as tactician, corrected out to win the overall prize for therace rating under the ORC Rule. The top three yachts came from three differentclasses, 57 yachts entered the race under the ORC rating system, which ratedthe yachts by time over distance. In second place overall was Michele Galli'sItalian TP52, B2 with Francesco de Angelis as tactician. In third place overallwas Milan Hajek's First 40.7, Three Sisters with a crew all from the CzechRepublic.
2015 Maxi 72 World Champion winning navigator, Ian Moorespoke about the Mascalzone Latino victory. “This is the first time we havesailed together as a team for over a year and we put in a great performance.Our team and the boat performed well over a broad range of conditions, and weespecially made big gains in the light winds. B2 was always going to be quickerthan us in a straight line and they did well in the transition zones atStromboli and Capo San Vito. We did catch up 14 miles on the first night goingpast Mount Etna, which was a big gain for us. On the leg from Lampedusa to thefinish, there were a lot of thunderstorms and we saw one wind shift of 50degrees, which we got spot on. This was an exciting race for us and tacticallyextremely difficult.”
In ORC One, Michele Galli's TP52, B2 was the winner fromHungarian RP60, Wild Joe, skippered by Marton Jozsa. In third place was VicenteGarcia Torres' Spanish Swan 80, Plis play was third.
B2's navigator, Nacho Postigo commented ”I think the 50-52feet is a good length for this race. The TP52 is an all-round boat, with verylittle weaknesses, a good compromise between rating and speed. For me this wasa typical Middle Sea Race; you struggle to find the wind, and when you do, ithappens in excess. This time it was more about managing the light than aboutstrong winds. For me, this is one of the most challenging races in the world.In this race there is a strong association between land and sea, and thisdrives you to take many important decisions along the way; sometimes, mistakesare really expensive here.”
ORC Two featured three canting keel yachts. MascalzoneLatino was the winner and there was a close battle for second place. FrancoNiggeler's Swiss custom 42, Kuka-light, had an epic battle with Guido PaoloGamucci's Italian Cookson 50, Cippa Lippa 8. Kuka-Light crossed the finish lineof the Rolex Middle Sea Race just eight minutes ahead on corrected time to takesecond place ahead of Cippa Lippa.
ORC Three was won by the Turkish Ker 40, Arkas Flying Box,skippered by Serhat Altay, Arkas Flying Box was also placed 10thoverall in ORC. Bastiaan de Voogd young Dutch team racing Sydney 43 Coin Coinwas second. Vittorio Biscarini's Italian Mylius 15, Ars Una was third.
“Our Code Zero was a real weapon this race, especially inthe wind holes.” commented Martin Watts, Arkas Sailing Team Coach. “There wasno end to the enthusiasm from the team in their first major offshore race.Morale was very high on board and the team sailed very well together, I mustsay they are a real treat to sail with. Our ultimate goal for this year was towin our class at the Rolex Middle Sea Race and our efforts have achieved that, sowe are absolutely delighted.”
ORC Four produced a tense battle for the class win,Christopher Opielok's Corby 38, Rockall IV from Hong Kong, corrected out to winthe class by under an hour from three Maltese yachts, Christoph Podesta's First45, Elusive II BOV was second, Sonke Stein & David Anastasi's J/133,Oiltanking Juno was third. Josef Schulteis & Timmy Camilleri’s Xp-44,Xp-Act Bank Sails was fourth by less than five minutes after time correction.
“In the light conditions, we were up against it but once wegot into the breeze, this was more advantageous for Rockall, as we have asuperior righting moment with a deep heavy keel.” Commented Rockall IV crew,Simon 'Cake' McCarthy. “The team did a great job at Pantelleria, we must havepassed about 20 boats with our Code Zero up and at Lampedusa, we knew we weregoing well. Then the breeze just built and built and in big waves, we were onthe edge of control. It was an awesome finish to the race.”
ORC Five produced one of the closest battles of the race.Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard's Maltese J/122, Artie won the class andalso placed fourth overall under ORC. Costantin Manuele's First 40.7, CanevelSpumanti from the Yacht Club Adriaco, Trieste was second. Jamie Sammut'sMaltese Solaris 42, Unica was third and Laurant Charmy's French J/111 SLEnergies Groupe Fastwave was fourth. All four yachts finished within an hour ofeach other on corrected time.
“Mentally that was a very tough race and at times veryfrustrating.” Commented Artie's Lee Satariano. “At many stages of the race, if we could have found more wind, we wouldhave done. The crew agree that we probably sailed the boat better this yearthan we have ever done. We sailed every leg really well and made very fewerrors. We set out to win our class and we are very happy that we have achievedthat.”
ORC Six was won by Three Sisters taking part in theirseventh race, the team from the Czech Republic corrected out to beat GrandSoleil 37, Sagola-Biotrading, skippered by Peppe Fornich. The crew are from theYacht Club Favignana, the Aegadian Island of Favignana marks the northwestcorner of the course. Gherardo Maviglia's Beneteau Oceanis 430, Amapolarepresenting Circolo VelicoFiumicino, Roma was third.
Full results, daily news reports, pictures, videos and blogsfrom the boats can be viewed at the Rolex Middle Sea Race official site:www.rolexmiddlesearace.com
Photo Credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi