Hold the Fohn - Day Two, afternoon updateLa Valletta (Malta), October 23, 2016
After scorching around the early part of the course, covering over half of the 608 nautical-mile course in just 24 hours, Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 and Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70 Maserati have come to a relative grinding halt. After sustaining speeds of over 20 knots en route from Stromboli, the pair ‘hit the wall’ just before San Vito Lo Capo on the North West tip of Sicily.
This 'pit-stop' was to Maserati's initial gain. Having been around ten miles behind Phaedo3 for much of the leg, the Italian team kept a more northerly route, were able to hold better pressure longer and actually overhauled their rivals. The joy was short lived as Phaedo3’s coast-hugging tactics appear to have enable them to slip into new stronger breeze as they round the corner and start to head south.
This lack of wind north of Sicily can be attributed to a low pressure system in the Atlantic, which is literally sucking warm air out of the Mediterranean and up over the Alps into parts of northern Europe. Currently in Zermatt, the temperature is higher than usual for the time of year. The southerly wind experienced in the alpine resort confirms this trend in the southern Mediterranean. The wind effect is known locally in Switzerland as a “Föhn”, a generic term for "hairdryer".
The “hairdryer” is having a considerable effect on the battle for both line honours and the overall win in the monohull fleet.
George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 is in an epic battle to maintain their position at the front of the monohull fleet. In an effort to skirt the windless hole that trapped the multihulls and which is forecast to expand eastward, Rambler 88 initially dived south after rounding Stromboli and is now heading offshore away from Filicudi. The pursuing pack of yachts continue to snap at her heels. The Danish Volvo 70 Trifork, with Bouwe Bekking at the helm, is a mere three miles astern. Clarke Murphy's Carbon Ocean 82 Aegir is five miles behind. Perhaps even worse, at least in the minds of the Rambler crew, Marton Jozsa’s Hungarian RP60 Wild Joe, Maximilian Klink's Swiss Botin 65 Caro, Vincenzo Onorato’s Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino and Quentin Stewart's Infiniti 46 Maverick are all within ten miles of the pre-race Line Honours favourite.
The stakes are high. Those yachts connecting with the southerly off the western seaboard of Sicily will have an advantage over the rest of the fleet struggling to head west. If so the scenario will have a tremendous impact on the contest for the overall win on corrected time.
The tactically challenging conditions on the first night were used well by several smaller yachts including Lee Satariano's Maltese J/122 Artie, which was leading the fleet at Messina and has made good progress towards Stromboli. However, if as expected, the windless zone on the course spreads east along the northern coast of Sicily, these slower yachts may find their podium prospects severely dented. Of course, this is yacht racing, there is much to play for and no one is giving up just yet.
Of the 16 monohulls that have rounded Stromboli, Eric de Turckheim's French A13 Teasing Machine is currently leading under IRC, just ahead of Mascalzone Latino.
For more information including pictures, videos and blogs from the competitors please visit: www.rolexmiddlesearace.com.
Notes to Editors
The Royal Malta Yacht Club
Founded in 1835. It is the only yacht club in Malta and is a founder member of the Malta Sailing Federation. The Royal Malta Yacht Club has a deep commitment to yachting and organises a full programme of racing and social activities throughout the year. Located right on the water in Ta’ Xbiex Marina the club offers extraordinary facilities which include a lounge bar and dining area with outdoor terraces, roof top terrace, conference rooms, a fitness room with changing rooms, waterfront facilities for small boats and a seasonal marina for larger boats.
The club is an ideal base for yachtsmen whether for racing or cruising at any time of year. It is a favourite port of call for members of renowned yacht clubs from all over the world with which the club has reciprocal agreements. The members vary in age and profession but share a common passion for, yachting and the social life that is generated around the club.
The 37th Rolex Middle Sea Race
22nd - 29th October 2016
The Rolex Middle Sea Race takes place in the heart of the Mediterranean and covers one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Starting and finishing in Malta, the 608-nautical mile route includes the deep azure waters of Sicily and the Strait of Messina, the islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, and even features Stromboli's active volcano as a course mark.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a highly rated offshore classic, often mentioned in the same breath as the Rolex Fastnet, The Rolex Sydney - Hobart and Newport-Bermuda as a "must do" race. The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968.
2015 welcomed an interesting fleet which included some high profile boats making up a total of 111 yachts, representing 22 countries to make yet another successful event. Monohull Line Honours went to George David’s Rambler 88 which arrived soon after Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70 Phaedo 3, which was the first Multihull home. Michele Galli's Italian TP52, B2 won the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy, whilst fellow Italian Vincenzo Onorato's Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino won the Boccale Del Mediterraneao.
For more information about the Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Royal Malta Yacht Club
Address: Ta' Xbiex Seafront. Ta'Xbiex, XBX 1028, Malta
Telephone: +356 21 333109
For Press enquiries:
+356 9981 2345hn