Thursday, October 23, 2014


There are still many boats making it for Malta, some in the race, some that had abandoned and taken a short from Sicily not turning around Pantelleria. After a very rough night the winds are still over 30k, some boats registering well over 40K. The ones that know what kind of sea this winds can rise on the Med know what they are passing through.

Here wild Joe, a Reichel Pugh 60 finishing the race.

Many boats retired due to the weather but also many due to breakage and the situation is not clear because that "invitation" from the Coat Guard to suspend the race (that I talked about on the last post) in what regards the boats that were near Pantelleria it was not an invitation but an order from the Port Captain to suspend racing and enter the port (the race rounded Pantelleria Island). There are boats that could have just stop racing not because they have abandoned but because they thought the race was suspended. Not a word about this on the official site but some here as well as photos:

That A13 that was making a fantastic race had really bad luck: they lost the mast at 20nm from the finish line.

Regarding the sea conditions these words by a very experienced racer (crew on the winning J122) are meaningful: “The sea was big, it was very windy, we don't know exactly how windy because the windex at the top of the rig blew off! – yes this race is up there with the toughest Hobarts I have done. In fact we were saying on board 'when was the last time we saw a sea like this?' and I had to say it was during a windy Sydney Hobart but to have those conditions for over 24 hours is very rare, almost exceptional. You are always learning in this game and the experience showed me that it is good to go with a bloody good crew! Truly, it is the only way you can sail the boat like we did. If you don't have a good crew, you just won't get through it or you will break things and when it comes down to it – a good crew is what you need and we have done a lot of miles together on Artie, they are my nephews, my friends and we have been together for thousands of miles at sea.

And this leads us to the winner on compensated (IRC ans ORC), a J122, a local boat (Malta) that had made just an incredible race. They did not manage to beat the first racing Class40 (a Pogo S2) that was about 2h 45m faster but they managed to be faster than a very fast XP44  (second on compensated). Regarding boats of the same size and type (performance cruisers) they were only beaten by this beauty:
That proved the Neo 400 is not only a beauty but a hell of a sailboat even on nasty seas. I had posted about it on the old thread but it will deserve a new post here...soon. The Neo 400 did not only beat that J122 (Artie) by 4 hours as it was faster than any 40class boat, beating that racing Pogo by more than an hour and the second (that was also beaten by the first J122) by more than 6 hous!!!!

What a boat, Ceccareli got this one right: it is not only able to win on compensated ( 3rd in ORC ) as it is incredibly fast in real time, that in the end is what it matters, at least for me.

A M34, the small racing boat that was used for the "Tour the France", showed once more that it is a very seaworthy boat, not only finishing, but making a great time. Also great races from a brand new Azuree 46 and a Grand Soleil 46, two comfortable cruisers that show that you can have comfort speed and seaworthiness at a reasonable price.

Kuka-light is a very fast 42ft but it seems that this year they did not manage to finish. Here they are on the water, on the stormy seas:

and Jolokia is an old Vor 60. They finished this race but the result was not good, They were beaten in real time by the small Neo 400.

Some selected results by real time order.

Coockson 50 d4 h2 m14 s;20 Carkeek 47 d4 h4 m12 s25 ; Swan 60 d4 h6 m7 s39; Swan 82 d4 h6 m11 s3; Farr 52 OD d4 h6 m26 s40; Cookson 50 d4 h6 m31 s55;  Neo 400 d4 h9 m30 s0; Pogo S2Class40 d4 h10 m49 s0;  DK46 d4 h13 m7 s0; Sydney GTS 43 d4 h13 m57 s51; J 122 d4 h13 m35 s5; XP44 d4 h14 m1 s11; BM Class40 d4 h15 m59 s55 Swan 45 d4 h16 m3 s54; Azuree 46 d4  h17 m9  s5; Grand Soleil 46 d4 h19 m55 s52 ; M34 d4 h20 m45 s19 20; j122 d4 h21 m40 s35 ; Swan 48 d5 h0 m9 s18; 

A word for the winner in compensated in ORC and IRC, Artie, a J122 (their words):
“It was a very very tough race. The crew have worked around the clock from day one and the race didn't start well for us but during day two we started to get our the shifts right and co-skippers Sebastian and Christian Ripard did a great job on the tactics and the end result was a series of correct decision that put us in a good position before the storm arrived. As always, having a good crew on board allows you to give the effort an extra push, with a good boat and an excellent crew are intention at the start was to win ...But now having had the opportunity to reflect on the race, even more important than winning was the achievement of actually finishing the race in the conditions that we had out there. Even near the end my worry was not finishing, right up until the end, we knew boats were in difficulties, which was very unfortunate and that was playing on my mind until we crossed the finish line. I would like to emphasize that one thing we really promote on Artie, throughout the year, is that we have young dinghy sailors on board and a main objective is to get these youngsters out sailing, combining them with our regular crew to create the future sailors that will be representing Malta.”

And from the Neo 400 (translated from Italian with some liberty):
"With us was a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race and he said he never would thought that in the Mediterranean the sea could be like that with eight meters with a breaking and a a that has increased quickly from 20K to 25K and then up to 35K and 40 knots, so constant, relentless. At the end we saw 48 knots, without a break for 200 miles. We sailed between Lampedusa and Malta, for us the worst part, with storm jib and the mainsail with two reefs. We were consistently between 16 and 18 knots, with peaks around 22 and beyond. At 22 knots the log was out of water and did not work anymore, so we do not know how much speed we made, but it was really tough. The unusual thing was that the wind never fell, normally happen to take a blow at the Middle Sea, has happened to me often in the past, but this time the wind was violent, has been increasing steadily and there were never moments to rest as usually occurs. 40-45 knots for at least 12 consecutive hours, it was really hard.

Between Pantelleria and Lampedusa the sea was already very difficult and for us the wind was still about 25 knots. On the leeward of Lampedusa we sailed at 18 knots with flat water A3, two reefs on the main and J3, beautiful, then once out of the shelter of Lampedusa, well, the sea clearly advised us imediate prudence. An extreme situation. Waves as ever I've ever seen in Mediterranean and we manage of the boat in safety without giving up performance. Going to the bow was not easy, so we did it all without risking; the boat has behaved very well and we have not broken anything, I noticed a excellent behavior under storm jib. The arrival in the channel between Malta and Comino was surreal, at night, in continuous glide at 16 knots, with rocks on the right and left....

Then along the coast of Malta till the finish a continuous glide at 16 knots,...the race committee could not believe that we had taken so little time doing that Utrecht. Very tiring the last 200 miles, following the first three days of light winds,....It was a race where you, besides the result (that leaved us very satisfied) you realize how important was to bring the boat home with all the crew safely. We have outsailed 50 fters and beaten boats like the B2 and a Cookson 50..."

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