Video courtesy Rolex Middle Sea Race.
La Valletta – Kristina Plattner’s Z-86 Morning Glory was beset by light winds late yesterday morning. However, at 1300 local time, the German canting keel Maxi was powering along the north coast of Sicily having completed 266 miles of the course in 25 hours. To beat the course record, Morning Glory will need to average 15 knots for the remainder of the race, which is achievable but unlikely. However, Morning Glory is now out of sight of any other yacht in the fleet. Andres Soriano’s Alegre and Luca Simone’s Robertissima II are the closest rivals, over 25 miles astern of the leader.
All of the competing yachts have now passed through the Strait of Messina, including Beppe Bisotto’s Atame whose tracker is not responding. By yesterday tonight, the fleet should all have passed the active volcano Stromboli and will be heading west across the top of Sicily. So far the larger yachts have enjoyed more suitable weather conditions.
IRC OVERALL at Messina
Freddie Hall’s British Yawl, Infanta is the current leader and is almost certainly the oldest yacht in the race, built in New York City in 1947. The elegant yacht named after a Spanish princess, who will not accede to the throne, is owned by 75 year old, John Hall, who is sailing with his son and five friends. Fair winds and reaching conditions have suited Infanta and it would be an incredible achievement if the corinthian team retain their position but it is unlikely that Infanta will be crowned winner of the race. Michele Galli’s Italian Custom 52, B2 is in second place after time correction with Maltese J-133, Otra Vez skippered by Edward Gatt Floridia in third.
IRC ONE at Stromboli
Leader on corrected time at Stromboli was British Mills 72, Alegre. Italian JV72 Robertissima II was about half an hour behind on corrected time. Just after dawn on Day Two, Robertissima II altered course heading for the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, presumably looking for more wind. Alegre followed to cover losing some of the lead the British team had built up on Day One but Alegre is still leading the big boat class on time correction.
IRC TWO at Messina
B2 is an IRC optimised TP52 and in the expert hands of Italian America’s Cup expert, Francesco de Angelis, few will be surprised that B2 is doing well. The lighter conditions may well suit B2 but the later in the race, the beat along the west coast of Sicily will not favour the lighter displacement boats. Hans Riegel’s Marten 49, Speedy was second overall in 2012 and the German yacht was second in class at Messina. Pushing the leading yachts is an Italian legend, Tomasso Chiefi, tactician on board RP65, Nikka Sixty Five, owned by Roberto Lacorte.
IRC THREE at Messina
The heavy displacement yachts are dominating in IRC 3 and Amanda Hartley’s Spanish Swan 56, Clem has a formidable track record in offshore events having won class in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet Race. James Blackmore’s South African Swan 53, Music was in second place at Messina but only just. On corrected time Music was less than two minutes behind Clem and the light weather along the top of Sicily will give Music a chance to better their bigger rivals. Simon De Pietro’s Irish CNB 76, Lilla was third at Messina.
IRC FOUR at Messina
Infanta lead the class and the race overall at Messina but two well prepared and well sailed Maltese yachts are just seconds behind on corrected time. Artie-RTFX, co-skippered by Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard, and Otra Vez, skippered by Edward & Aaron Gatt Floridia, are both J-122 designs. The more modern design and their sail configuration should give the Maltese duo and an advantage in the latter part of the race. It is too early to tell if these two yachts will have a chance of capturing the overall prize but the forecast conditions ahead may well suit the high performance yachts in IRC 4 and the close rivalry between two local yachts will be an added incentive.
IRC Double Handed at Messina
The Italian Class 40, TWT Ucomm, skippered by Marco Rodolfi, leads the two handed class by just over 20 minutes on corrected time at Messina and a close battle is raging for second place between Manuel Costantin’s Italian First 40, Rebel Urban Design and James & Simon Sweetman’s British First 40.7, Little Emily.