Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Final Day RC44 Valletta Cup - No Racing

Lovely day out on spectator boat to watch the final day of racing for the RC44 Valletta Cup. Unfortunately racing was cancelled due to light shifty winds, but still managed a few shots and a great opportunity to get up close to these exciting hi-tec boats.

Pics: Bunty Cachia
For best viewing click on pics to enlarge

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RC Valletta Cup Gets Under Way

Today saw the start of the 2016 edition of the RC44 Valletta Cup. The first day's racing was held towards the outer part of the the Grand Harbour where there was a clearer wind. Wind was light but these amazing boats still picked up some pretty impressive speed. The next few days of racing will be held off the coast of Sliema.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

UNICA Wins Double Handed

After many weeks of preparation for Jamie Sammut and John Cachia, UNICA's double handed team, the much anticipated 2016 edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has come to an end and ended on a real high with UNICA as winners of this class.

They had a fantastic start in light conditions and were first boat (and first Maltese boat) out of the harbour. Each leg of the 600+ mile long course had its ups and down. The toughest leg was rounding Favignana straight in to a 30 knot head on wind to Pantalleria. The wind died down a bit at this checkpoint but it was still a beat to Lampedusa where a lack of wind lost them quite a few places. Past Lampedusa and it was homeward bound. On this last leg the wind changed direction, so they had the wind behind them enabling them to keep up a good speed. 

Throughout the race UNICA passed each checkpoint managing to keep the lead, but it was in the final 24 hours, with Jboat 2Hard (literally too hard on their tail) that the result was going to be touch and go. It was due to the very light wind conditions around Malta that 2Hard was stopped from being able to catch up and grab the coveted prize.

A big thank you from TEAM UNICA for all the support from their sponsors.

Below are some of my favourite pictures taken by various people throughout the event.

UNICA ready to race Pic: Bunty Cachia
John setting up a sail pre start Pic: Bunty Cachia
Just before the start of the race Pic: Bunty Cachia

UNICA - 2nd boat from R - heading out of the harbour Pic: Bunty Cachia

Great shot of UNICA just before leaving the harbour, first boat out Pic: Paul Ellul

Top and below: Taken by Jamie's drone 

On their way to Stromboli Pic: Kurt Arrigo for Rolex

The next two shots below are pretty awful ones but all I have - taken with my phone

Being interviewed by Rolex film crew

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Looks like there is a 2016 RMSR Winner

Word is out that Mascalzone Latino is this year's Rolex Middle Sea Race winner. I don't think it is actually official as I write this, but the chances of any boat being in on time to take the lead is highly unlikely.
Congratulations to Team Mascalzone Latino!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day 3 into Day 4 - 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race

The past 36 hours have brought quite a change and jostling for position. The leg from Stromboli to Favignana always proves to be an interesting one. Leading boat at Stromboli, ARTIE, kept their lead but lost ground before Palermo with other members of the fleet closing in. OTRA VEZ had a good leg up until Palermo then lost a bit while SEAWOLF (an RMSR regular) also gained as did FOGGY DEW - one of the small boats in the fleet but proving to be very fast and stiff competition.
The Maltese boats had all been up in the first 20 of the fleet up until this point then there was quite a big change in results once they rounded Favignana and went in to a head on wind towards Pantalleria. Throughout the race Class 2 boat MASCALZONE LATINO has also been one of the front runners at each checkpoint and is one of the favourites to win.

Malta's UNICA - double handed and leading double hander so far - had a good run most of the way towards the west of Sicily but seemed to have got stuck in a wind hole. They took a while to round the Favignana checkpoint and lost quite a few places in the overall ranking whilst still keeping their double handed lead. Unfortunately, a few miles south of Favinana OTRA VEZ had to retire and head for land. 

At this fourth checkpoint there has been a change in the standing tables with FOGGY DEW taking the lead and ARTIE down to the 3rd place overall. The other Maltese boats also dropped places but ELUSIVE gained two placecs.  XP-ACT, who has had a pretty good race so far, also lost a few places here.

Next checkpoint - Pantalleria. As I write MASCALZONE LATINO is at the top of the leader board with FOGGY DEW in second place followed by ARTIE.  ELUSIVE and XPACT are standing at 9th and 12th but positions may change as more round this mark.
The wind has been in the 20 knot region on this beat up to Pantalleria but is now slowing down and lighter winds have been forecast for the remainder of the race. Positions are still changing though the first three placings will probably stay as they are.

Below some more pictures from the start of the race.

Class 1 start - Pic Bunty Cachia

Class 1 start - Pic Bunty Cachia

Xpedite -  Pic Bunty Cachia

Mascalzone Latino - Pic Bunty Cachia

Otra Vez on start line - Pic Bunty Cachia

Artie - Pic Paul Ellul

Unica - Pic Paul Ellul

XPact - Pic Paul Ellul

Class 6 start with Seawolf,  Foggy Dew and 2Hard - Pic Bunty Cachia


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