Born and bred on the island of Malta - a great little rock in the middle of the Med. This blog focusses mainly on Gozo, windsurfing, sailing, cultural things to do with Malta and Gozo and some odd photography bits and pieces.
ARTIE trying to make the most of the light winds and lumpy seas on the way to the finish
ARTIE sailing down the coast heading for the finish
Lee and Christian - skippers of Artie coming towards the finish line
In a total daze and still cannot believe that our lovely lads actually made it to first place overall, first in class and first Maltese boat in after completing quite a gruelling Rolex Middle Sea Race. I had really thought there was no chance, and only on arriving down at the yacht club to see them in over the finish line did I realise they were still in for a chance. There was a lovely atmosphere down at the club's waterfront as the tension gradually built up the closer we got to the time limit for the arrival of AOC ROCKALL. Once that time limit had passed and ROCKALL was still nowhere to be seen there were shouts of joy, congratulations, bottle corks popping celebrating a Maltese victory - and what a victory! A very 'proud mum' moment for me seeing my son (bowman) part of such a great team.
ROCKALL were, for them, the boat to beat throughout the race and really kept them on their toes throughout. It was a very nice sight to see the ARTIE team go down to greet the ROCKALL crew as they came in. Good sportsmenship all round.
Having said all that I have to compliment the rest of our Maltese teams who all did exceptionally well. As I type, in the first seven overall positions five of the boats are Maltese boats. This must be a record for Malta to have so many local boats in the first few placings. JARU did really well since they only decided to compete in the race a couple of days before !
RAN - as things stand right now I think they may have a good chance of winning the overall - all depends on whether the wind picks up a bit around our shores. At the moment it is all guess work who will actually win the overall prize. Pic: Kurt Arrigo for RMSR
Plagued by light wind conditions Class 3 and 4 yachts are now approaching the Comino Channel on their final leg back home. ARTIE is really pushing to be first Maltese boat back home - quite a coveted prize - but they have quite a few Maltese contenders hot on their heels. They are still pushing as hard as they can to increase their lead to enable them to pass AOC ROCKALL on corrected time. It has been a slow race and now it has become nailbiting as they sail in towards the finish line. All our Maltese crews have done amazingly well racing against such a high calibre of world sailor and I know I speak on behalf of many many locals when I say we are proud of them all and have shown visiting sailors that they are tough competition on the water.
For the latest news report on the race you press on this LINK.
AOC ROCKALL is leading on the overall positions right now as they head towards the next landmark of Lampedusa. She is giving our lovely lads a real run for their money! BUT having said that I think it is more our lads giving THEM a run for their money!! I personally think our Maltese sailors, as a whole, have alot to be proud of cos they are all placing pretty well racing against some very top competition.
Unfortunately COMANCHE RAIDER had rudder problems and had to retire from the race and go into Favignana
ARTIE - the boat that has our full support . They came second overall last year just missing the coveted first place by a mere 26 minutes behind LUCKY. Right now they stand in 2nd position behind ROCKALL overall. ROCKALL increased their lead on corrected time by roughly 20 mins (by my calculations so stand to be corrected!) between the checkpoints of Favignana and Pantelleria.
OTRA VEZ is hard on the heals of ARTIE. They have a broken bowsprit - now it remains to be seen if they are going to need to use it as they are heading upwind on the present leg.
Most boats have now rounded the next check point of Favignana off the West coast of Sicily and provisional overall positions have shifted. Happy to see that ARTIE has gained some ground and is now standing 2nd in the prov overall table and 2nd in their class just behind AOC ROCKALL who is going to be a tough one to beat. Due to the very light wind conditions they have been having throughout the race, it has been very close between boats right the way through but now Favignana has been rounded the excitement is setting in even more.
Looks like another day totally glued to the TRACKER!!!
The famous Middle Sea Race landmark of Stromboli which erupts every 20 minutes. Photo by Kurt Arrigo
Practically all the fleet have now rounded Stromboli whilst Esimit has just rounded Pantelleria and is heading towards Lampedusa. Overall it is still looking like Esimit is going to win the race so it is now the battle for the classes. In class 4, which is of particular interest to me since it is the class my son races is and also many good friends, provisional results on rounding Stromboli are so close that there are just a couple of minutes between the first 15 boats on corrected time! That's how close it is! Looking at an update on the tracker I am happy to see that ARTIE seems to have progressed position wise in the fleet but there is a long way to do go and if light winds persist positions will constantly change.
In class 3 the first 4 boats on rounding Stromboli on corrected time are Maltese boats.
Click on the link above to get onto the RMSR tracker to follow the race. The bulk of the fleet are heading for Stromboli tonight where they will be given a spectacular ''fireworks'' show as always. Meanwhile ESIMIT is heading towards Favignana and should be back home by tomorrow evening latest.
The 2011 edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race got off to a slow start this morning with dull stormy skies and light southerly breezes. ARTIE, unfortunately, had a bad start crossing the line around mid fleet in the first group of starters at 11.00am. Nevertheless, they soon caught up and by the time they rounded the marker off Pembroke and headed out to sea towards Capo Passero they were already leading the entire fleet by a good margin. Once the the large 80-100' boats had started they soon caught up and overtook the rest of the fleet and as I type ESIMIT and RAN have actually passed Capo Passero with the rest of the fleet between the Cape and half way across the channel. The wind is light so progress is pretty slow but the average boat speed seems to be around 6.5knots.
Unfortunately, this year I was unable to take any photos on the start since last night all my camera gear was stolen. It will be sorely missed and I cannot foresee buying anything in the near future. So I am going to have to rely on using other people's photographs for the time being.
The race can be closely followed on the Middle Sea Race TRACKER .
The start of the coastal race which is more or less a warm up for the Rolex Middle Sea Race which starts in the Grand Harbour (Malta) this coming Saturday. The race took the yachts around the small island of Filfla.
ESIMIT took line honours in this race and also was overall winner on handicap.
VIKESHA II - an XP44 - came 2nd overall in the coastal race and is skippered and owned by Oleg Evdokimenko and co-skippered by Maltese skipper Timmy Camilleri
All photos taken by our local expert Kurt Arrigo. Kurt takes the most amazing photos and specialises in sailing photography. He is a keen sailor himself and has published a lovely book which I am happy to have a copy of. Take a look at his website.
Last year's overall winner ''LUCKY'' coming through the Comino Channel on its way home towards the finish
''ARTIE'' (local Maltese boat and crew) came 2nd overall after a nail biting race and finish just missing a first overall placing by around 26 minutes
''SEAWOLF'' has become a very familiar face on the RMSR and is back again this year to take on the challenge of this great race
Once again the Rolex Middle Sea Race will be starting off from the Grand Harbour in Valletta next Saturday 22nd October 2011. It will, no doubt, be a spectacle to watch with the original and historic back drop of the bastions and surrounding creeks in this natural historic harbour.
There are, at present, 80 entrants of which are many well known names of skippers and yachts.
This year yachts are moored at the Grand Harbour Marina in Birgu and a couple of pontoons have also been laid off the Yacht Club in Ta'Xbiex for the smaller classed yachts.
The RMSR website has a tracker which enables enthusiasts to follow the race closely as they make their way around the most interesting offshore race in the Mediterranean (if not the world).