Monday, October 29, 2012

Early Morning Aroma

Pic: Bunty

The hour has gone back and we are on Winter time again. Up at dawn - not quite dawn as it is so dark outside it could be the middle of the night.
Out I go to join the early morning throng of delivery vans and tradesmen to catch the 5.45am ferry to Gozo and start a new week.

One could think of the ferry as just a basic and necessary form of transport connecting Malta to Gozo. Not so - this essential  link has almost become an extension of my home. As I board and start up the stairs, the welcoming smell of fresh ''Pastizzi'' warms the chilly morning air. 
At this time of day a good old cup of tea will suffice, but the ''Pastizzi'' aroma completes the early morning atmosphere.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Middle Sea Race Comes to an End

Hi-Fidelity from South Africa. Winner of the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race (photo courtesy of Kurt Arrigo for Rolex)

Team Artie-RTFX winners of Class 4 IRC and ORC and first Maltese Boat in

Once again the Rolex Middle Sea Race comes to an end, and once again our Maltese sailors have done us proud. 
The prize giving took place yesterday at the Mediterranean Conference Centre - also a prize giving with a difference taking place within the historical surroundings of the MCC.

A recap video of the race can be seen on

Until next year!

Friday, October 26, 2012

ARTIE Makes it Back Home

Between midnight and 1am last night ARTIE RTFX crossed the finish line in Marsamxett harbour, Malta. The crew were in high spirits although exhausted, both physically and mentally, after the gruelling 600+ mile race in lighter than light wind conditions.

Once again, for the third year in a row, the ARTIE team have proved they are an excellent bunch of sailors and can give the pros a good run for their money.

Their positions are 1st in Class 4, 5th Overall and 1st Maltese boat in. COMANCHE RAIDER was threatening to steal the title of 1st Maltese boat right until the bitter end. COMANCHE had a very good race too and were hot on ARTIE's tail for most of the race.
The rest of the fleet have been slowly coming in during the night but it will be a very slow finish for all of them as wind conditions have still not  improved. 
Typically, starting from tomorrow, the forecast for the next week is strong winds!!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hi-Fidelity Confirmed 2012 RMSR Overall Winner

Photo taken off the RMSR website

The crew of South African yacht Hi-Fidelity outside the yacht club after being declared overall winners of this year's race.

The race is now on to see who will be the first Maltese boat in. Artie RTFX has a good chance of being that yacht and coming first in their class - Class 4. Once they are in we will then know how they stand in the overall placings. At this moment Artie RTFX is approaching the Comino Channel before making its way on the last stretch down the west coast of Malta back to the harbour.

You can read the latest News about the race on HERE

Hi-Fidelity - Has she Snatched the RMSR 2012 Crown?

The 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race will certainly be one to remember. As the 2007 RMSR is infamously known for it's extreme gale force conditions, so will the 2012 RMSR be remembered for its total lack of wind.
All crews have pushed themselves (and are still pushing themselves) to their limit to increase every half a knot of boat speed throughout the race.

It seems, as I write, that Hi-Fidelity has actually taken the title this year. As the majority of the fleet round Lampedusa and start their approach to Malta, the little bit of wind they had now seems to be dying down. Around Malta there is minimal wind and by tonight the remaining yachts will probably be caught up in yet another wind hole.

I suppose one would have to call this one of the most challenging, stressful and frustrating races - certainly in the past decade or more. It is a big disappointment for team ARTIE RTFX who have been one of the firm favourites throughout these past few days. XP-ACT kept them on their toes and finally got the better of them in the last 24 hours. They approach the Comino Channel as I write. QUOKKA was also considered as a likely contender this year, but, as we seem to learn more and more as each year goes by, it is impossible to even predict who will actually steal that coveted prize. Surprises are usually sprung at the last minute.

ARTIE RTFX on the way out of the Grand Harbour at the start of the 2012 RMSR (pic Bunty)

Hi-Fidelity after the Class 2 start of the 2012 RMSR
(pic Bunty)

Now we look forward to seeing family and friends back home. Look forward to hearing all the different stories and most of all look forward to the race again next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ARTIE Still Holding on .......just!

Above pictures (Kurt Arrigo for Rolex) are ESIMIT finishing last night and RAN giving it's best on the last leg of the 600 mile plus journey.

More or less half the fleet have now passed or are passing the island of Pantelleria. At this point ARTIE RTFX is still leading overall with XP-ACT in a very close second. HI-FIDELITY and TAKESHA are 3rd and 4th respectively at this point in time. ESIMIT is home as are RAN, STIG and MED SPIRIT. 
The next marker to round for most of the fleet will be Lampedusa. 

Here in Malta a storm is brewing with thunder rumbling close by and in the distance. I expect this storm will reach the home coming yachts (infact some have already experienced some thunder and lightening). This will no doubt make the race even more interesting and mean many more sail changes in order to keep up and increase their boat speed.

It is interesting to read some of the blog posts on the RMSR website. These can be found HERE

Meanwhile, web traffic following the race continues. It would be interesting to know just how many hits the Tracker page has had since the start of the race!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ARTIE Pushing Towards Favignana




Although the wind has been extremely light most of the time, there have been very short bursts where a bit of wind has made an appearance. Apart from the start on day 1, there was some decent wind on leaving the Straits of Messina only to be totally becalmed once they reached Stromboli. Progress from Stromboli towards Favignana has been slow (to put it mildly). Once the leading big boats rounded Favignana they were able to catch a better breeze and the second half of the race is proving to be a bit faster for them. Esimit is, in fact, on the homeward leg and is due in sometime tonight.

Now that some of the yachts have passed, or are heading towards Pantelleria, the race has been thrown open with alot of possibilities as to who may actually win the race. But, ofcourse, that is anyone's guess. As seen in past races, the unexpected can happen within metres of the finish line.

ARTIE is still pushing hard. The gaps have closed and there are threats all around them. This means they cannot afford to stray away from total concentration on keeping the boat moving and making sure they do not make any tactical mistakes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

.....and so the Battle goes on!

VENTO DI SARDEGNA and REBEL approaching Stromboli yesterday. Pictures are Rolex pictures form the Rolex Middle Sea Race website

For a full update of what has been happening today during the Middle Sea Race click on this LINK.
This year's race must be one of the most frustrating races so far. Certainly frustrating for the leaders as they have been almost becalmed today giving a chance for the back part of the fleet to catch up. Tonight will be very calm once again but tomorrow may bring a change with a bit of a breeze. Meanwhile, Esimit has pulled ahead a bit from RAN and STIG. It is quite a race between those 3 boats to gain line honours. 
Tomorrow morning will probably bring yet another change - meanwhile we sit and watch!

Update to Rolex Middle Sea Race 2012

Last night the front of the fleet rounded the impressive volcanic island of Stromboli. Winds have been light and some boats have taken a tactical decision to sail up further north in search of a better breeze. Whether that will have paid off or not still remains to be seen.
ARTIE has rounded Stromboli too, but it's present closest rivals have closed the gap. The reputation of this race as a closely contended event is proving to be very true. ARTIE was leading overall once they passed the Messina mark but now they have rounded Stromboli positons have changed. SPEEDY is now leading overall with ARTIE in second place. 
Below are some pictures of ARTIE's close rivals.

Photo of ARTIE RTFX is a Rolex photo taken off

Above is COMANCHE RAIDER also a Rolex photo

Timmy Camilleri (sitting) onboard X-yacht XP-ACT Banks Sails Racing
Photo taken by me prior to the race start

TRUSTMARQUE QUOKKA photo taken by me prior to race start. This boat has apparently had a very good racing season this year and is definitley on of the ones to watch closely

SPEEDY who is leading overall as I type. Photo taken from the RMSR website.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Photo of NOONMARK from


RMSR 2012 - Half the Fleet Through the Straits of Messina

Below are a few more of my pictures before and after the start of the race yesterday.
As I type half the fleet have made it through the Straits of Messina. At that particular point ARTIE RTFX were in the lead overall - but it is early days yet. Winds ahead are light and everyone knows that anything can happen in light winds, but they are pushing hard.

Click on photos to enlarge

ARTIE RTFX pre start

Since the start of the race yesterday family, friends and more have been avidly following the race via the tracker on the RMSR site. Alot of people have probably wondered how this is actually done. The little device (I assume some kind of GPS system) you can see in the photograph above is attached to every boat  competing. This, ofcourse relays the exact postion of the boat enabling us to follow practically every move they make.  
Things have come a long way since those early Middle Sea Race days when the sailors themselves did alot of their navigation by dead reckoning and nobody really knew when the competitors were going to turn up!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Funnier Side of the RMSR Start

Not sure who the above picture belongs to (could it be Victor Pulis??) but it has been put up on Facebook and think it very amusing. The wonders of Photoshop!

Middle Sea Race Start 2012

Lee Satariano - Skipper and Owner of ''ARTIE RTFX''

Christian Ripard -Skipper and Chief Helmsman of ''ARTIE RTFX''

Some of the crew members before the start of the race on board

ARTIE RTFX pre race start

''ARTIE RTFX'' just after the race start

The start of the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race was as spectacular as ever with close to 90 sleek and graceful sailing yachts enhancing the already beautiful Grand Harbour in Malta.
With a moderate South Easterly  wind blowing, boats jostled to start as upwind as possible to avoid having to tack out of the harbour. Last year's winner, local team ARTIE RTFX, had a good start and headed straight out of the harbour. Another Maltese boat, Juno Oiltanking, also had a very good start in the next start together with XP-ACT Banks Sails Racing (I mention these two classes as these are the classes the Maltese boats are in).

Regular RMSR sailor, David Latham, onboard his Pronavia 38, unfortunately had a bad start as they had to turn around and restart - they must have been over the line. Though looking back at some video footage I took of the start they did not seem to be over the line, but I was upwind of the start line so it is deceiving.

The large boats are always amazing to watch - masts taller than the bastions. Fast and sleek, they are impressive even to those who do not follow the sport. RAN and STIG were neck and neck on the start line with RAN having the upper hand. By the time they approached the harbour entrance they actually seemed to be planing out - such a wonderful sight!

Once again Malta is privilaged to have, as it's guests, such an array of international sailors. From world class past America's Cup and Volvo Ocean racers to local amateur teams (who have shown they can be up at the top with the best), and teams of keen cruisers who enjoy the thrill of participating in this unique race.

So the next few days will be tense, even for us armchair sailors, who will be checking the RACE TRACKER regularly throughout the day (and night!) following every move our favourite teams will be making.

I will update this blog as regularly as I can. I will also be posting various pre race and race start pictures that I have taken during the coming days.

''BET1128'' tacking after their class start

''RAN'', ''STIG'' and ''ESIMIT'' crossing the start line

All photos taken by Bunty Cachia ©

Pre RMSR 2012

 Watch a preview of the Rolex Middle Sea Race on the link below.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's That Time of the Year Again

ARTIE out training earlier this week

Some of the crew on last year's winner ARTIE 

Seawolf of Southampton - came 4th in their class in the coastal race on Wednesday. Seawolf is skippered by David Latham of Atlantic Charters and is a regular on the Rolex Middle Sea Race

It's that time of year - the Rolex Middle Sea Race is with us once again. This year it looks like a record number of participants reaching the 90 and over stage. It will be a jam packed harbour tomorrow morning as boats jostle for position around the start line between the customs house and Fort St. Angelo in our lovely Grand Harbour.
As usual, we have top class sailors in this race - America's Cup veterans, Volvo Ocean sailors and many sailors who do the circuit....Fastnet, Sydney-Hobart, Antigua week, Giraglia etc etc.
The big maxi Esimit Europa 2 has also become a regular on the race and arrived just a couple of days ago after establishing a new benchmark time and world record run between Trieste and Valletta - a total of around 700 miles. The time set is 68hrs 42mins 24secs. This still has to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. You can see an interview on the RMSR site HERE

Kurt Arrigo is official photographer for Rolex on the race. Above pictures were taken by him. You can view more of his great pics on the RMSR website  and also some really terrific photos on his own website HERE

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pics of the Week

Below just a few pictures taken this week

Stefan's Surf Mobile

Henry on Starboard Isonic







Monday, October 08, 2012

New Record Breaking Challenge from Trieste to Malta

The following article was taken off the Rolex Middle Sea Race website.

A challenge that is not only joining two cities and two yacht clubs, but also two renowned regattas. Esimit Europa 2 will set its sails, aiming to establish the benchmark for the passage record Trieste to Valletta and the Medot Sailing Trophy – presented to any monohull breaking the established record in the period between Barcolana and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

2nd October; Gorizia (Italy) Having such a successful season under its wing, the Esimit Sailing Team, led by legendary German skipper Jochen Schümann, is in perfect shape to set a new milestone. The passage record from Trieste to Valletta and the Medot Sailing Trophy are the new challenges for the sailing world.

New challenge open for all classes: Passage record Trieste to Valletta

Esimit Europa 2, one of the world’s fastest yachts, will set it sails, aiming to establish the benchmark for the approximately 600 nautical miles long passage between Trieste (Italy) and Valletta (Malta) - open to all classes and recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. For initiator Igor Sim?i?, that’s the new challenge after the record breaking season and a new big test for the crew: “Esimit Europa 2 is, like many other boats, taking part at the Barcolana and gets on it’s way to Valletta immediately after the finish to compete at the Rolex Middle Sea Race. With the initiation of this world sailing record, we want to inspire other yachts to take part in connecting the two regattas.”

Medot Sailing Trophy presented to monohulls breaking the passage record

For monohulls breaking the passage record from Trieste to Valletta, a very special trophy has been created. The Medot Sailing Trophy, named by the sparkling wine produced by Igor Sim?i?’s family. But not all challengers are going to be presented with this unique award: “The world sailing record has to be broken by monohulls in the time frame between the Barcolana and the Rolex Middle Sea Race”, explains Igor Sim?i?, founder of the Esimit Europa project.

A trophy uniting two cities, two regattas and two yacht clubs
Initiated by Esimit Europa, this new project could not have been realized without the organizational help of the “Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano” as well as the “Royal Malta Yacht Club”.

“Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano with great enthusiasm joined the Esimit Europa’s proposal to organize a passage record which will connect the route between the Barcolana and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. We have worked hard to define the technical details and even cooperated with the chief race officer of the Barcolana, Tullio Giraldi, and sports director Daniele Roba. Esimit Europa’s initiative certainly opens an opportunity for the Barcolana to collaborate with the Rolex Middle Sea Race, while also being a part of the initiative which has all the right characteristics to become a great sailing challenge. For crossing the Adriatic in the fastest time possible, the participants need to choose the best route, find the best winds and pick the best weather forecast. It is our big wish that Esimit Europa 2 is soon joined also by other boats which will be eager to take on the challenge and compete on this intriguing passage holding many possibilities from the standpoint of the navigator,” said the president of Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano Vincenzo Spina.

“The Royal Malta Yacht Club has a deep commitment to yachting and organizes a full programme of racing activities with the Rolex Middle Sea Race as one of the most important. Being on the crossroad of the Mediterranean, the club itself as well as Malta and its capital Valletta are very much open to cooperation with other nations. As the co-organizer, we are therefore warmly welcoming the Esimit Europa’s initiative to set the benchmark for the Trieste – Valletta passage record. By this we are not showing just our dedication to organization of top-level yachting events, but also promoting competitive spirit and necessity of collaboration as foundation for outstanding results. I wish Esimit Europa 2 fair winds and at the same time I encourage other sailors to take up the challenge for the Medot Sailing Trophy,” said Godwin Zammit, commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

Connecting the cities of Trieste and Valletta as well as the races Barcolana and Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Medot Sailing Trophy will be revealed during this year’s Barcolana and presented in Valletta.

About Esimit Europa 2

Image taken from

The Esimit Europa 2 yacht sails under the flag of the European Union, is registered in Cyprus, a member of the Yacht Club de Monaco, competes for the Slovenian Sailing Federation and on board joins sailors from 8 different European countries. It is under the patronage of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and endorsed by Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament. Its main sponsor is the global energy company Gazprom, while BMW is the official partner.

Out and About

Views from the ridge looking towards Mellieha.

I have said it before and I say it again - my blogging has become very haphazzard and I need to do something about it. I need to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and just get on with it and do it. I also need to go out there and get some good photos to start building up my library once again.

What's been happening recently? Gozo Farmhouse Rentals is still going strong with the season coming to an end towards the end of this month. Great feedback from guests and we are over the moon with the result of the conversion. Very positive !

October has been much warmer than average this year, some days temperatures have even soured up to the mid 30's. A lot of southerly breezes making it very hot and muggy and humid. This week has brought very slightly cooler air from the NW. In fact today wind was promised but so far not enough to go out windsurfing - just a tease, though enough for the kites, so may take my camera down there later on and try and get some good shots and video both in and out of the water.

The sea is still warm and yesterday was crystal clear whilst snorkelling in the channel between Malta and Gozo. One thing Malta and Gozo can boast about is our pexcellent quality of the water around our islands.

Next blog post will be SOOON and plenty of photos to see.

Up and coming event, which I will be covering closely on this blog, is the Rolex Middle Sea Race which start on Saturday 20th October.


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