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2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race - Wizard, Wild Joe and the waiting game in Malta

by Nic Douglass 23 Oct 2019 15:17 BST 19-26 October 2019

Overnight the majority of IRC Division 1 finished the Rolex Middle Sea Race; second home on line honours was Wizard, followed by Wild Joe who had a promising start in the exceptionally light conditions with their slippery RP60 hull shape.

Who can forget them crossing Aegir, or lee bowing Rambler 88, who went on to win their fifth consecutive line honours title?

As our attention starts to turn from line honours bringing the overall and IRC winner back into primary focus, it is becoming more clear that the 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race will be a small boat race.

IRC Divisions 3, 4 and 5 are pushing back to the top of the leaderboard, with BeWild the Swan42 currently leading IRC Overall and Division 4, with last year's overall winner Courrier Recommande a JPK1180 in second overall and leading Division 5.

Elusive 2 the First 45 is second in Division 4 and third overall, and Prima Vista-Lauria, the winner of the Coastal Race have finished first in Division 3 and are sitting in fourth Overall as the boat to beat on corrected time.

So the waiting continues, and we will see how it all plays out in the next few hours!

Video update direct from the Royal Malta Yacht Club

Catching up with Artie III

The first Maltese boat is now also home - great to chat with Lee Satariano at the end of his 15th Rolex Middle Sea, and Christian Ripard at the end of his 30th (!!!). Unbelievable, and great to see this boat with a focus on youth return safely after it's first race.

I also spotted Annemieke Bes on the crew, great to catch up with this amazing sailor girl at the end of her first Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Catching up with Wizard dockside

I met Wizard Racing on the dock last night to recap their first Rolex Middle Sea Race. The pressure was always going to be on for this team who have had an amazing year, including winning the Carribbean 600, Transatlantic and Rolex Fastnet Race.

I had a chat with Richard Clarke, the co-skipper of Wizard with the Askew's, while he had a well-earned beer and slice of pizza in hand. "You can't win them all" he said. "And we have found our weaknesses... running in 2-4 knots we are definitely off the pace!"

All of the crew had amazing things to say about Stromboli, which was in full eruption when the team passed in the pitch black, in next to no pressure - so there was time to take in the scenery.

While the forecast was not ideal for the team, they still set off with a positive spirit as you can see in my interview with Peter Askew and David Askew before the start to preview their race, recap their amazing year and chat about their upcoming program, which will include defending the Carribbean 600, the Tahiti Race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Sydney to Auckland Race in 2021.

Live on board Wizard warming up!

Before the 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race I was lucky enough to go out for a training session on board the Volvo 70 Wizard. Here is the raw and unedited piece from the back of the boat, the cockpit, and down below. Great to get you all up close and personal and behind the scenes with one of the most successful yachts of the year!

I look forward to meeting more boats on the dock in the next 24 hours, and bringing you live interviews to finish off our story with Richard Schultheis from XP-Act, as well as the major prize winners.

Find more adventures at sailorgirlhq.com

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