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Sea Sure 2020 - LEADERBOARD

J/111 wins Rolex Middle Sea Race ORC 5 Division

by J/Boats 28 Oct 2021 22:16 BST
Calypso during the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race © Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

The Rolex Middle Sea Race was established as the result of sporting rivalry between great friends, Jimmy White, and Alan Green, two Englishmen residing in Malta, together with Paul and John Ripard, two Maltese members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

Jimmy, Alan, Paul, and John would eventually map a course designed to offer an exciting race in different conditions to those prevailing in Maltese coastal waters. The 606.0 nm course, essentially a clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily starting and finishing in Malta, would be slightly longer than the RORC's longest race, the Rolex Fastnet. The resulting course is the same as used today, although sailed in the reverse, counter-clockwise direction.

Despite the pandemic world we now live in, 114 boats crossed the start line of the 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race, on Saturday 23 October. The Royal Malta Yacht Club once again attracted a diverse and spectacular international fleet for its flagship event.

The fleet ranged in size from 140 feet (42.56 metres) down to some comparatively, small 30-footers (like the J/99's). Skorpios, the monstrous Swan 125 canting-keeler, was monohull line honours winner at the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race and was the runaway Goliath for the race. The David's were the J/99s Calypso (Malta) and Space Jockey (Russia).

One navigator on one of the Goliaths explained, "it's looking interesting because there is a Low-pressure system developing over North Africa that will move over the racecourse," he explained. "We should see really quite strong winds, which has been unusual for this race (in recent years). The forecast looks good for us. Our routings show a realistic chance that, if we sail well, we will be under record time. The question is whether there is anyone in front."

Another Goliath navigator confirmed the importance of the Low-pressure system moving off North Africa, "it will be the dominant weather feature, leaving us with good gradient throughout the course. There will be two tight transition zones at the Strait and on the western side of Sicily. The leg from Lampedusa also seems quite fluid with uncertainty about the eventual position of the Low, and that is probably the biggest variable left to work out."

The forecast was casting a long shadow for the David's of the fleet, with a tough race ahead for the smaller slower boats. They had the prospect of confronting winds over 30 knots during the race and massively choppy seas of up to 5 meters high as they sailed westerly across the top of Sicily.

ORC Division

Winning the ORC 5 Division by over an hour corrected time was Peter Gustafsson's Swedish J/111 BLUR.SE. They led a sweep of the top two spots, with the duo of Cascino & Fornich's J/122E Joy-Spartivento taking the silver medal. Fourth went to the American John Duncan's J/122 Noisy Oyster.

Taking the silver medal in the ORC 6 Division was Sebastian Ripard's J/99 Calypso. Two J/109s ended up not far behind them, the Maltese JYS Jan took 5th place and the Italian Chestress took 6th place.

In the ORC Overall standings, Ripard's J/99 Calypso ended up fourth in the fleet of 90+ boats.

IRC Division

The J/122 Joy-Spartivento from Italy, sailed by the duo of Cascino & Fornich, ended up taking a hard-fought bronze medal on the podium in IRC 5 Class, missing the silver by a mere 11 minutes after 606.0nm of sailing. They led a large contingent of larger J/Teams, with Peter Gustafsson's Swedish team on the J/111 BLUR.SE taking 4th, the Russian Alexey Moskvin sailed his J/122E BURAN to 5th place, Chris Daniel's British team on the J/122E Juno took 7th, the American John Duncan's J/122 Noisy Oyster was 8th, and Yves Grosjean's French crew on the J/133 Jivaro took 9th. Six of the top nine teams were J/Boats is a pretty impressive performance in this challenging race.

In the huge IRC 6 Class saw Sebastian Ripard's J/99 Calypso take the bronze medal, an amazing outcome for one of the smallest boats in the whole fleet! Rolex Middle Sea Race YB Tracker- click here Click here for more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information.

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