A Rolex Middle Sea Race like this will probably go down in the annals of yacht racing. Along the 605-mile course of what is regarded as one of the most iconic races in the world, a piece of offshore sailing history was written. Two new records have been set: the first is Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 Argo, whose time of 33 hours 29 minutes 28 seconds set a new record for multihulls after winning the match race style duel against Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati. The challenge between the two multihulls was controversial: it seems that the two crews had agreed to race without foils, but at the last moment Argo changed its mind and mounted a flying trim, while Maserati did not.
The Italian Mod 70 was in the lead for a long time, but succumbed on the descent to Pantellerie and Lampedusa, where she couldn’t do much against her rival’s higher speeds and also had a technical problem that slowed her down. “We had a failure in the mast control system, which allows us to move the mast to the right and left by means of hydraulic cylinders: suddenly the mast found itself free and it plummeted downwind, tilted 45-50 degrees with respect to the deck. With a lot of work from the whole crew, using pulleys and ropes we managed to remove the sails, straighten the mast and secure it with a temporary system. At that point, with a gap of almost two hours from Argo and Mana approaching, we got back on track and managed to cross the finish line in second place, it was a great achievement,” said Soldini. Maserati’s Middle was not exactly lucky, and as it has often happened, technical problems are sometimes one of its Achilles heels.
The maxi 100 Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth, set a new monohull record of 40 hours 17 minutes 50 seconds, beating Rambler’s record that had stood since 2007. Surprisingly, it was the 100-footer that won the line of honour, overtaking the Club Swan 125 Skorpios, the eve’s favourite.
As for the IRC overall classification, which awards overall victory in the Middle Sea Race, the situation is still uncertain. The boats to be monitored, according to the passages in Favignana and Lampedusa, would be the Ker 46 Daguet 3 and the JPK 1180 Sunrise. But we still have to wait at least 24 hours for a verdict.
The weather conditions so far have been tough, with winds of over 30 knots, but not prohibitive, and there have been no reports of many retirements. Today, however, a worsening is expected, although the wind direction will still be from the northeast and therefore at a headwind.
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