Sailing fast in the gale at the Middle Sea Race: on board Ker 46 Lisa R

Aboard the Ker 46 Lisa R

The Middle Sea Race 2021 is a regatta that has left its mark on those who participated: for the tough conditions faced with winds even over 40 knots, for the endless glides, for the test of endurance that the crews had to endure, and for the proverbial weather variability that this regatta never ceases to give. A trial that also left its mark on the rankings, with last-minute news that we recount HERE. As we anticipated, we heard from the crew of the Ker 46 Lisa R by Giovanni Di Vincenzo, which with its 14th place in IRC overall, third in IRC 3, is the best of the Italians in the ranking. Lisa R’s skipper, Francesco Bertone, told us about the highlights of the Middle Sea Race 2021 and granted us the spectacular video images below.

The Ker 46 Lisa

THE MIDDLE SEA RACE ABOARD LISA R

Ker 46 Lisa R had a leading offshore season, with strong results in all the lengths in which she participated in 2021. A team built from afar, from the victorious seasons with first the X-41 and then the RP 45. Now the offshore program has begun with the Ker 46, a perfect boat for this purpose.

Skipper Francesco Bertone sent us his report on the Middle Sea Race 2021:

“It was a pretty tough Middle, but it was known. We as a team had some new people on board to cover some absences and we were not in top physical condition due to bronchitis passed to us during the week in Malta among the crew members. The start of our class was immediately sprinting. Once we started sailing along the east coast of Sicily, we did not walk very strong (we have an old mainsail that did not help us) and we did not make great strategic choices either. In the Straits, we caught a nice calm (some bad luck). We passed at the end with favorable current but there were still some nice eddies on the way out. At that point began a reaching (slack n.d.r.) at supersonic speeds toward Stromboli and then a long stern.
A really difficult stern. We hoisted the A4 (Asymmetrical high wind to sail at deep angles ed.), then changed to A5. The waves were very short and steep. The boat would start on a glide but would always enter the waves in front. Then we had a straorzona, from which we came out with the stern pulpit torn off. We continued with “triple head” mode (three headsails on the bow, which are usually an asymmetrical on whip, the jib and a staysail or similar ed.). The conditions required great concentration, and even in the night, going at 20-plus knots of speed in pitch darkness was difficult because the sky was very cloudy and nothing could be seen.

Lisa R on arrival in Malta. Noticeable at the stern is the absence of the pulpit and the makeshift repair made by the crew to keep the dragnets taut. Photo Francis Bertone

Giant thunderstorms have started in the St. Vitus area, variable winds, and water in buckets. Only (relatively) quiet time between Egadi and Pantelleria to be able to cook some meals. Then a nice stern on Lampedusa with strong winds, but much more manageable conditions (17-20 knots). From Lampedusa to Malta perhaps the most difficult stretch: a wide upwind near the eye of the storm with scary cross seas. We wanted to try to preserve the boat, but it was so hard. We also decided to go slower, to jump a few less times on the waves and fall back not crashing the whole structure all the time. The last night in the sea was still with huge thunderstorms and grooves with water in torrents.”

Lisa R finished her Middle Sea Race 2021 with a time of 2 days, 19 hours, 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

THE ON BOARD VIDEO ON LISA

The conditions faced by Italy’s Ker 46 and all the rest of the fleet are well described in this video. You can see how in some pictures the boat sails with the asymmetric nylon bow and in some it is in “triple head” mode, depending on the conditions at the time. The very large amount of water falling into the cockpit was due to what Francesco Bertone explained: the short, steep sea that did not allow the boat to glide continuously. A true test of endurance for crew and materials.

On Lisa R at the Middle Sea Race 2021 sailed: Gianni Di Vincenzo (owner and helmsman), Francesco Bertone (skipper), Simon Sivitz (helmsman), Giovanni Bonzio (helmsman), Alessandro Mené (helmsman), Matteo Ramian (trimmer), Francesco Murillo (trimmer), Fabio De Simoni (trimmer), Matteo Pagliuca (midbow), Piero Riccetti (bowman), Marco Furlan (bowman)

 

Mauro Giuffrè


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