Music wins ORC Division in Rolex Middle Sea Race

 

27 October 2017

   
  With 74 yachts in the ORC Division starting the 38th edition of the race, James Blakemore's South African Swan 53 Music is the winner, with Nikolay Drozdov's Russian Elan 35 Rosatom Sailing Team in second, just 30 minutes ahead of Zdenek Jakoubek's M37 Hebe V from the Czech Republic in third.

The start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is nothing short of spectacular. Flash, smoke and noise from the 32-pounder artillery pieces at the Saluting Battery, herald each start and the ancient bastions of Valletta resonate with the power. Grand Harbour is transformed into a gladiatorial arena and there is action right from the off as yachts jostle for position. Several boats were caught out, misjudged their timing in the rush to get underway and were forced to restart.

On the first night, and throughout the second day, fickle winds and tricky currents formed a complex conundrum of the course. However in the early hours of day three, the fleet experienced a building westerly breeze with the majority of the fleet beating 150 miles from Stromboli to Favignana in a confused sea state. Once past the northwest corner of the course, the reward was 300 miles of downwind action in close to gale conditions. Those teams that kept going in the light and harnessed the fast conditions, reaped the best rewards.

“Music is a magnificent seaworthy boat. We picked up 45 knots in a squall near Lampedusa, the rain came down and it was surreal. We ran down with it for ten minutes, banged about a bit and got a look at our keel, but we knew she would handle it!” Blakemore is full of praise for his crew. The boat is just the vessel. It takes human skill and resilience to get it around the course fast and safe. “The crew have been outstanding,” he advised. “I have seven heroes. Mike Giles my crew boss is a spectacular individual. Gerry Hegie, the Boat Captain, is a man mountain. He will sit at the wheel in the roughest weather for six hours without a problem.

“For the young Cape Town boys on board, they have been given a great opportunity to come and sail, and they have taken it with both hands. The crew have really been single-minded about concentrating on the race and getting the boat round.”
In ORC 1 Australian Supermaxi CQS, skippered by Ludde Ingvall, was the first yacht to finish racing in the ORC Division. However, after time correction German Botin 65 Caro, skippered by Maximilian Klink, was the class winner by a significant margin. Sergey Egorov's Reichel Pugh 78 Artic Energy was third. In ORC 2, Quintin Stewart's British Infiniti 46 Maverick corrected out to win the class by 41 minutes, from Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka 3.Michael Aftias' Greek Pogo 50 Eros was third.

In ORC 3 Milan Fabian's Lucia X was the winner. The Slovakian crew was the only team in the class to finish the race. In ORC Four Music was the victor ahead of two Maltese boats. Timmy Camilleri & Josef Shultheis' Xp44 Xp-ACT corrected out to take second in class, ahead of Maltese First 45 Elusive 2, sailed by the Podesta family. In ORC 5 Jaume Binimelis' Spanish Nautatec 40 Petrouchka III was the winner, 27 minutes ahead on corrected time from Joseph Mele's American Swan 44 Triple Lindy. In ORC 6 Rosatom Sailing Team was the winner by 30 minutes on corrected time from Hebe V, Piercarlo Antonelli's Italian Sun Fast 3600 Bora Fast was third.
 
   
 

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