Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 OFFICIAL PROGRAMME
ISSUE 26 - OCT 11
THE NEW EARTHKEEPERS 6" TRADITIONAL BOOT
Timberland Store, Bisazza Street, Sliema
NATURE NEEDS HEROES
11 And they’re off
29 Close to the wind
12 Alegre andante
35 The Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011
Principal Race Officer Peter Dimech watches the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011.
Alegre skipper Andres Soriano sails to victory.
16 Take it to the limit
Racing is the perfect combination of natural elements, technology and human nature, says Juno owner and skipper Sönke Stein.
20 Jonas and the whale of a time
For Comanche Raider II owner and skipper Jonas Diamantino, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a challenge of endurance but also an opportunity to have fun with his crew.
24 Fine Artie
Matthew Gusman, the pitman on board Artie, shares his most memorable moments of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
It’s the sights and sounds that make the Rolex Middle Sea Race so special, says TonTon crew member Nicky Sammut.
Programme of events and list of participants.
41 A first time for everyone
Giles Pearman meets some of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 participants.
45 On Course
Sailing the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011.
46 Ageing well
History of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
48 First in class
Spinnaker toasts the Rolex Middle Sea Race winners of past editions.
50 Hard at work
The RMYC committee and RMSR 2011 organising committee.
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elcome to Malta and to the 32nd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Many of you return as firm friends and we look forward to extending our usual Maltese hospitality. For those of you entering the race for the first time, I can say with confidence that you are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. For everyone, this year’s event is a cause for true celebration as we mark the 10th anniversary of our partnership with Rolex. We are particularly excited about our new 66-berth pontoon. Many of you will be moored on our doorstep, thus creating a race village – this is a first for the Royal Malta Yacht Club and a facility which will allow us to assist you even further in your preparations for the race. As the size and prestige of the Rolex Middle Sea Race continue to flourish in Malta, the hard work of our staff, volunteers and Committee members must be acknowledged. I thank everyone for their sterling efforts in making this annual event truly memorable. The 606 nautical mile course awaits you with its stunning scenery and its familiar – and undoubtedly unfamiliar – challenges. As you set sail to the traditional sound of cannon fire on October 22, I wish you all fair winds and a safe journey. Georges Bonello DuPuis. Commodore, Royal Malta Yacht Club
Editor Georges Bonello DuPuis Email: email@example.com Consulting Editor Stanley Borg Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Art Direction Porridge: www.weareporridge.com Email: email@example.com Publication Co-ordinators Brian Cremona, Susann Vit, Caroline Furminger
Spinnaker is published by BE Communications Ltd, 37, Amery Street, Sliema, SLM 1702 for the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
Printing Progress Press Distribution Spinnaker is the official publication of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and has a print run of 4,000 copies distributed to all RMYC members, boat and yacht importers, marine outlets, boats berthed at local marinas, ministries and embassies. For information regarding promotion and advertising: Tel: 00 356 2134 2155, 2131 4719 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in Spinnaker are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome but cannot be returned without a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editor is not responsible for material submitted for consideration. © 2011 Be Communications Ltd. All rights reserved.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 9
R E G U L AT I O N S Start of the 31st Rolex Middle Sea Race from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
And they’re off Principal Race Officer Peter Dimech watches the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011.
ay I bid welcome to all the competitors in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Welcome to those who may be visiting for the first time, and those who may be repeat visitors – it is always encouraging to see so many of the latter. This year sees a fleet of boats similar to what we have become accustomed to, with boats ranging from the smallest at about nine metres in length to the largest at almost 30 metres. All of you will be vying for a clean start as close to the line as possible. By Saturday you will have received your start group colour and know which other boats have been placed in the same group. The choice is to keep boats of similar size and rating within the same group. Starts will be at 10-minute intervals, with the slower boats leaving first. The first warning cannon will be at 10:50am on Saturday, October 22. Usually this produces a flurry of frightened pigeons that nest in the walls of the Upper Barrakka Gardens and saluting battery. The cannon blast is heard across the Grand Harbour in a series of rolling echoes. This is followed by an air horn at the start minus four and two further cannons at start minus one minute and at the start. This last blast is the warning signal, start minus 10 minutes, for the next group. So you’re off. I hope none of you have
been too eager and had me call you back as OCS. A few hundred metres to clear the breakwater arms and leave the first mark of the course to port before you head off in a northerly direction to the second mark at St Georges shoals. This is where a greater public sees you as you sail along the Sliema foreshore. Leaving this second mark to starboard you then make your way around the remaining 600 odd miles around Sicily. Now the RMYC’s Rolex Middle Sea Race website comes into play. The organisers, your friends and relatives, sponsors and interested people will click on the name of their favourite boat and follow your course as you go. This is the third Rolex Middle Sea Race at which I have been appointed Principal Race Officer. My bridge team is usually made up of around 10 dedicated volunteers, half of whom will be all eagle eyed to assist me with the line call at the start. The timekeepers, signals and communications officer usually miss the spectacle of 20 odd boats crossing the start line, as they have to concentrate on the work at hand. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is very dear to me – as a young lad I stood on the bastion walls watching the first editions back in the early 1970s. Never did I expect that years later I would have competed seven times, with moderate
success and been appointed PRO. Only those who love sailing can appreciate the progression from competitor to race officer. In an effort to see youngsters step into their elders’ shoes I spent much time laying marks for dinghy races in Malta. When the time came, and my predecessors in race management retired, I stepped in. I will always remember Capt. Benny Grech and Mr Jovin Rausi, the management team at the RMYC and other sailing clubs in Malta. A chance meeting with the legendary Tony Lockett at an international dinghy event here, prompted me to work to obtain official ISAF international appointment. I have gained further experience in race management at international and world events with large fleets on inshore courses. While the race is under way we shall be maintaining a 24 by seven watch at the RMYC race office. We keep tabs on progress by means of the website and the positioning beacons handed out to you, and by your twice daily reporting of positions. This year I am also looking forward to seeing the AIS positions that your equipment should be sending back to us. There are a group of 50 odd volunteers who will assist in maintaining watch. On behalf of my team, may I wish you all fair winds and God speed.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 11
B O AT S
Alegre skipper Andres Soriano sails to victory.
12 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
Andres Soriano, owner and skipper of Alegre, (top and opposite). Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
What first attracted you to sailing?
ANDRES SORIANO I have been sailing since I was eight years old so I guess I was born with a passion for the sea. S What memories do you have of your first sailing trip? AS My mother sailed in 110s and introduced me to the sport. It was quite scary at first, as the 110 was a very thin boat with a large sail area. S Your story with Alegre â€“ how did it start? AS Alegre was born to enable me to enjoy the sport with my son, Andres, 25, who has become a keen sailor, to be sailed competitively by a team which is made up of Corinthian sailors, and to be owner driven. S As a skipper, what are your responsibilities on board Alegre? AS My role is to ensure that Alegre is ready for every race she participates in by coordinating with Alegreâ€™s skipper Olly Cameron and Team Alegre manager Dave Williams, who saw the Alegre project through from the very beginning.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 13
B O AT S
S What has been your most memorable sailing experience to date?
S You’ve been very successful in the RMSR – does it hold a special place in your heart?
AS I can never forget winning the overall trophy of the RMSR and taking line honours in Alegre’s first year.
AS Yes, it does, and so do Malta and its people.
S The first time you participated
in the RMSR – what do you remember most?
AS I remember a most gracious welcome by Georges Bonello DuPuis, Commodore, Royal Malta Yacht Club, and his team – they made us all feel at home immediately and made our participation in the event seamless. The race itself was one where we had to put in our all as we were either stalled with little wind or pushed along with a good breeze. This kept the intensity throughout the nearly four days at sea, and enabled us to take line honours while competing with two other mini maxis.
S What are the trickiest parts of the RMSR course, and why? AS For me, the trickiest part of the course is going up the Straits of Messina and the north coast of Sicily.
The Alegre crew celebrating victory at the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
S How important is the chemistry between the crew on board? AS It is very important. Having formed a good team with few changes has been the most important ingredient to Alegre’s racing success in the past four years. S What are your predictions for this year’s edition of the RMSR? AS As always it is anyone’s race.
Alegre at the Grand Harbour during the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
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B O AT S Juno preparing for this year’s edition of The Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Kurt Arrigo/RMYC.
Take it to the limit Racing is the perfect combination of natural elements, technology and human nature, says Juno owner and skipper Sönke Stein. What first attracted you to sailing?
The Juno crew
16 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
SONKE STEIN At first, I really didn’t have an option or a choice – back in Germany, my parents just took me with them on our little dinghy. I was so young that I still couldn’t walk or talk. I only have faded memories of those trips, but I can still remember that I used to get ice cream as a reward afterwards.
Nowadays, sailing has become an attractive sport and hobby for me, as it combines natural elements with technology and human nature. For me, that’s a perfect combination.
S What pushed you to pursue sailing? SS When I finished my military service I had the choice to pursue sailing as a professional career and opted
Sönke Stein racing the BOV Kerisma at the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
against it as the industry was not as developed as it is today. I studied to become a shipbroker, finished my studies and ended up in the oil industry. Making that choice today would be definitely harder, as the industry has developed a lot during the last 20 years. However I certainly do not regret the choices I made 20 years ago and nowadays I enjoy sailing as a competitive hobby.
S How did your story with Juno start? SS Juno is my fifth sailing yacht and the fourth one that I am
keeping in Malta. After I sold Kerisma, a full out racing yacht, I opted again for a cruiser racer. As I already had a J-boat before, I immediately liked the J-133 and finally found Juno in Portugal. A set of Portuguese young sailors brought the boat to Malta in spring 2010.
S As owner and skipper, what are your responsibilities on board Juno?
SS First of all, I’m responsible for the safety and well being of all crew, followed by a general management of affairs on and off board. It’s actually like running a small business. In fact our sponsor is currently using our sailing experience and the MSR to draw parallels to the business he is engaged in. S What has been your most memorable sailing experience to date? SS Sailing the Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro race in 2000 was an unforgettable experience. S The first time you participated in the Rolex Middle Sea Race – what do you remember most? SS The fact that we nearly won it and were not even aware of it during the whole race. Those days, in 2002, we had far less technology, no mobile or satellite internet, and we just sailed as best as we could. SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 17
B O AT S
“After I sold
Kerisma, a full
out racing yacht, I opted again for a cruiser racer. As I already had a J-boat before, I immediately liked the J-133 and finally found Juno in Portugal.”
S Why is the Rolex Middle Sea Race so special? SS The course makes it unique. It is an offshore race that needs to be sailed like an inshore race, with conditions that can change at any moment of the race. This does not allow for much rest for the crew, and hence can really test a man’s limits. S What are the trickiest parts of the Rolex Middle
Sea Race course, and why?
SS The Strait of Messina can be difficult – depending on weather conditions, you can literally restart the race there. S How important is the chemistry between the crew on board? SS Team spirit is very
important. We are amateurs and sail to enjoy our time together on the water, not to earn our living. With that in
mind, respect for each other, camaraderie and a can-dotogether attitude is what we have and treasure on board.
S What are your predictions for this year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race? SS Every year is a new story and the future is hard to predict. We will face the circumstances and adapt to them – our goal is always to perform at our best potential.
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B O AT S
Jonas and the whale of a time For Comanche Raider II owner and skipper Jonas Diamantino, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a challenge of endurance but also an opportunity to have fun with his crew.
Comanche Raider II owner and skipper Jonas Diamantino. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
What first attracted you to sailing?
JONAS DIAMANTINO Back in 1992 I was studying at University in the United States and I remember I was watching the Americaâ€™s Cup on television. A friend who was really into sailing started explaining to me what was going on and I was just fascinated.
20 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
“As skipper I think this in my biggest responsibility – getting the crew mix just right.”
Comanche Raider at the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Georges Bonello DuPuis/RMYC.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 21
B O AT S S What memories do you have of your first sailing trip?
S What has been your most memorable sailing experience to date?
JD Soon after graduating I returned to Malta. A friend of mine here had bought a sailing boat and I was invited to go with him and his family on a sailing trip to Sicily. During the crossing we developed a problem at the top of the mast and could not continue sailing. No one wanted to go up and fix the problem so I volunteered. Once at the top I managed to fix the problem, but the motion at the top of the mast was so erratic that I got very seasick.
JD The 2007 Rolex Middle Sea Race was memorable, although not in a good way. About 18 hours after the start, we hit really heavy weather. 80 per cent of the fleet had retired by then as they were able to see the weather developing on their on board computers, which we did not have at the time.
S What pushed you to pursue sailing? JD I decided to get serious about sailing after doing a couple of races and the competitive devil inside me just took over. I cannot think of any other sport I would want to compete in at a high level. S How did your story with Comanche II start? JD In 2000 a business partner wanted to have a yacht in the Mediterranean and he needed someone to look after it and race it for him. Presented with a very attractive free ride and a chance to skipper a boat I jumped in and proposed that I do it. The relationship worked for about three years and when the owner, who only came on board once in three years, decided to sell the boat I bought it for a fraction of the price. In 2007 the boat got pretty much destroyed in heavy winds and seas and I have since replaced her with Comanche Raider II. How I got Comanche Raider II is another interesting story.
S As a skipper, what are your responsibilities on board Comanche Raider II? JD My responsibilities over the years have decreased dramatically – as I have had the same crew for pretty much the last 10 years I can say we are a well oiled machine, which means I do my bit as a team member and everybody else does theirs. My extra responsibilities are mainly making sure that the boat is always race ready and to make the safety call in heavy conditions.
22 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
Then the storm hit hard – the highest wind speed we saw, while we still had instruments at the top of the mast, was 72 knots. The sails were destroyed in seconds and we were knocked down – mast in the water – half a dozen times. The wind was screaming through the rigging and we couldn’t hear each other shout. I prayed so much to be able to see my children again. We finished the race, one of the 13 that managed to finish out of 68 starters.
S The first time you participated in the Rolex Middle Sea Race – what do you remember most? JD The first time was pretty scary, and all I wanted to do was finish the race. But I had a great crew without whom the race would have been a disaster. After the experience, I realised how unprepared for such an event the boat and I were. S Why is the Rolex Middle Sea Race
the crew focused for the long slog to Trapani – many times, this is where it all goes wrong.
S How important is the chemistry between the crew on board?
as a course, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the most spectacular. Apart from being spectacular, for me, the event is a personal challenge of endurance. It’s also an opportunity to spend five days with my crew, who are also my best friends – it’s cold, uncomfortable, but great.
JD Chemistry is crucial. I have carefully handpicked my crew over the years – we are a mixed bunch and not all from Malta, but as a team we function tremendously well. In the last 10 editions of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, hardly a cross word has been exchanged. As skipper I think this in my biggest responsibility – getting the crew mix just right.
S What are the trickiest parts of the Rolex Middle Sea Race course?
S What are your predictions for this year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race?
JD The start is pretty tricky. Getting out of the Grand Harbour with clear wind and ahead is difficult. The Strait of Messina are also difficult – get your timing and currents wrong and you can get stuck for a very long time while watching the competition sail away. After Stromboli, you also need to keep
JD Only a dreamer would make any predictions as the reality is always different. The only thing I can say for sure is that my crew and I will try our best to do well but most importantly we will have fun – completing the race without harm or damage is the most important thing.
JD Even professional sailors think that
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B O AT S
Fine Artie Matthew Gusman, the pitman on board Artie, shares his most memorable moments of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Artie at the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
What first attracted you to sailing?
MATTHEW GUSMAN I was
lucky enough to spend the summers of my youth in Gerbulin, Mellieha, so inevitably the sea was part of my summer life.
S What memories do you
have of your first sailing trip?
24 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
MG I have very fond memories of it. I still remember the tonnes of ice cream, watching the World Cup final, and being warned not to waste precious water on board the boat.
manufacturer and supplier.
S How did your story with Artie start? MG I first hopped on board
MG That’s a tough one. However, my most memorable sailing experience is probably when I delivered Strait Dealer from Palma to Malta about nine
take it up professionally?
Artie, which back then was a Jeanneau Sunfast 40, for some fun sailing and the occasional race.
MG I’m not a professional
S What has been your
– in fact, we were seriously
S What pushed you to
sailor, but I work at RLR Yachting, marine engine
most memorable sailing experience to date?
years ago. We were only four members of crew on board and were severely delayed risking missing the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
“Stromboli is also difficult because, being an active volcano, it has its own microclimate – in light winds, it tends to act as a magnet, sucking in all the vessels that are tempted to venture too close to it.”
Artie, skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
Needless to say, we were in a real rush – then the wind gods graced us with some terrific conditions and it was downwind sailing all the way from the south of Sardinia to Marsamxett harbour. We barely slept and frequently clocked boat speeds between 18 and 22 knots.
S The first time you participated in the Rolex Middle Sea Race – what do you remember most? MG My first Rolex Middle Sea Race was in 2005 with Sandro Musu on Aziza. My strongest memory was when the decision to retire was taken, as did the
majority of the fleet do, due to lack of wind.
S Why is the Rolex Middle Sea Race so special? MG I guess Ted Turner put it best when he described the Rolex Middle Sea Race as having, “The most beautiful race course in the world.” SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 25
B O AT S Artie, skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
S What are the trickiest parts of the Rolex Middle Sea Race course? MG I would say the Straits of Messina, because of the notorious water currents. Stromboli is also difficult because, being an active volcano, it has its own microclimate – in light winds, it tends to act as a magnet, sucking in all the vessels that are tempted to venture too close to it. S How important is the chemistry between the crew on board? MG Chemistry is essential. In order to win the race you need
a true team effort and camaraderie, as well as a helping hand from Lady Luck.
S What are your predictions for this year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race? MG One of the charms of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is that you might have the fastest racing yacht in the world taking part yet the smallest yacht in the fleet winning the race. This was nearly the case in 2006. I have hence learnt not to expect or predict anything about the race. 26 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
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Close to the wind It’s the sights and sounds that make the Rolex Middle Sea Race so special, says TonTon crew member Nicky Sammut.
TonTon at the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
What first attracted you to sailing?
NICKY SAMMUT My family was always into boating. I was only six months old when I started going out on my uncle’s boat. My brother and I were brought up around boats. Then when my brother decided to sign up for a sailing course, I joined him. At the age of seven it looked exciting to drive a boat using only the power of the wind. S What memories do you have of your first sailing trip? NS I remember my brother and I were taken for a sailing trip around the harbour on a 12-foot dinghy. It was exciting even though the wind was fairly light and it felt like we were in a boat full of spaghetti with all the ropes around us. I thought I would never get used to all the ropes. S What pushed you to pursue sailing? NS It’s the love I have for sailing as a sport. I always wanted to do something related to the sea. Now my life revolves
around this sport – I cannot imagine doing anything else.
S How did your story with TonTon start? NS I had raced for a couple of years with Maltese Falcon II and we had set up a well-rounded team. After the owner passed away, Jonathon Gambin asked me to start racing with him, and we became good friends. Together we have put together a crew and trained on TonTon for almost three years. S As a crew member, what are your responsibilities on board TonTon? NS Helming, trimming and solving problems. S What has been your most memorable sailing experience to date? NS I remember we were sailing out of the Straits of Messina under the clear blue night. While I was gybing the spinnaker, dolphins started playing under our bow. It was magical. SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 29
“Weather conditions are constantly changing, making the Rolex Middle Sea Race exhilarating.”
Eruption of Stromboli during the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
S The first time you participated in
the Rolex Middle Sea Race – what do you remember most?
NS We were gybing the spinnaker.
As soon as the spinnaker swung from side to side, I was pulled out of the boat. Luckily, I had my harness on and clipped, and the crew pulled me back onboard. Later on, we lost our mainsail in a squall and had to sail bare pole in winds exceeding 48 knots till we repaired it.
S Why is the Rolex Middle Sea Race so special?
A waterspout during the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
30 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
NS While sailing round coast and the islands, it is always a breathtaking sight. Weather conditions are constantly changing, making the Rolex Middle Sea Race exhilarating. S What are the trickiest parts of
the Rolex Middle Sea Race course, and why?
NS The Strait of Messina is quite difficult, because of the strong tides. Then there are also the islands because they tend to pull you in and never spit you out. S How important is the chemistry between the crew on board? NS I believe that the chemistry on board is essential during a race. The crew has to not only get along, but has to be cheerful and have fun together. A happy crew always performs better. S What are your predictions for this year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race? NS I have full faith in our crew. With favourable conditions and a bit of luck on our side, we can obtain good results.
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www.atozyachtneeds.com 32 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
GRAND SLAM As the Royal Malta Yacht Club in Ta’ Xbiex is showcased during the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race, it now proudly presents a new retail outlet for Slam clothing, located at the entrance of the Club. Many of the items are dedicated to the Yacht Club and branded accordingly. The new outlet is open now and will remain a permanent fixture of the Club. Under the auspices of RLR Yachting, the new Slam outlet is the second in Malta, the first having being opened in the Plaza, Sliema last April. Historically, Slam is associated with technical sportswear, providing protection for sailors in the harshest of conditions. Equally, the Italian clothing brand is synonymous with style, performance and innovation, ensuring superb quality while keeping its notably nautical look in ranges for both men and women. The range at the Royal Malta Yacht Club currently includes t-shirts, polo shirts, jackets and fleeces. More items will be added. Slam outlets are already located in prominent yacht clubs around the world including Monaco, Costa Smeralda, Punta Ala and Hong Kong. Not surprising then that the RMYC is delighted with its latest international affiliation.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 Programme of events
Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Monday, October 17 to Friday, October 21 Registration
Wednesday, October 19, 10:00am
Malta Rolex Cup Coastal Race This is a short coastal race to get crews in sync with the local conditions. Start and finish line are usually from the waters opposite the RMYC clubhouse.
Thursday, October 20 to Friday, October 21, 8:00pm Crew party
The Rolex Middle Sea Race crew party is a must do event. Let your hair down and come to the RMYC Clubhouse to enjoy the experience of a lifetime. A local band, dancing music and great food and drinks will add to the amazing atmosphere.
Friday, October 21, 5:00pm
Skippers briefing The skippers briefing will be held at the RMYC on Friday afternoon at 5:00pm. A weather briefing is also held during the skippers briefing. This will be given by the Chief Meteorologist of the
Malta International Airport. This briefing is reserved for the skipper and navigator of each boat.
Saturday, October 22, 11:00am Start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Make your way down to Malta’s Grand Harbour and watch the start from any of Valletta’s fortifications. This is a sight worth waiting for. The start line is situated between the Saluting Battery in Valletta and Fort St. Angelo. The RMYC’s start reception will be held at the Lower Barrakka Gardens.
Saturday, October 29, 12:00 noon Prize giving ceremomy This year, the prize giving ceremony will be held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. Guests are to be seated by 11.45am in the Republic Hall. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the La Valette Hall.
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SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 35
The Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 Participants list for the 32nd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. (*As of 07/10/2011)
ACROBAT SAILING TEAM
Lee Satariano/Christian Ripard
CATTY SARK WATERFRONT FLEQREO
CIPPA LIPPA 8
COMANCHE RAIDER II GASAN MAMO
ELUSIVE ST. REGIS
FRA DIAVOLO NAXOS
FULCRUM II/GREAT CIRCLE
Jason & Judy Payne-James
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 37
LA DESIRADE TER
Sönke Stein/David Anastasi
Aaron Gatt Floridia/Edward Gatt Floridia
Francesco Da Rios
RELENTLESS ON BONGANI
TON TON SURFSIDE
Jonathan Gambin/Nicky Sammut
Oleg Evdokimenko/Timmy Camilleri
38 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
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RACE Start of the 31st Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
A first time for everyone Giles Pearman meets some of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011 participants. “73 yachts and still two weeks left for last minute entries.” That is the message from Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore Georges Bonello DuPuis, as this article goes to print. The 32nd Rolex Middle Sea Race is in good health and once again closing in on the record fleet of 78 yachts set in 2008. By the time you read this, the final entry number will be known. The record may or may not have been broken. In the meantime, the 606 nautical mile classic offshore has thus far attracted a global spectrum of entries from 17 nations, from the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. “There’s still time for the Americas to join if they want to,” laughs Bonello DuPuis. And why not? It might be pushing it to expect representation from the continent of Antarctica, but both North and South America have had their share of success at this race over the years. The Royal Malta Yacht Club has grown accustomed to welcoming entries from the four corners of the earth.
What are the key attractions of the contest? “I defy anyone not to be impressed by the start line,” asserts Bonello DuPuis. “If the setting does not captivate you, the roar of the cannons used as start signals will certainly assault your senses and leave a lasting impression.” For first-timers and experienced hands, the departure point of this race is as spectacular as it gets in the yachtracing world and is, frankly, unique. Yet the attractions do not stop there, as Bryon Ehrhart, the American owner of Lucky, the 2010 overall winner explained last year. “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a classic. I would encourage everyone to come here. This is the most interesting race I’ve ever done and I’ve done a lot,” Ehrhart said. Four major turning points, two active volcanoes, the Strait of Messina and
the scent of Africa are a few of the outstanding selling points of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. With ambassadors like Ehrhardt moving around the offshore racing circuit, the word spreads every year, as the number of newcomers proves time and again. Malta may be a difficult place to get to late in the Mediterranean sailing season, but the opportunity to take on one of sailing’s top offshore challenges is enough of a draw to pull in the crews. In fact, 2011 has attracted first time participants from a host of countries including Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Andrea, a Nicholson 55, is the oldest yacht on the entry list. Launched just two years after the inaugural Rolex Middle Sea Race, she is 41 years old. Owner Ko Labeijord is Dutch but lives in Turkey, and is typical of the adventurous spirit that courses through the participating crews.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 41
Pace, skippered by Johnny Vincent, at the 2010 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
The 2010 overall winner: Lucky, skippered by Bryon Ehrhart. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Sea and the Sea of Marmara, before heading to Montenegro and then on to Malta, covering around 2,700-nautical miles.” According to Brum, “The journey will provide ideal preparation for offshore racing.” No kidding.
Filippo Mantegazza, from Italy, is also skippering a 55-foot yacht making her debut.
of Messina, active volcanoes, and variable weather, sometimes with violent conditions and sometimes calm. We anticipate very tight and exciting competition and an unforgettable experience. A good question for us is why have we not done the race before,” he enthuses.
“This is the first time for the team and Filando at the Rolex Middle Sea Race,” explains Mantegazza, who has owned the yacht for four years. “Having been out of the circuit for a while, my crew are reacquainting themselves with offshore racing. The Filando team will be composed of 14 crew members, all of who have chosen to come to Malta because they consider the Rolex Middle Sea Race to be the best offshore race in the Mediterranean.”
From the United Kingdom come Jason and Judy Payne-James who will also be taking note of the scenery afforded by the myriad of island outposts that mark the course on their 45-foot Heartbeat IV. According to the Payne-James, while the Rolex Middle Sea Race poses a new set of challenges, “Most of the crew have completed one or more Rolex Fastnets and have a wide-range of experience. The entire team is looking forward to the race and can’t wait to arrive in Malta.”
While those taking part for the first time may lack real experience of the course, they show little sign of naiveté, taking their time to research the route and the likely conditions. Jaume Binimelis, owner of the 40-foot Petrouchka III, from Spain is one such owner.
Probably the most fascinating firsttimer story is that of Visconte, skippered by Artem Brum. Just getting to the start line will be a triumph.
Having made such a colossal effort to be one of five Russian boats gearing up to be on the start line, Brum has his sights set firmly on completing the test.
“Visconte was launched in 2010 in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, and the crew is drawn from the Russian Taktik sailing school, based in Montenegro. On route to Valletta, Visconte will have travelled from the city of Rybinsk on the Volga River through the Russian inland waterways, the Sea of Azov, the Black
“We look forward to meeting and respecting the sea,” he says. “Not on a cruising yacht under motor, but in a serious race, when to retreat will be impossible.”
“We have the oldest boat and probably the oldest crew,” he says. “Not only is this our first time at this race, it is the first time competing in a long offshore.”
“This is the longest, toughest race of the Mediterranean, with many good participants. There are more than 600 nautical miles of tricky coastal and offshore waters, the strong currents
42 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
And, of course, there is more to this adventure than just the delivery. This is a serious piece of planning with noble objectives. “Our main goal is a race of global significance, a race in the heart of sailing – the Mediterranean Sea,” says Brum. “Moreover, there are many children on the Volga River in Russia, dreaming of this opportunity of beautiful sailing. This project will show the people of Russia you can do it. Do not be afraid of anything and just go ahead.”
Admirable words, and an admirable aim no doubt shared by all participants alike.
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ROLEX MIDDLE SEA RACE
ON course Sailing the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2011
Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
he Rolex Middle Sea Race course is 606 nautical miles long and is sailed anti-clockwise. Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, beneath Fort St Angelo and the
Saluting Battery, the fleet heads north along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Strait of Messina. Mount Etna is usually visible on the fleet’s port side, billowing ashes and lava throughout the night. Once through the Strait, the course leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano of Stromboli where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands. Passing between Marettimo and Favignana
the crews head south towards the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria to port. Once past Lampedusa the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towards the South Comino Channel and the finish at Marsamxett Harbour. En route the crews take in an amazing diversity of landscape and sea conditions, all of which combine to create the attraction and challenge of the race. The course record, established by Rambler in
2007, is one day, 23 hours, 55 minutes and three seconds. Preceding the Rolex Middle Sea Race itself is one shorter coastal race – the Malta Rolex Cup will be awarded to the overall winner on corrected time in IRC. For the Rolex Coastal Race, there is a choice of three or four courses depending on weather conditions. Final instructions for the coastal race will be given during the coastal race briefing.
SPINNAKER / Issue 26 - 45
H I STO RY
History of the Royal Malta Yacht Club
The Royal Malta Yacht Club during the 2010 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photos by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
he date of the first establishment of the Royal Malta Yacht Club cannot be ascertained although rumours of the existence of a yacht club go back to 1835. However, around 1896, a small group of gentlemen resident in Malta and owning as a syndicate a 30-ton cutter called the Rhoda formed an association which was commonly known as the Rhoda Sailing Club. At first the association’s interests were primarily in cruising but, later on, races were staged for sailing dinghies and small local craft – these races attracted other enthusiasts who were not members of the original syndicate. From these and others, a club, known as the Mediterranean Skiff Club, was formed in 1905 and the West of England Conference Dinghy adopted as its racing class. The Mediterranean Skiff Club remained in existence until 1916 when it was wound up owing to the majority of its members being on active service. In 1921 the Club was reconstituted under the title of the Malta Yacht Club – it was not until 1928 that steps were taken to obtain official recognition of the prefix ’Royal’. In 1929, following a successful motorboat regatta, the Malta Motor Boat Club was formed and in 1930 the two clubs were amalgamated. After the outbreak of the war with Italy in 1940, the club ceased to function while a year later some of the keener members recommenced racing until the attacks of the Luftwaffe. On July 18, 1942, a bomb completely demolished the club house and many boats were lost or badly damaged. It was not until 1944 that it was possible to get together sufficient people anxious to race and re-form the club.
46 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
In 1945 the annual regatta was revived and long distance dinghy races held for the first time since the war. The club house at Floriana (Hay Wharf) was rebuilt on its former site in late 1949 and the club thereby duly re-established in its original premises. In 1952 off-shore races for 30 and 50 square metre yachts were introduced and races to various ports in Sicily, Libya and Tunisia were held regularly. In 1968 the first Middle Sea Race was sailed and 1987 saw the start of the Rimini-Malta-Rimini race. In 1970 the club moved from Hay Wharf, Floriana to Fort Manoel, Manoel Island. In 1975 the club instigated the formation of the Malta Yachting Federation and in the years that followed the premises and activities remained unchanged with the Malta Syracuse Race and the Middle Sea Race becoming premier international events. In 1978 the name of the club was changed to the Valletta Yacht Club and the Maritime Flag of Malta became the ensign of the club. On November 13, 1990, the club reverted to the original name, the Royal Malta Yacht Club. On Friday, November 28, 2008, the Royal Malta Yacht Club moved from Manoel Island into their new club house in Ta’ Xbiex after a ninemonth refurbishment program. The new building now houses a gym, conference facilities, a bar, a restaurant and a 66-berth marina.
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First in class Spinnaker toasts the Rolex Middle Sea Race winners of past editions.
Middle Sea Race Line Honours (monohulls)
1: 2010 Rolex Middle Sea Race trophy and Rolex Chronometer presentation to IRC overall winner Bryon Ehrhart (Lucky). Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. 2: Carlo Puri Negri, owner and skipper of Atalanta II receiving 2005 line honours trophy from Georges Bonello du Puis, Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. 3: 2009 Line honours winner Mike Slade. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
48 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
M. Di Giovanni
W. Whitehouse Vaux
Riviera di Rimini
Riviera di Rimini
Alfa Romeo (Shockwave)
Alfa Romeo (Shockwave)
C. Puri Negri
Alfa Romeo II
Middle Sea Race Trophy Winners 1968
M. Ruggero Bianchi
Aspirin Astro 2K
J. Ripard Jr. / A. Calascione
Nokia (Enigma of London)
N. Lazos/P. Livas
C. Puri Negri
Spirit of Ad Hoc
4: 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race trophy and Rolex Chronometer presentation to IRC overall winner Andres Soriano (Alegre). Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. 5: Left to right: Yann Dupasquier, Rolex S.A, Malcolm Lowell Jr. from Edward’s Lowell and Thierry Bouchard, overall winner of the 29th Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. 6: 2010 Line honours presentation, left to right: Georges Bonello DuPuis (Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore), Igor Simcic (Esimit Europa II) and Malcolm Lowell Jr. from Edwards’ Lowell. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. 7: The result sheet from the first edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 1968.
49 SPINNAKER - SPINNAKER / Issue / Issue 26 -26 49
Hard at work
Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo.
The RMYC Committee and RMSR 2011 Organising Committee.
Organising Authority, Royal Malta Yacht Club Royal Malta Yacht Club Committee
Event Organising Committee
Race Office / Registration Marina Office
Georges Bonello DuPuis Commodore
Georges Bonello DuPuis Event Chairman
Godwin Zammit Race Committee Chairman, IRC & ORC Rating Officer
Mark Napier Vice Commodore
Godwin Zammit Race Committee Chairman
Peter Dimech Principal Race Officer
Mark Vella Honorary Secretary
Albert Bonnici Peter Dimech Safety Officer Principal Race Officer
Edward Gatt Floridia Honorary Treasurer
Mark Vella Public Relations
Anna Rossi Registration
Godwin Zammit Rear Commodore Racing
Mark Napier Logistics
Edgar Warrington Rear Commodore House
Edgar Warrington Social Events
John Ripard (MLT) IJ Chairman
Peter Dimech Member
Anna Rossi Social Events
Sonia Mayes (GBR) IJ Member
Jamie Sammut Member
Edward Gatt Floridia Member
Riccardo Antoni (ITA) IJ Member
Anna Rossi Member
Jamie Sammut Member
Giovanni Iannucci (ITA) NJ Member
Albert Bonnici Wally Vella Zarb
Alana Muscat Simone Dimech Alex Vella Sarah Zammit Veronica Bonnici Amata Camilleri Rita Vella Sylvana Psaila Graziella Borg
RMYC Media Office Caroline Furminger Susann Vit
Jovin Rausi (MLT) NJ Member The Royal Malta Yacht Club wishes to express it thanks and appreciation to the many volunteers, too many to mention, who assist in the successful organisation of this event. These include helpers at the RMYC and Marina offices, safety inspectors, race control watch keepers and many others.
50 - SPINNAKER / Issue 26
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