Based on the statement that sooner or later each passenger returns home, Valletta began to take home the heroes one by one. The first Maltese boat to finish the race was the HH42 Artie III, skippered by Lee Satariano (15 races) and Christian Ripard (31 races) taking a temporary seventh place in the overall standings, second in the IRC Class Three. “We adapted our watch system to ensure the drivers and tactician were kept fresh. Once or twice from Stromboli (to Trapani) we were on the limit, broaching more than once. We were prepared for these moments and kept the boat intact.”
The next finished yacht is the J / 99 Calypso with skipper Sebastian Ripard.
“From Stromboli to San Vito lo Capo we had a situation with 30 to 50 knots and five to eight meters of waves. The nice entry and exit of the Strait of Messina was the focus, with a positive current for most of the way and a whirlwind behind the Sicilian coast for the final part.Of course, this is only the good part of the story. Their inventory of sails leads to a difficult situation in Stromboli.”We tested the A4 at about 30 knots, but the wind picked up quickly by the late ’30s, early’ 40s, and the boat was out of control,” Ripard said.“Fortunately, we got it down unscathed. It would have been easier with a smaller kite”.It was Ripard’s 15th race, and Calypso finished fourth in the IRC Class 6 and 16th in the overall standings.
To win an offshore competition, you must first win your class. Beneteau 45 Elusive 2, led by the Podesta siblings, did just that, finishing at the top of the IRC Class 4. The winners of the last two races failed to turn that success into a third victory overall. “It was extremely challenging. There are always things you can do differently. Elusive 2 finished 22nd in the overall standings. “For our boat type, reaching a speed of 22 knots and jumping from wave to wave was insane. A constant breeze of 30 plus knots brought us to the limit all the time,” said Aaron Podesta.
Next in order of overall results – 28th overall/8th in IRC 6 – was the double-handed Reflex 38 Vivace, sailed by Andrew Agius Delicata (8 races) and Matthew Gabriele (5),, competing with two hands for the second time. “We are very good friends and we have complete trust in each other, regardless of the conditions,” explains Delicate. Gabriele was quick to identify the strong winds during the first few days as one of the biggest challenges: “Even after the second day, we were quite exhausted. The fact that we sailed together for most of our lives was a great support. We knew the capabilities of our boat and that really helped us move forward. ” Vivace finished 3rd in the double-handed class.
“Jonathan Gambin (14 races), sailing on the Dufour 44 Ton Laferla, has had a continuous cycle of participations since 2008.” This year was very different from previous races because there was wind all the way, “he commented. The overall result was a disappointment after last year’s third place. “We had a bad first stage and we couldn’t adjust the boat properly,” Gambin explained. “It was better in Messina, with good current and wind. We did not lift our spinnaker on the heavy section under the wind near San Vito Lo Capo. Then a good stage for Pantelleria was followed by a disastrous one for Lampedusa, where we lost our best spinnaker, knocked down by a squall. ” (44th in total / 4th in IRC 4).
The J/109 JYS Jan (45th/12th in IRC 6) was sailed by a young crew under the guidance of Matthew Farrugia. “The crew was a mix of very good sailors on a boat aged 16 to 18,” he explained. “Half had experience in this race and half were new to offshore sailing.” Of the many highlights, Farrugia was most impressed by their attitude in the face of a very difficult set of conditions. “They knew what was coming and they were absolutely the driving force,” he said. “They showed endless energy reserves, but also good decision-making. The first night was very difficult with over 30 knots from the northeast. After all, near Malta, visibility was so poor from the torrential rain that we couldn’t even we see the dashboard of the mast. ”JYS Jarhead, the other young crew, finished 72nd in the overall and 17th in the IRC 6.
Jonathan Camilleri Bowman, owner of First 40.7 OpenpaydSekuritance Maltese Falcon 2 (49th in the overall standings / 14th in IRC 6) This year’s Rolex edition is his fifth race. For him, it was a challenge both mentally and physically. . “We’ve always crossed the line between speed and safety,” Bowman said. “The hardest part was definitely the first night, when we were hit by a gust of 46 knots with huge side swells. In general, however, I will remember the way the team came together and continued. ”
Finishing his 22nd race, Ramon Sant Hill, skipper of Farr 45 Ben Estates Comanche Raider III (61st/7th in IRC 3), described the scene below deck: “It is a race boat. We have water inside, sails to wash and the mess you would expect after 10 guys have been living onboard with no opportunity to tidy up during the race. It’s normal!” Every race, the highlight for Sant Hill is often the same. It is the way the crew grows up: “We are a family onboard. Every year we learn to trust more in each other and the boat. We are amateurs and invest a huge amount of time and effort in the race. Getting to the start line and finishing the race is a real achievement.”
Commodore House of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, Mario Debono, was in his fifth race and is a representative of the Corinthian spirit of the race. He openly admits that his Sun Odyssey 45 Janissah (71st / 16th in IRC 6) is a cruise boat with little chance of doing well in class or overall. “We are very happy to have finished this race in good shape,” said Debono. “I would like other less competitive boats to see that if you are a good sailor, you can take part in this race, even if your boat is not racing. It’s a real experience, a personal challenge and extremely rewarding. ” Janissah suffers from strong winds and rain on the first night and then again on the last stage, sailing against the wind in the middle of the storm. “Sometimes we were completely underwater and it was worse than the race in 2007. However, it was a great race and I am proud that we took everything that was given to us and we managed to overcome it.”
Three other Maltese yachts that took part were forced to cover: Sean Borg’s Xp44 Xpresso, Aaron Gatt Floridia’s ICE 52 Otra Vez and Paul Debono’s Elan 410 Bait.