Rolex Middle Sea Race: Hometown Heroes

Photo By: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
After racing over 600 miles, the J/122 Artie crossed the finish line at 15.22 CEST, eight minutes in front of Jaru Team EC, a J/133, and, in doing so, was the first Maltese boat home. That finish also put the local entry, co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, ahead of Ran (GBR) as overall handicap leader.
However, the crew of Artie will have to cool their heels on the Royal Malta Yacht Club terrace as they wait to see if any boat still racing might be able to beat them on handicap. A formal announcement of the overall winner will be made tomorrow at 1200 CEST at the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
Owner Lee Satariano was clearly relieved to beat his local rivals home and said, "It was very achievable because we worked very hard. The crew has been preparing the boat for the past several months, we even have a new sail wardrobe. Being the first Maltese boat gives us a big satisfaction because the local competition is very, very big." As for the possibility of an overall victory, he was more cautious and said, "The competition is growing every year. In the past we've had two second place finishes; we hope this third time is even better."

Photo By: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Chris Opielok's AOC Rockall (GER) was one boat that seemed to have Artie in their sights. The Corby 36 was well sailed all the way around the course, but their chances seemed tenuous when Opielok called in this afternoon, "We're very close to the channel, about a half mile. At the moment we're in a sort of wind hole, and it could be that we're going to miss it. We think we will be beaten by Ran, Artie and Otra Vez (MLT). But we're really enjoying ourselves, it's the first time we've raced this race. It's a huge part of the experience. It was great fun, we're still battling it out, I can tell you, but I think we're battling for second."
Photo By: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Opielok's prediction would bear out as the German entry crossed the finish at 17.59 CEST, missing out on catching Artie by less than half an hour.
There are approximately 30 boats still racing, several just north of Lampedusa and the bulk of the fleet on the leg between Lampedusa and the finish. The breeze on the racecourse is currently variable in speed and direction, indicating another challenging night at sea.

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Rolex Middle Sea Race: Hometown Heroes Rolex Middle Sea Race: Hometown Heroes Reviewed by Panos Douros on Thursday, October 27, 2011 Rating: 5

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