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8 November 2001, 07:12 pm
Prize Giving This Evening
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photo:Kurt Arrigo

Middle Sea Race

Most competitors in The Middle Sea Race completed the course yesterday. Christian Ripard and the Strait Dealer team won the event. The Prize Giving ceremony will be held on Friday 9 November at 20:00h.
Christian Ripard and the Strait Dealer crew have really made Malta proud by claiming line honours and possibly the overall title of this year's Middle Sea Race. Strait Dealer crossed the finish line at 06.16hrs yesterday morning (7 October) to the well-wishers present at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. This is the first time that a Maltese boat has claimed line honours and the Middle Sea Race Trophy together.

Last year, Zephyrus IV was the first boat to ever win the line honours, the IRC and IMS Class and the MSR trophy all in one year. However, this time it looks like it is going to happen to a Maltese boat. Christian and his crew explained that the conditions encountered between Capo Murro di Porco and Catania was tough, but not enough to force them to seek shelter. "We knew that we could take that kind of weather," he said. "We have sailed in it before and it was not that extreme. Both the crew and the boat were ready for anything that was thrown onto us." Besides some minor electrical failures, Strait Dealer and its team came out of this Middle Sea Race unscathed. "This was an excellent team effort." Christian said.

"The Middle Sea Race is one of the most fascinating and scenic races in the world. An offshore race with various corners, simply amazing" were the words of skipper/owner John Bainbridge when he finished this years Middle Sea Race in second position yesterday. Obviously, congratulations went to Christian Ripard and the Strait Dealer team for putting on such an excellent performance but, as John Bainbridge said, "You need a good team effort to perform in this race and both the Strait Dealer and Game On had just that. "My crew did wonders," he concluded.

His words of praise also went to the event organisation and the help received whilst in Malta. "We have been to various regattas around the world, but the hospitality we received from the Maltese was simply great." He ended his short speech by announcing that he will be returning again next year to compete in the great race.

During the Wednesday afternoon, Patrick Mearsk on board Mr. Fipps crossed the finish line followed by Chris Bull on "Primadonna", another British entry. There are another five boats yet to finish, including two Italian "Loreli III" and "Durlindana", two Maltese entries, which are "First Ever" and "Escape", and the Check Republic entry "Hebe III". Anton Valentino on board "First Ever", the smallest of the Maltese entries deserves special words of praise as he was one of the few Maltese boats to survive the storms on the first night of the race. This was also Jost Merten's first Middle Sea Race and he too also survived to tell his tale.

Georges Bonnello DuPuis/News Editor
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