Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) has claimed line honours at the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race. The 30.48m/100-ft Maxi crossed the finish line in Marsamxett Harbour, Malta on Wednesday 24 October at 01:13.15 CEST, sealing a third straight line honours win.
Igor Simcic's crew completed the 606-nm course in 3 days, 13 hours, 33 minutes and 15 seconds (85 hours, 33 minutes and 15 seconds), an elapsed time significantly slower than the race record of 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds set by George David's 27.43m/90-ft Maxi Rambler
(USA) in 2007.
"It was a very long race and hopefully the longest we'll ever have to do,"
reflected skipper Jochen Schümann, relieved to arrive in Malta. "As we expected it was a light race. After the passage through the Strait of Messina, the fleet caught up with us at Stromboli which is not good enough for a 100-footer."
At Stromboli Esimit headed inland, finding breeze while her rivals slowed down. "After that tactical move we led comfortably for the rest of the race despite having to park several times especially behind the islands in front of Trapani."
The line honours time set by Esimit Europa 2
is over 24 hours slower than her two previous successes at the Rolex Middle Sea Race, proving how difficult the race has been for the fastest boats.
At 08:09.56 CEST this morning, Niklas Zennström's Rán 2
(GBR) became the second boat to cross the finishing line, arriving after 92 hours, 29 minutes and 56 seconds at sea. In doing so, the 21.94m/72-ft Mini Maxi put herself in pole position on handicap, and set the bar for the remainder of the fleet. "It was a very long race and during the first half it seemed like it might be even longer,"
commented Zennström. "It was quite frustrating at times and we ran out of food. Racing against Stig - a rival Mini Maxi - though made the light racing a lot more enjoyable."
Alessandro Rombelli's Stig (ITA) was the third boat to cross the finish line in Malta, arriving some 1 hour 20 minutes after Rán 2.
Much of the fleet still at sea is now on the western-most stretch of the course between Trapani and Lampedusa. All will be hoping that the fresher winds persist to carry them back to the finish and some will be hoping to challenge Rán 2 for the overall title
Live race tracking from the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race is available here
as a record-breaking 83 international entries contest this classic offshore race.
View highlights on the ISAF website here