As the final drama of the 23rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is played out, with one yacht still to finish, the winners under IMS and IRC Handicap are all but confirmed.
Provisionally, the following yachts are in the top slots:
1. Market Wizard (MLT1090)J-109 J. Ripard/A. Calascione
2. Oh Jee (GER5156)J-105 S. Stein
3. Lady First (FRA1456)First 456 J.P. Dreau
1.Squalo Bianco (ITA13927)First 40.7 C. Costa
2.Grande Cesare (ITA4102)Canard 41 A. Casini
3.Oh Jee (GER5156)J-105 S. Stein
Overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race goes to the winner of the largest handicap division. For this year that is IRC.
The key period in the race proved to be from Stromboli to Capo San Vito according to Andrew Calascione, co-skipper of the J-109, Market Wizard (MLT1090); "At this stage, we began to feel that we were doing well, particularly against the bigger yachts. The light winds were suiting us and our tactical decision-making was spot on much of the time. Certainly, the combined experience of the race on board was in our favour".
Local boat aside, the nature of Market Wizard's success should not be underestimated. Commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis points out that, " this edition has seen an excellent level of competition throughout the fleet. The quality of the crews and boats entered has delighted us all. It is particularly pleasing to have attracted a strong international contingent, which in turn has helped bring out the best in the local boats."
Market Wizard is new to Ripard and Calascione, and the crew had barely two weeks to get to grips with this latest model from the J-Boat stable. "We had confidence in the design based on its results at other major regattas and the Round Britain Race. It's potential for good offshore racing was clearly there. We just had to get the best from the yacht Fortunately, John Ripard, Timmy Camilleri and myself have sailed together for many years. Winning the race last year also stood us in good stead," added Calascione.
The prize giving is scheduled to take place at the Royal Malta Yacht Club tomorrow (Saturday) at noon.