Podium Fills Up In Malta As More Boats Cross The Finish Line - Nokia Takes Title on Corrected Time
Nokia has won the Rolex Middle Sea Race completing a remarkable racing season for owner Charles DUNSTONE (GBR), boss of the Carphone Warehouse.
Racing under her NOKIA Connecting People branding, Charles Dunstone's Enigma finished the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta on Tuesday afternoon but it was not until 1123 local time today, Thursday, that time ran out for the chasing pack to improve on NOKIA's time.
A steady stream of yachts have crossed the Rolex Middle Sea Race finish line in Malta today. Thirty eight boats have now completed the 607-mile course and although overall honours in the IRC Class was sewn up by Nokia two days ago, second place overall on the podium has now been taken by the Italian boat Squalo Bianco.
Concetto COSTA'S Beneteau 40.7 Squalo Bianco has also collected IMS and IRM honours and IRC Class B overall honours. This fast white boat from Sicily has had a remarkable race starting powerfully last Saturday and moving swiftly into the lead before the start line was far behind. Being a boat from the Sicilian port of Catania local knowledge played an important part in the tactical choices made on the first night at sea. Costa's crew guided the boat close along the Sicilian East coast and into a commanding lead in Class B, sailing around with boats much larger than her own 41 feet. The Sicilian crew sailed consistently afterwards, never getting trapped in the multitude of wind traps around the course, to finish at 21:30 on Wednesday night.
As the smaller boats picked up their moorings in the Grand Harbour Marina during the day, the stories of the Royal Malta Yacht Club's classic offshore race started to flow. On the docks, in the shadow of Fort St Angelo, ancient home of the Knights of the Order of St John, German sailor Sonke Stein, owner and skipper of the J-105 Oh Jee, had plenty to recount:
"That was a tough race. We had no breakdowns, but often I thought we are putting this old boat through some terrible conditions. Coming round the Western end of Sicily we had 38 knots of wind and some wild waves. It was hard to keep the crew on the boat with all of the water flying around. The best moment, other than finishing here and smoking this cigar, has to have been running downwind at high speed through the Straits of Messina in the dark on the second night. I'll never forget that."
Doug FLYNN'S Beneteau 47.7 Kirribilli managed to finish last night after some spectacular sailing from Lampedusa. Helmsman Jaimie BOAG commented on his race:
"I think the highlight for me was the last day at sea, sailing downwind in strong winds and warm water from Lampedusa to the finish. It was magnificent. That is the kind of sailing I love. The whole race is magic but the cherry on the cake was that long fast run."
Six boats remain at sea at sunset on Thursday. The last boat on the course is Ernesto MORESINO'S Martinez Impunito, just rounding Lampedusa, 100 miles from the finish.