Sailing Logic Blog

RMSR Report. Day 3 am.

The team for the Rolex Middle Sea Race met for the first time, in Malta, just 7 days ago. After a quick familiarisation with the yacht and a training day, the crew took Lion Logic to victory in the warm-up Coastal Race.

From light airs and 27-28C the crew were suddenly faced with strong winds of upto 30 knots! Unfortunately they suffered considerable damage to their mainsail and heavy kite, but by then they had established such a lead that even though they finished under tri-sail, they couldn’t be beaten and were delighted to claim the Overall victory in IRC, and celebrate at the fantastic pre-race party on Thursday evening.

After several days of frantic sewing by a local sail loft, the sails were delivered back to the boat just in time for the main race start on Saturday morning.

Lion Logic, our Reflex 38 is racing in IRC4, by far the largest fleet in the race, with over 46 of the 100 competing yachts. Lion with Tim Thubron on the helm had a great start, right alongside long-time rival ‘Seawolf of Southampton’. Seawolf is a Pronavia 38 – very similar to the Reflexes and has a history of good results in this race – so Skipper Dave Latham will definitely be one to watch! There is also another Reflex 38 competing this year, ‘Kabestan Intuition’, sailed by a Russian charter group.

So far, in contrast to the Coastal race, the race has been beset with light winds. The wind is currently blowing only 7-8 knots from the SW, and as the yachts head around the North of Sicily there game of find-the-wind is in full swing. And with the forecast for the wind to drop to under 5 knots over the next few days this could be a painful race.   

As the boats left Valetta and raced North towards Messina straights under spinnaker Lion were 17th in class (on handicap) and right in amongst the action with their main rivals. Unfortunately a gust caused them to blow their Big Red kite, and as the wind continued to drop and with only the heavier kite available, Lion dropped a few places to mid-fleet.

Other UK based boats to watch include the First 40 ‘La Reponse’ (nicked names Larry Sponse by our Round Ireland race crew last year!) and ‘Trustmarque Quokka’ the Grand Soleil 43 who were both creeping away from the fleet, but level pegging with each other. However, once through the Messina straights and into the wind hole, it allowed the rest of the fleet a chance to catch up.

As the boats rounded the active volcano of Stromboli, the fleet spread with some boats heading North and others South looking for wind, although with most boats recording less than 1 knot of boat speed there wasn’t much opportunity to seek better conditions. Lion, Quokka and Larry all initially headed South, with Kabestan Intuition slightly further North and Seawolf somewhere in the middle.

As the wind picked up overnight last night, boat speeds were upto 6 knots and everyone swapped positions, with Seawolf and Quokka heading North, and Kabestan and Larry to the South. Lion also went North, but appeared to change their mind and head back South where there was more wind.

You can track the race live using the Rolex Middle Sea Race online tracker here.

Current boat speed is about 1.0 knot.  Very hot days and very little wind are no doubt making for quite frustrating conditions on board. The boats are so close on the water that any puff of breeze changes the results. So we will have to wait and see who comes out on top!

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