Rambler 88 takes Monohull Line Honours
George David’s American Maxi, Rambler 88, crossed the finish line of the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race at the Royal Malta Yacht Club to take Monohull Line Honours at 02:18:26 CET yesterday 25th October in an elapsed time of 02 days 14 hours 03 minutes 26 seconds. George David and the Rambler 88 crew were welcomed to the club by Godwin Zammit, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
Rambler 88 Crew: George David, Erle Williams, Brad Jackson, Rodney Ardern, Joca Signorini, Andrew Cape, Silvio Arrivabene, Josh Belsky, Lorenzo Mazza, Will McCarthy, Stu Wilson, Dean Phipps, Nathan Hislop, Mark Newbrook, Joe Fanelli, Jerry Kirby, Scott Beavis, Curtis Blewett, Brian Giorgio, Robbie Naismith
George David's American Maxi, Rambler 88, has taken Line Honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race for the second year in succession. The light winds of the first 24 hours meant that the Monohull and, indeed, outright, race record of 1 day 23 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds, set by George David in 2007, in a previous Rambler, remains intact for another year.
It was a tough race for the Rambler 88 crew, mentally rather than physically. There were several transition zones in the wind to be outwitted in order to secure the lead. And, the quality and depth of the international fleet was such that Rambler 88 could never afford to relax during the race. The Danish Volvo 70, Trifork, helmed by Bouwe Bekking was the main protagonist, nipping at the heels of Rambler 88 and, at one stage, briefly taking pole position. The Rambler 88 crew re-acted well to the pressure, never panicking, staying focused and eventually pulling away in the second half of the race to beat her closest rival by five hours.
There is all to play for in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. When Trifork crossed the finish line, she overtook Rambler in the overall corrected time standings, setting the current bar for the remaining yachts racing to beat. The best yacht under IRC time correction will be awarded the Rolex Middle Sea Trophy and a coveted Rolex timepiece.
Quotes from George David, Owner, Rambler 88
About the race: “The story of the race was that we had a couple of big shut downs in the breeze,” commented George David, once ashore in Malta. “The first was near Messina before the strait and the second one was right around Stromboli. Each time the breeze just shut down and the fleet behind sailed into us. We were all parked together and had to restart. And we restarted at least twice.”
“I would say this race was more frustrating than our previous ones. I’ve rarely seen compression as we had it those two times east of Messina and off Stromboli. I’m pretty confident the eventual results will show that we won the race clearly from Palermo to Malta and that we lost the race clearly from Malta to Palermo. It was effectively two races.”
On the race generally: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is always fun. This is the most beautiful racecourse in the world and that is a fact. The islands on a clear day are spectacular and Stromboli always erupts a little bit. We keep coming back because of the beauty of Malta, the hospitality of the people, the scenic views on the racecourse, and the wind which can be great and which can be frustrating.”
About the crew: “This crew has been together a long time and they have been through some tough times. A half dozen were with me in 2007 in this race, and maybe seven were with us in Ireland (in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race) when the 100 foot boat went upside down. So it is a very steady group, it is a quiet group, nobody raises his voice at all. We work well together and there is a lot of camaraderie and teamwork. It is part of the joy of sailing to have a good group to do it with.”
“When conditions are like they were in this race, we have two helmsmen in particular who seem to like it when the boat is going 0.00. I don’t like it. Typically, I go away somewhere, it’s not for me! When I saw Trifork come up to us in Stromboli I was a little concerned. Nobody ever gets angry or upset, but you do wonder how it can happen.”
About why he enjoys sailing: “It is a fun, challenging sport partly because of the element of luck. You can do all the preparation you want, all the strategy, planning, organisation, preparation, teamwork, training, design, materials, building … everything you can name but sometimes there is an element of luck. I don’t mind it. It is part of the game.” The big picture 107 yachts started the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race with 94 yachts racing for the overall prize of the Rolex Middle Sea Trophy, awarded to the best yacht racing under the IRC Rating system. There are six individual IRC classes, and winning class at the Rolex Middle Sea Race is a primary goal among the teams. Once that is achieved, the prevailing weather conditions will influence which class produces the overall winner.
At 14:00 CET on the fourth day of the race only two of the yachts vying for the overall prize had finished. Eight yachts have retired, leaving 84 still racing. While only a dozen yachts have rounded the most southerly mark of the course, Lampedusa, nearly 50 have passed Pantelleria. Those with strong claims on the class podiums are becoming more apparent. Maltese hopes for the race remain optimistic.
Aaron, Christoph & Maya Podesta's Maltese First 45 Elusive 2 was leading IRC 4 at Pantelleria, by just under 20 minutes on corrected time, from another locally based yacht - Timmy Camilleri & Josef Schultheis' Xp44 XP-ACT. In IRC 5, Lee Satariano's Maltese J/122 Artie, co-skippered by Christian Ripard and Sebastian Ripard, was leading the class by just under 40 minutes from Laurent Charmy's French J/111 SL Energies Fastwave. Yves Grosjean's French J/133 Jivaro is striving to keep in touch, currently lying third in Artie's class.
In terms of the main prize, it is a little early to be making firm predictions. There are three days of racing left, and over threequarters of the fleet still on the course. However, Vincenzo Onorato's Italian Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino is currently in pole position. Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew is still racing but is also looking like a possible winner. Maltese hopes probably rest with Artie, which was third overall at Pantelleria.
The weather conditions have been a moveable feast, gorging and starving the fleet throughout the past three days. Unsurprisingly, they look set to change again and perhaps decisively in favour of those yachts closest to the finish. The south easterly wind that has provided a relatively quick passage from Palermo to the finish for the faster yachts is due to fade overnight.
A terrific battle is building for the first Maltese boat to finish the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Artie was just one mile ahead of XPACT with Sean Borg's Xpresso, and the Podesta family racing Elusive 2, in a tight group of Maltese yachts heading for Lampedusa.
Rambler 88 on its arrival back to Malta