Ram­bler 88 takes Mono­hull Line Hon­ours

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

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

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