Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spectacular Stromboli - Rolex Middle Sea Race

By sunset on Sunday evening a handful of boats in the 2011 Rolex Middle Sea Race fleet were facing the Strait of Messina. With the hostile current any boats still south of the Strait needed enough wind to get them through and luckily for most conditions were windier than forecast.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At 17:30 Skipper Dave Latham of Seawolf, a 38-footer from Gibraltar in Class 4 reported they were in great shape with the boat five miles from exiting the Strait, making eight knots over the ground under spinnaker, in a southerly breeze of 14 knots.
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
British boat Nisida had lost some ground during the morning after having done well overnight.

“We just exited the Strait and as we approached the narrows we came to a standstill and watched other boats come up towards us. But that happens now and again. Overall we are very happy getting through the Strait in good shape. The weather forecast has borne little relation to what we have received. Certainly we are here quicker than expected," skipper Peter Hobbs reported,
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“Looking forward to seeing Stromboli, where it is always difficult. We anticipate the wind going light off Capo San Vito, but we’ll see what happens. So far the menu has been good. We had a very good Thai green curry last night and tonight it is bolognese.”
Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The Italians onboard Catty Sark Waterfront Fleqreo, an Azuree 40 were also glad to be clear and en route to Stromboli. Co-skipper Enrico Lanzillo called in to report, “We’re just out of the Strait. We have 16 knots of breeze at 140 degrees, with the gennaker up, and making nine knots. The tidal current was going against us, so we managed to go inshore and find a favourable eddy, sailing near the (mainland) coast."
Stromboli Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
By 1800, race leaders Esimit Europa 2, Rán, and Alegre were around the corner at Stromboli and sailing along the top of Sicily. Esimit was approaching the northwest tip, near San Vito lo Capo, with Rán, approximately 88 nautical miles behind her, still off the Aeolian Islands, and Alegre a further 21 nautical miles behind, closing slowly. Over half of the fleet is now in the 35-nautical mile stretch of water between the Strait and the turn at Stromboli.
Alegre leaving Stromboli Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Alegre was sailing a heading of 070 degrees at eight knots.

“It was very painful getting to Messina, I must say. We should be further up to Rán, but that’s the way it is. We’ve got until Trapani to claw anything back from them and after that it’s pretty much a drag race home. The mood’s been up and down; there have been a few depressions, but it’s all pretty cheery right now. Just to get moving again after a long night last night was a big relief, and it was quite nice to sail through Messina this morning,” Alegre's navigator Will Best reported.
Alegre passing Stromboli Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
“Kind of hoping for anything (wind). If it’s an easterly component and it brings more pressure down towards Rán, we can get into them a bit; if not, and they park up hopefully we can still get into them a bit. We look at the tracker and can see when they’re getting lifted and gybing, and it’s definitely an advantage being behind them, for sure,” Best added.
Alegre Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Stromboli is part of the Aeolian Island archipelago, named after the wind god, Aeolus. The largest islands in the group are Lipari and Salina; others include Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea, as well as nearby islets. The islands are of volcanic origin and include two active volcanoes: Vulcano and Stromboli. Over 40 species of birds are found on the islands, including ten that are on the Sicilian Red List for threatened species.

Lulu Roseman

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