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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Aussie Yachtsman Wins Division Three at 2013 Rolex Middle Sea Race

Sydney yachtsman and professional photographer, Craig Grenhill, a three time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race competitor, has tasted sweet success in his debut Rolex Middle Sea Race by finishing first in Division 3 onboard  the J133 Oiltanking Juno, owned and skippered by David Anastasi and co-skippered with Sonke Stein.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
"It was a great race and the first time I've ever raced for over three days. The scenery was wonderful , good boat, good blokes and we had a bit of luck on our side too," Greenhill said.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The boat is registered in Germany but kept in Malta and crewed predominantly by Maltese sailors however for this race the inclusion of a Welshman, an Emirati and Greenhill made the crew truly international.
Photo: Craig Greenhill/www.saltwaterimages.com.au
"The boat won because of the crew's local knowledge which is critical in this race. The race is one where you are always heading for the next mark to turn. It's kind of like a big around the cans race with volcanoes as turning marks. 
Photo: Craig Greenhill/www.saltwaterimages.com.au

"Our crew used last year's failure to perform as a guide to win. They basically did everything the opposite to what they did during last year's race. The boat competes in all local regattas. Cigars are what keeps the crew awake on watches and  hardly an hour passes by without a cigar session. Our navigator caught a bug and was out of action for 24 hours, but after a day in the bow sleeping it off he came back to life with a new leaf. The boys focused on their night racing knowing that is where we could put some serious distance on our competitors."
Photo: Craig Greenhill/www.saltwaterimages.com.au
This strategy worked, but only after the crew were hit by a massive hole at the top end of Sicily where 70 boats were parked up together in a line. Basically this was a total restart in a  race with two starts. Juno Oiltanking stayed in the centre with the pack, while those in the fleet that went out wide took off.
Photo: Craig Greenhill/www.saltwaterimages.com.au
"We thought the race was over for us. However, by the next morning we had regained our lead leaving the majority of the fleet behind us, by picking the fickle winds around the many islands on the North Coast of Sicily." he added.
Photo: Craig Greenhill/www.saltwaterimages.com.au
"We held off Big One, a Volvo 60, for three days, only to give them the lead when they big reached to Lampandusa under steady winds. The last leg from Lampandusa was exciting when Xp-act, an X44, charged at us and we were able to hold them off to the finish line and claim the Maltese line honors. 
Xp-act Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
"The highlight for me was the difficult Stromboli turning point where the fleet compressed. The volcano was active with steam pouring out of it and it wassuch an amazing sight. We were accompanied by about 12 dolphins, two turtles and one whale along the way. We won IRC 3, ORC 3, Maltese line honors and Maltese ORC."

For full results see>>>

Lulu Roseman

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