Stairway to Heaven – Day 4 Morning Report

Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 20:52

At 3:45 this morning Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran finally turned south at Favignana, closely followed by Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig. The Slovenian Maxi Esimit Europa 2 was long gone; by 0930 this morning the 100ft canting keel Slovenian Maxi was just 50 miles from Lampedusa, 158 miles from the finish and are expected in Malta some time this evening.

Esimit Europa 2 is almost assured of line honours and Ran and Stig are also on the fast road. However the battle for class honours and the overall crown is totally undecided, last night the majority of the fleet made slow progress along the top of Sicily in the whispering wind.

Reaching Favignana is crucial; the northwesterly breeze is running down the west of Sicily but not the north. Those that make Favigana can expect a significant increase in wind and in a downwind direction, dramatically increasing their speed to the finish.

In Class 4, Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard’s Artie RTFX is leading the class and have about 40 miles to go to make Favignana. The Maltese Champions will be using every means possible to speed their progress to the northwest corner of the course. Possibly their biggest threat to an overall win is now the Maxi yachts in front of them. Every hour that goes by the high performance yachts, Ran and Stig are speeding away, diminishing the corrected time lead that Artie RTF has built up over the last three days. Artie RTFX also has a threat from behind. Of the chasing pack in Class 4, Three Sisters, Pita Maha and Trustmarque Quokka look to be the biggest threat.

In Class 1, Ran’s average speed for the entire race has nearly doubled over night; propelled by the fresh nortwesterly wind Ran has also been powered up the rankings and is now the provisional leader of Class 1. However, Stig is just 5 miles behind ran this morning, the Italian team has fallen behind Ran but still poses a serious threat.

In Class 2, a pack of boats are approaching the crucial turning point of Favignana. Germana Tognella’s Cookson 50, Cantankerous look to get there first and should extend on the fleet when they turn downwind. However, three other yachts are very much in contention, taking into account their ratings. Speedy, Hi Fidelity and Optimum 3 Aspida are very much in the hunt for class honours.

In Class 3, Natale Lia’s Zenhea Takesha had a sensational night, the all-Italian crew mostly from Sicily have pulled out a lead of several miles from Josef Schultheis & Paolo Semeraro XP-ACT. Jonas Diamantino’s ILC 40 Comanche Raider Gasanmamo is enjoying a close battle on the water with Swan 56, Noonmark VI and the all Malta crew is still very much in contention after time correction. Jonas Diamantino contacted the media office this morning:

“We are so close to Noonmark that we can hear their conversation. There was very little wind last night but the occasional puff of wind was used as best as we could. We have plenty of food and water but I would ask the Royal Malta Yacht Club to make sure the bar is fully stocked for are arrival!”

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