Squibs | Rolex Middle Sea Race

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Här har vi några engelsmän som tagit sin J/109 på äventyr. Från Portsmouth till Malta för att segla 600 distans långa Rolex Middle Sea Race. Och vi som gnäller på våra transportseglingar.

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SQUIBS (GBR6609R) departed its home berth at Port Solent, Portsmouth on Tuesday, 8th July 2008 and travelled over three thousand miles to arrive in Malta on Monday, 29th September to take part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. This journey had been an enjoyable adventure cruise for the two of us with fifty-six interesting ports of call on the way.

On arrival in Malta SQUIBS was based in the superbly situated Grand Hotel Excelsior marina overlooking the historic Marsamxett Harbour, very close to the Rolex Middle Sea Race starting line. This was boat heaven for SQUIBS as the six man crew gathered from Malta, England and Hong Kong.

The 606 mile Rolex Middle Sea Race started with the boom of a military field gun from the Royal Malta Yacht Club at eleven o’clock sharp on Saturday, 18th October. The yachts dispersed slowly out of Marsamxett Harbour in spectacular fashion with the fortifications of Valletta as a backdrop. The winds were light as the yachts headed north towards Sicily.

When darkness fell on the first day the night was dotted to the horizon with yacht navigation lights. These faded as the leading yachts disappeared over the horizon. SQUIBS’ race was slow to the Messina Strait and on past the conical splendour of Stromboli, the volcanic island north of Sicily which hissed smoke and gas at least three times per hour. SQUIBS continued slowly west clearing the top of Sicily during the fifth day morning.

The wind then finally offered substance as SQUIBS passed inside Favignana to head south towards Pantelleria. Little were we to know that we would be strapped tight for the next fifteen hours with three reefs in the main and a small jib as the winds were constantly in excess of 35 knots with higher gusts. As we pounded into the night the intensity of the storm worsened. It became prudent to find shelter on the leeward side of the approaching Pantelleria Island where we made fast, slept out the storm and made necessary repairs. By morning the storm had passed. SQUIBS was back in the race but with limited time to finish before the cut off.

Apart for one drifting spell between Pantelleria and Lampedusa the winds were kind to us. Lampedusa to Comino offered a tough beat but we were making reasonable progress. This was until night fell when the wind totally disappeared as we arrived at the Comino Channel. Suddenly we were windless, without any steerage and being sucked through the channel at two knots totally out of control, fortunately not in any danger of hitting anything. All seemed lost as we drifted miles out to sea before we could escape the current’s clutches. The entire Malta coast seemed windless.

We eventually found wind miles offshore and shy reached all the way to Valletta. We finished less than two hours before the cut off and were ecstatic. We had completed the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

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