Saturday, November 24, 2018

J/122E ANITA Report- M

J/122E Anite in Rolex Middle Sea Race (Gzira, Malta/ Santiago, Chile)- After a really tough 50th edition of the ROLEX Middle Sea Race, the J/122e ANITA finished 3rd in IRC Class and 24th among 115 boats sailing.

The Spanish-Chilean team led by owner/ skipper Nicoléas Ibañez Scott, put up a strong effort in wildly variable weather conditions on the Mediterranean Sea, from “glass-outs” with burning sun, to 40+ kts, grey, cold, and 15 ft seas rolling over the deck.

Here is their “insider’s report” on what went down in this incredibly challenging “bucket list” race on the Mediterranean Sea.  Thanks to ANITA’s owner- Nicoléas Ibañez Scott.

“This was the second year that Anita, a J/122E, participated in the Middle Sea race, 600-mile race around Sicily and the islands that surround it.

It was an especially hard race, with only one-third of the fleet completing the race.

This year we sailed with more sails, more crew (8), and made various improvements in our maneuvers and how we used our navigation/ electronics equipment.

The race started off for us with a collision! The other boat came from behind and hit us in the stern and they ended up getting a badly broken bowsprit. We just got a little scratch astern.

The first long leg is getting to the Straits of Messina between Sicily and the mainland.  It was a long windward leg, with 12-16 knots. Our closest references were the J/133 JIVARO that was easily advancing on us in these conditions. And, the other was the J/122 JOY; they helped us find the correct sail trim.

At nightfall, the wind got lighter and near land, it also became unstable in intensity and direction.  Good tactical decisions and the use of our Code 0 in some transitions allowed us to place ourselves at the head of the fleet in our group and very well positioned in the overall fleet.

In the morning, a zone of total calm trapped the fleet. We floated for hours trying to move. Our new windseeker became crucial!
J/122E ANITA crew on rail- Rolex Middle Sea Race
In the afternoon, the wind finally returned astern and propelled us towards the Strait of Messina. We sailed in sight of the JPK 1180 for hours; in the end they would end up winning the regatta in our class and overall.

In the Straits of Messina, the wind and the currents became capricious, and forced us to continuous changes of sails and maneuvers.

The duel with the JPK 1180 "Courier Recommandée" in this section of the race was exciting for us, we go forward several times, sometimes the boats sail backwards due to the current.  In fact, we sailed just 20-30m from the shore to reduce the current effects.

Finally, we managed to escape from the "claws" of Messina and with a strong wind we got to the Strómboli volcano.

Then, there was one of the biggest highlights of our race, a port-starboard under spinnaker with the JPK 1180 in the middle of the night. From there, they would escape from us, culminating in a masterful race for them! But, frustrating for us!!

Soon after, an enormous lightning storm hits us. The wind came from every direction and intensity. Fortunately, a heavy thundershower caught us with the spinnaker on deck!

After rounding Strómboli, we began a long windward course to the Egades. The wind raged (up to 40 kts) and the waves were difficult to steer through.  In this section, the larger and heavier boats could pound through the seas better and took off from us.

We rounded Favignana rocks on the third night.  We believe this is where the JPK 1180 got away from us, as until this time we were still very close to them after beating upwind for so many hours.  At this stage, the wind was aft and the big waves behind us.  This leg was over 150 miles with 20-30 kts of wind.

J/122E ANITA- in Malta
We tried the A4 spinnaker for 15 minutes.  But, we quickly realized the boat was difficult to control in the big waves.  So, we lowered the A4 before losing control and breaking something. We sailed this leg with the main and 105% jib only, sailing much slower than many of our rivals.

We finally rounded Lampedusa the fourth night and we had a very wet leg from there to Malta, with 20 knots of wind.

We passed between Gozo and Malta before sailing under kite the last 15 miles and crossing the finish line after four exciting days of racing.

Good times, exciting duels, new lessons, a 3rd place in our class and we want to repeat next year!” Add to Flipboard Magazine.