Middle Sea Race: Teasing Machine confirmed winner

At 1600 CEST on Wednesday, 26 October, the winner of the 43rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race was announced as Eric de Turckheim’s French NMYD 54 Teasing Machine.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has confirmed that none of the remaining yachts still racing is able to better Teasing Machine’s corrected time under IRC.

“It is a huge emotion winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race,” said de Turckheim. “It is our first 600 (nm) race overall, after making several podiums around the world. On top of that, it is certainly our favourite 600nm race because of the complexity of the course, the complexity of the winds.”

“I have a passion for the 600nm races,” he continued. “It’s like running a marathon. It’s a mixture of being competitive 24 hours after 24 hours, and having the resistance and the teamwork. It was our seventh race and experience counts a lot.”

Teasing Machine Crew: Eric de Turckheim, Laurent Pages, Christian Ponthieu, Quentin Le Nabour, Tony Brochet, Gabriele Olivo, Betrand Castelnerac, Paco Lepoutre, Aleandre Degrival, Jerome Teillet, Quentin Bouchacourt

The Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Commodore, Eric de Turckheim is a force to be recokoned with in any offshore race. Teasing Machine’s record at the Rolex Middle Sea Race was already exceptional before this overall win. A class winner and third overall in 2017, on the NMYD 54’s debut, was followed up with second in class in 2019, third in class in 2020, and second in class in 2021. Teasing Machine is the fourth French yacht to have won the Rolex Middle Sea Race following in the footsteps of Antares (1981), Spirit of Ad Hoc (2008) and Courrier Recommandé (2018).

Day 5 IRC Class Update 1600 CEST

With the confirmation that Teasing Machine cannot be beaten by those left on the racecourse, attention turns to the class standings and the respective podiums. Only IRC 1 has a full complement of finishers in the clubhouse and so, for the boats still racing, there is plenty to play for.

As at 1600 CEST on Wednesday, 26 October, 17 yachts racing under IRC Time Correction for the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy have completed the course. 38 boats have officially retired mostly due to the continuing lack of wind across the course area and little prospect of substantial change. 43 boats are still racing under IRC.

Jean-Pierre Barjon’s Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina (FRA) converted the time correction lead that she held at Pantelleria into a class win. Marton Josza’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe (HUN) had traded the lead with Spirit of Lorina for much of the race, and was on the podium at all transit points except Lampedusa. A superb recovery on the final open water leg enabled the DSS foil equipped boat to leapfrog Cippa Lippa X and Rán, to take second place, 50 minutes off the winning pace. Niklas Zennstrom’s CF 520 Rán (SWE) eventually placed third, only seven minutes behind Wild Joe on corrected time and 30 minutes ahead of Guido Paolo Gamucci’s Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X (ITA) in fourth.

Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA) made a strong finish to the race. Off the podium at Stromboli, she was up to second at Favignana, and into a two hour lead at Lampedusa. The TP52 Red Bandit (GER), skippered by Carl-Peter Forster was on the podium from the start, falling off only at Favignana. Unable to make any gains against Teasing Machine on the leg to Comino, Red Bandit currently holds a substantial lead over Gerald Logel’s IRC 52 Arobas2 (FRA) and Gregor Stimpfl’s Scuderia 65 Hägar V, the other two finishers in third and fourth respectively. Five yachts are still racing, including the Frederic Puzin’s Ker 46 Daguet 3- Corum (FRA), which for a long time was looking a good bet for the overall podium but whose challenge appears to have been undone by the diminishing wind conditions. The Katarzyna Ostrowska skippered Tripp 50, Fast Furious (POL) is last boat in class on the course, just south of the Egadi Islands.

James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX (GBR) is on the penultimate leg from Lampedusa to the South Comino Channel with 70nm to run. Meanwhile, Artie III (MLT) co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, is making ‘rapid’ progress towards Lampedusa chased by Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen (FRA). For so long, Artie and Ino were joined at the hip. At Pantelleria, Ino’s lead was 23 minutes on corrected time. Yesterday afternoon the elastic snapped and Ino escaped while Artie wallowed. Ino is not out of trouble and has endured a difficult fifth day so far. Artie is currently sailing twice as fast as Ino XXX, with twice the distance to cover. Last boat in IRC 3 on the water is Bernard Hyde’ New Zealand entry High 5, currently located just south of the Egadi Islands.

At the Pantelleria transit, Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator (FRA) held a seven hour advantage over, currently, second placed Esentia (POL), the Grand Soleil 44 entered by Marcin Sutkowski. Conor Doyle’s Xp50 Freya (IRL) is in third on the water abeam of Pantelleria, while the Podesta’s Farr 45 Elusive 2, for so long leading the class on time correction, has just reached the isolated island. The situation in this class will become clearer once both are through the transit. IRC 4 yachts stretch back to San Vito Lo Capo, where Maks Vrecko’s Elan 450 Karpo (SLO) is last boat on the water in class.

Gianrocco Catalano’s First 40 Tevere Remo Mon Ile (ITA) has made Pantelleria and continues to hold an impressive lead. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) has managed to reduce it by 8nm since yesterday’s update, but the Romans on board Tevere Remo Mon Ile are still 27nm ahead. Beppe Bisotto’s Fast 42 Atame (ITA), racing double handed with Catherine Jordan, is 83nm behind the class leader. Atame is now third in class after Jonathan Gambin’s Dufour 44 Ton Ton Laferla (MLT) retired yesterday.

Massimo Juris’ JPK 1080 Colombre (ITA) leads on the water and after IRC time correction according to the tracker. Colombre is sailing downwind to Pantelleria in light and variable winds. The chasing pack are closing the gap and seem to be in better breeze. Colombre’s nearest rival is now Ludovic Gérard’s JPK 1080 Solenn for Pure Ocean (FRA), racing double handed and which passed Seb Ripard’s J/99 Calypso (MLT) at Favignana. Calypso is now third on the water and in ranking. The smallest boats in the race are finally into good wind north of Sicily and making progress towards Favignana where spirits will be raised as they finally turn their bows south towards the finish.

IRC Double Handed
With the retirement of Red Ruby today, Solenn for Pure Ocean now leads IRC Double-Handed standings. Beppe Bisotto’s Fast 42 Atame (ITA) is ranked second and locked in battle with Marco Paolucci’s Comet 45R Libertine (ITA) in third, 2nm apart.
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