The winner of the 50th anniversary Rolex Middle Sea Race was announced as Géry Trentesaux’s Courrier Recommandé.
Trentesaux adds the laurels of the Mediterranean’s highly-regarded 600-mile offshore classic to the Rolex Fastnet victory he achieved in 2015, and his many other successes.
Second place overall has been secured by the Czech entry Bohemia Praha Debra, the Figaro II, owned by Milan Tomek, which corrected out four hours behind.
Another French entry, the MN43 Albator, skippered by Philippe Frantz, took the final spot on the podium.
From the outside, Courrier Recommandé’s ability to push on in the strong upwind conditions encountered after Stromboli may well have made the difference.
It was not all plain sailing. Like many of the crews, Courrier Recommandé experienced a few alarming moments. Some could have ended their assault on the race title.
“At night, at Pantelleria, we broached and one of the crew went overboard,” he explained.
Fortunately, the crewmember stayed connected to the boat and the French crew were able to get going again: “We had no damage, but we took down the spinnaker for three hours. I steered for the next 60 miles, as I think I am a good helmsman in big wind.”
Given the eventual result, this last assertion seems entirely reasonable.
Igor Rytov, the overall winner sailing fully crewed in 2017 and double-handed this year, remarked that this leg over the top of Sicily was the one that cost them the most in terms of overall position.
Rytov’s proven willingness to push himself when the going gets tough was enough to win the 2018 double-handed class by two and half hours from Austrian entry, 2Hard.