The 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race put on a sensational start, with the 114 strong fleet currently spread between Syracuse to the north and midway between Malta and Sicily, to the south.
Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) is leading on the water, with Skorpios, the ClubSwan 125, the first monohull.
The race is on for the leaders to reach the Strait of Messina.
The Maxi Multihulls are hoping to keep enough of the breeze to the east of Sicily to make a seamless trip into the Tyrrhenian Sea and into the brisk easterly established to the north around Stromboli.
This (Sat) morning, Will Oxley, navigator on Mitch Booth-led Comanche (CAY), was uncertain if the Maxi Monohulls would be able to take advantage of this window of opportunity, but still felt confident that a new race record is on the cards.
The seventh and final start of the day was reserved for the fastest monohull entrants and some of the largest.
The group ranged in size from the clutch of 52 footers up to the, frankly, overpowering 42.56m/140ft Skorpios. The towering mast of the Swan yacht is taller than the Saluting Battery.
George David and his five-time line honours winner, the 27m/88ft Rambler, took full advantage to lead the class out of the harbour and to the first mark of the course just past the breakwater.
By Dragonara, proper order had been established with Skorpios leading Comanche and Rambler at the turn to the north.
Compared to the Maxi Multihulls, the leading monohulls made the crossing to Sicilian at a relatively pedestrian pace of around 13 knots, arriving at Capo Passero later in the evening.