By Midnight virtually the entire fleet racing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race had passed through the Straits of Messina, heading for Stromboli, the active volcano that marks the most northerly part of the 608 mile course. As high pressure moved in from the north, the area around Stromboli had virtually no gradient wind and for those yachts yet to reach Stromboli, a south flowing current has slowed proceedings even further. For the competitive offshore yacht racer, performing well in light wind is more difficult than blasting through a storm at top speed.
After two nights at sea, the crew may well be at their lowest energy level for the whole race. The rhythm of offshore life has not been established and the ever changing wind saps energy through numerous sail changes. Concentration also becomes difficult. After the excitement of the start adrenalin levels are now lower and keeping alert is not as easy. In light airs, losing focus on the helm, or on the sail trim, can be very costly and stalling the boat in little wind makes it difficult to get going again.
At sunset on Day Two Line Honours favourite, Igor Simcic’s Maxi, Esimit Europa 2, entered a transition zone in the wind and came to a virtual standstill until dawn. This allowed the duelling pair of Maxi 72s to close the gap. Niklas Zennstrom’s Swedish JV72, Ran V and George Sakellaris’ RP72, Shockwave are now just ten miles behind, Esimit Europa 2. Ran V is now the provisional leader of IRC 1.