Rolex Volcano Race leg two start
Capri’s Marina Piccola was the setting for the start of the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race’s final leg which set sail today at 18:00 CEST as the event’s 15-strong Maxi fleet departed for a 300 mile round trip through the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Conditions were uncharacteristic for the region at this time of year with heavy rain pouring down for much of the afternoon before a blue sky and a rainbow ushered in the start of part two of this offshore race.
Following Saturday’s inshore race in Gaeta, southern Italy, and the first offshore leg, leg two sends the fleet on another challenging course, head south to negotiate the islands of Salina, Vulcano and Stromboli before returning to Capri.
The fleet were eager to get going: “I think it is one of the nicest racing courses in the Mediterranean,” explained Wild Joe (HUN) owner Márton Józsa. “I am expecting an interesting race. Strong downwind conditions would suit us.” This is what is currently forecast.
Filip Balcaen, owner of the 112-foot Nilaya (BEL) added: “In these conditions we could be the first boat back although you can never make big predictions before the start.”
Gordon Maguire was part of Stephen Ainsworth’s winning Loki crew in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart and is currently skipper of the 67ft Caol Ila (USA), one of the Rolex Volcano Race ‘s 11-strong Mini Maxi fleet. The Whitbread veteran was in expectant mood: “The interesting thing is that all the weather maps are showing contradictions which usually means the low pressure system creating the winds we are having at the moment is a lot more complex than the computers can model. We are not going out into a race where we know what is going to happen but that is always a little bit of fun. Sailing overnight to a group of islands I personally haven’t been round before is quite exciting.”
At 19:30 CEST, the leading yachts were travelling at approximately 10 knots with Sir Peter Ogden’s Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) marginally ahead of Y3K (GER) and Nilaya, some 105 miles from Salina.
As the fleet head into the night, current predictions are that the first yachts will be back in Capri sometime tomorrow evening.
The overall winner of Leg Two will be awarded the Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the La Canzone del Mare, on Friday 25 May.