Rough conditions off Malta splits the fleet

“It was a crazy race,” said Cangiano aboard Kiton Outerlimits. “On the first lap, we lost radio contact with the team manager forcing us to cover the opening five laps as if they were our first. It’s incredibly difficult when it’s rough, but it’s the spirit of the Powerboat P1 Endurance race to have rough conditions, risk and challenge.”

The heavy diesel-powered GFN Gibellato had proved a revelation in the smooth conditions of the season-opener in San Benedetto del Tronto in Italy. As expected, it was even more ideally suited to pushing through Saturday’s rougher sea areas off Valletta. A poor start which left the outfit trailing the competition and having to fight its way through the fleet, was perhaps all that prevented the crew from scoring their second win of the season.

Third place was taken by a buoyant Mark Pascoe and Richard Carr in Honeyparty.com, scoring their first points of the year after impressive pace following poor reliability in the opening two rounds. The Chief-powered Skater was a consistent front-runner throughout the course on Saturday despite, having a shorter hull, finding it tough going in the rough conditions.

“It was very hard work – very tough – but great to get some points on the board,” Carr said. “Normally I like these conditions, but today I feel like I’ve gone eight rounds with Mike Tyson,” commented Mark Pascoe.

In fact, damage cracks could clearly be seen on Honeyparty.com‘s hull.

“Nowadays, P1 contenders are prepared for tighter courses,” said Pascoe. “It’s very hard to push through the waves. We could have gone faster, but we were just trying to save the boat for tomorrow.”

Lucas Oil had been in the early fight for the top three podium positions, but was forced out of the battle by a broken engine mount. That was a big help to the Fountain Worldwide crew, who moved up through the fleet after dropping back at the start. Sadly, for the Evolution class championship leaders, a suspected electrical problem meant they lost engine power and ultimately had to settle for fourth place.

“We started well,” said team boss and throttleman Craig Wilson. “We were just trying to get a feel for the boat and the conditions, and then started picking off the competition one by one. There’s no way we would have caught Kiton Outerlimits, but we could have scored some good points. Obviously we’re very disappointed, but that’s racing.”

Cranfields Wine and Centaurian Yachts rounded out the race finishers, with Pignolo and Italcraft both retiring with technical problems.