Sailing to success: DENSO backs class winner at Rolex Middle Sea Race

30 October 2020 | Article

Rossko, a high-performance yacht sponsored by DENSO, has taken a class win in one of the most renowned and challenging boat races in the world.

The JPK 1080 yacht, skippered by Timofey Zhbankov, was victorious in the IRC 6 class at the Rolex Middle Sea Race, a 606-nautical-mile championship that plots a circular route around Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. It also finished fifth out of 50 boats in the overall standings.

Having set off on 17 October, Rossko arrived at the finish line in Malta after a total sailing time of five days, eleven hours and thirteen minutes – some two hours faster than the nearest competitor in the same class.

This is the second consecutive class win for Timofey and his team, which DENSO has supported for many years alongside GROUPAUTO International, an ITG that DENSO works with closely.

Navigating uncertain waters

Rossko took the lead in the water on the second day of the race, and never relinquished it, with excellent navigation and crew work ensuring it extended its advantage as the race wore on.

But even if the race itself was a smooth affair, it was the build-up where the real difficulty lay, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Preparations to hold the race had continued throughout the crisis, but there was always an air of uncertainty as to whether it would actually be able to go ahead.

Organisers had put full safety protocols in place and made special alterations to the Notice of Race – but all eyes were on the COVID transmission rate in Malta. Even with days to go, as the teams travelled by boat to the Royal Malta Yacht Club, there were no cast-iron guarantees.

So it was with a sense of relief that the race got underway – a testament to the determination of participants and organisers alike. “The desire to uphold the tradition of this international sporting event will stand it in good stead for the future,” said a race statement. “The strength of purpose exhibited will undoubtedly inspire younger sailors to follow in the wake of their heroes and to continue the legacy.”