Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peter Isler on Titan

Someone doing his first ever Rolex Middle Sea Race, but undoubtedly one of the most experienced sailors in the fleet, is Peter Isler racing as part of the afterguard on Tom and Dottie Hill's Titan XII.

Isler has Transpacs, Rolex Fastnets, Transatlantics and Newport-Bermuda races under his belt, along with successful Cup campaigns and a couple of legs of the Volvo. He will not expect to see much of Jammin, given the difference in waterline length - the Maltese boat is a veritable minnow at 35-feet against the shark-like 76-foot American boat that hails from Puerto Rico.

Isler knows the Titan XII inside out having been part of the crew that smashed the 811-mile Montego Bay course record, but that all said he is frank in admitting his shortcomings on the Rolex Middle Sea Race and that it could be a steep curve for Titan. “I have been doing my homework and it looks like the course has a lot of opportunities for tactical decisions and local knowledge. It seems like the race is set up for someone who has done it before.

You could build up a lot of local knowledge and I, of course, have none so I am all ears! I'll take any chance I have to talk to someone who has done the race before about how to get up through the Straits, playing the currents there and the winds at the various turning marks. It'll be fun though. I love a highly tactical race with a lot of challenges,” commented Isler. And, recognising the benefits of prior knowledge of the course, the Hills have enlisted a couple of crew from the current Rolex Middle Sea Race course record-holder Zephyrus IV, another 76-foot sled design from Reichel-Pugh, albeit an earlier generation.

Despite the apparent challenge, Isler is clearly excited to be here and by the complexity of the course, and, he feels that even Rambler the biggest yacht in the fleet at around 15-feet longer than Titan XII will be looking over her shoulder as she approaches some of the more treacherous tidal gates and possible wind holes, “I'm thrilled to be doing one of the great ocean races of the world in a place I've never been before.

I sailed on Titan extensively in 2004/5 before the America's Cup programme started with BMW Oracle. We're looking forward to hopefully a fast race and another shot at a record,” added Isler.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race 2007 starts from Marsamxett Harbour, Malta, on Saturday 20th October 2007 at 1100. -