George David's 90ft super-maxi Rambler smashes Rolex Middle Sea Race record while Loki's crew airlifted off overnight 22/10/07

George David’s 90ft super-maxi Rambler has broken the Rolex Middle Sea Race record.

The team aboardRamblersailed an astonishing race and crossed the line at 11.45.03 this morning slicing a staggering 16 hours off the previous record set in 2000 by Robert McNeill’sZephyrus IVin one of the windiest races in the event’s history.

This water-ballasted, Reichel Pugh 90ft carbonfibre racing machine (formerlyAlfa Romeo) crossed the Royal Malta YC startline on Saturday morning and in the building 15-20kt breeze and soon established domination of the race northward up the coast of Malta towards Sicily.

Winds peaked round the west side of Sicily yesterday reaching well over 45kts but teamRamblercomprising Ken Read, Chris nicholson, Erle Williams, Wouter Verbraak, Andrew Lewis, Peter Dorien, Magnus Woxen, Casey Smith, Mick Harvey, David Byrne, George Peet, Greg Isett, Ian Gordon, David Peterson, Rick Deppe, Justin Clougher, Scott Beavis, Kelvin Trautman and Francus Glegaskis really came into their own as they charged downwind on the sleighride of their lives back into Grand Harbour Marina.

One of the team’s closest on-the-water rivalsTitan 12owned by Tom and Dotty Hill retired on the first night see previous news story here. 

The latest news this morning shows Australian entryLoki- another top contender – having lost her rudder last night while lying north of Golfo di Castallammare, just to the west of Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily.

According to the race office, a coordinated rescue involving Race Control and the Italian Coastguard Services resulted in the crew being lifted to safety by a helicopter operating out of Birgi Airport. The entire crew, headed by skipper Cam Miles, is safe and well in Palermo and their families have been notified. More news about the yacht – a Reichel Pugh 60 when we have it.

The Rolex race tracker shows Michel Kleinjans’ Lutra Open 40 -Roaring Fortyas one of the next boats to finish.