Rolex Middle Sea Race to return in October
Published: Monday, 21 August 2017
The 38th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race takes place on Saturday October 21. More than 50 yachts from 20 countries will participate in the event.
(Photos: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo - Malta's Grand Harbour)
The race is often referred to as taking place at the ‘Crossroads of the Mediterranean’ due to its geographical location; while the course has been described by cognoscenti as the “most beautiful in the world”, with its seascapes, rugged islands, active volcanoes and raw beauty.
Past experience suggests the number of entrants is set to rise significantly before registration closes on October 7 and the final list may challenge the record of 124 starters set in 2014.
“We are delighted with the diversity of yachts already committed to taking part in this year’s race,” explained Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore, Godwin Zammit. “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is an event which continues to entice owners and sailors from around the world. It’s a challenging, scenic, unpredictable race married to the warm hospitality of Malta, a country overseas competitors love returning to.”
The international element of the race is impressive. Swedish sailor Jonas Grander, owner of the 44ft Matador, is enjoying a busy year of offshore racing. Joseph Mele’s Swan 44 Triple Lindy from the USA is another to be seeking to complete the triumvirate of offshore 600-milers. Another North American entrant is the J/133 Blue Jay III from Canada. The significant array of British yachts includes race enthusiast Alex Thomson sailing double-handed on the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss and the Infiniti 46R Maverick, third finisher overall last year on IRC handicap. Coming from furthest afield is the 35ft New Zealand entrant Crusader, another recent Rolex Fastnet finisher.
The largest entrant is the 100ft Maxi Leopard, a perennial offshore race campaigner over the past decade, although returning to Malta for the first time in seven years. Two highly-competitive Maxi 72s will also be in contention as fastest finishers.
(George David's 88-Foot Rambler)
Three of the past four winners of the race have come from Italy. Perhaps no surprise given the Rolex Middle Sea Race course comprises the anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily and a significant tactical stretch through the Strait of Messina. Ten Italian entrants are currently in contention.
Other countries and territories represented include Austria, Bulgaria, the Cayman Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
The final prize giving ceremony will be held on Saturday October 28.