Malta Rolex Middle Sea Race: A Classic Yacht Racing Epic


October 12, 2023

Malta Rolex Middle Sea Race: A Classic Yacht Racing Epic

In its 44th edition, the Malta Rolex Middle Sea Race promises to be an unforgettable classic yacht racing extravaganza. This iconic event, partnered with Rolex since 2002, is a testament to the skill and passion of sailors worldwide. Starting on the 21st of October, this challenging 606-nautical mile race will push participants to their limits.

A Gathering of Elite Sailors

Drawing elite sailors from across the globe, this classic yacht race anticipates over 100 yachts representing 25 countries. Crewed by dedicated offshore sailors, the race celebrates talent and tenacity.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race isn’t just any race; it’s a gathering of elite sailors from around the world. With a history spanning 44 years, this race has evolved into a prestigious event that attracts some of the best maritime talent on the planet. More than 100 yachts from 25 countries come together, crewed by dedicated offshore sailors who are eager to put their skills to the test.

A Tradition of Excellence

Part of Rolex’s enduring commitment to challenging 600-mile races, the Rolex Middle Sea Race, like its historic counterparts, the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, offers a unique challenge.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is part of a longstanding tradition of excellence, reflecting Rolex’s unwavering commitment to supporting challenging 600-mile races. It stands alongside legendary races such as the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. These races are known for pushing sailors to their limits, offering a unique blend of competition and adventure.

Renowned by Sailors

Sailors like Paul Cayard and Robert Scheidt, both past competitors and Rolex Testimonees, praise the race’s impressive course, energetic start in Valletta, encounters with wildlife, and breathtaking island passages.

When renowned sailors like Paul Cayard and Robert Scheidt share their experiences, you know this race is something extraordinary. These sailing legends, who have both competed in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, commend the race’s remarkable course that combines history and rugged beauty. It starts with an energetic kick-off in Valletta, where the Mediterranean’s crossroads set the stage for an incredible journey filled with encounters with wildlife and breathtaking island passages.

A Heritage of Adventure

Founded by Corinthian sailors testing their skills and resilience in offshore racing, the race’s spirit of adventure remains intact.

The roots of the Rolex Middle Sea Race harken back to its Corinthian origins. It was founded by sailors eager to test their skills and resilience in offshore racing, a spirit that continues to define the race’s essence. This heritage of adventure is what keeps the event fresh and exciting year after year.

General Informations about the race:

An Iconic Start and Finish

The race begins and ends in the Grand Harbour in Valletta, Malta’s capital, offering a visually stunning start with cannons signaling the yachts’ departure.

One of the most iconic aspects of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is its start and finish location. The race commences from the Grand Harbour in Valletta, the capital of Malta, providing a visually stunning spectacle as cannons positioned high above the water signal the yachts’ departure. It’s a moment that captures the essence of this grand event and draws spectators from near and far.

Navigating Challenges

The race circumnavigates Sicily, featuring distinct sections with their own challenges, from active volcanoes to tricky straits and rugged islands.

Sailing around Sicily is no small feat, and the Rolex Middle Sea Race is up for the challenge. The race circumnavigates the Italian island, offering sailors a diverse set of challenges, from navigating tricky straits to passing rugged islands. And let’s not forget the active volcanoes—Etna and Stromboli—that add an extra layer of excitement to the course.

Conquering Weather Challenges

Unpredictable weather patterns add to the race’s complexity. Fast boats aim to finish within 48 hours, while others take between four to six days. Crews must manage physical and human resources meticulously.

Mother Nature plays a significant role in the race, with unpredictable weather patterns adding complexity to the already challenging course. Fast boats aim to cross the finish line within 48 hours, a feat that requires relentless effort and minimal rest. On the other hand, some crews may take between four to six days to complete the race, demanding meticulous management of physical and human resources throughout.

A Proud Legacy

The Royal Malta Yacht Club, the race’s organizer since its inception, emphasizes both competitors and the sport’s future. The event draws diverse participants in terms of nationality, boat type, and experience.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has been the driving force behind this prestigious race since its inception. In recent years, the Rolex Middle Sea Race has gained recognition as one of the must-do offshore classics. Its appeal goes beyond just elite sailors, as past competitors, representing diverse nationalities, boat types, and experience levels, return to participate time and time again. The commitment to both competitors and the future of the sport is evident in the race’s success and inclusivity.

A Rewarding Finish

Competitors who excel have the chance to be recognized by their peers, with the most prestigious awards being the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy and a Rolex timepiece presented to the overall winner on handicap.

The race is more than just a competition—it’s an opportunity for competitors to gain recognition from their peers. The most prestigious awards are the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy and a Rolex timepiece, awarded to the overall winner on handicap. These prizes are a symbol of excellence in the world of yacht racing.

For Participants and Spectators Alike

The Rolex Middle Sea Race offers an unforgettable experience for both sailors and spectators, embodying the enduring spirit of yacht racing.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is more than just a race; it’s an experience that captures the enduring spirit of yacht racing. Whether you’re on board as a participant or cheering from the shore as a spectator, this event promises unforgettable moments that celebrate the essence of this remarkable sport.

How to Follow the Race

For those looking to track the race or receive updates, several resources are available:

  • Race Tracker: All participating yachts are equipped with tracking units, allowing you to monitor their progress during the race.Want to keep a close eye on the action? The Rolex Middle Sea Race has you covered. Every participating yacht is equipped with tracking units, enabling enthusiasts like you to follow their progress during the race. You can watch as they navigate the challenging course, witness their triumphs, and share in their challenges.
  • Race Updates: Stay informed through the official website and race social media channels. Regular press releases cover entries and race details. Updates are provided daily during the race, highlighting the day’s action and fleet progress.

Stay in the know with the latest updates on the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The official website and race social media channels provide a wealth of information. From entry details to daily race highlights, you’ll find it all. Regular press releases keep you updated on the latest developments, and during the race, daily updates ensure you’re in the loop regarding the day’s action and fleet progress.

Main course distances:

Grand Harbour, Valletta (start) – Capo Passero (Sicily) 55nm
Capo Passero – Messina Strait (exit, Punta del Faro) 98nm
Messina Strait – Strombolicchio 35nm
Strombolicchio – Favignana (Egadi Islands)150nm
Favignana – Pantelleria 74nm
Pantelleria – Lampedusa 90nm
Lampedusa – Comino 94nm
Comino – Marsamxett Harbour (finish) 10nm

Current Race records:

The outright race record is 33 hours 29 minutes 28 seconds set by Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 Argo (USA) in 2021

The monohull race record is 40 hours 17 minutes 50 seconds set by the 100 foot / 30.5 metre Comanche (CAY) in 2021

A Race of Milestones

The Rolex Middle Sea Race offers a picturesque racecourse with numerous landmarks. It circumnavigates the Italian island of Sicily in a counter-clockwise direction, incorporating its outlying islands into the course.

The race is more than a mere competition; it’s a journey filled with milestones. As the yachts circumnavigate the Italian island of Sicily, you can expect to encounter numerous landmarks and breathtaking views. The course, following a counter-clockwise direction, incorporates Sicily’s outlying islands, each with its own unique charm and significance. It’s a voyage through history, from ancient Greek mythology and the Roman Empire to the Byzantine era, the rise of Islam, the reign of the Kings of Spain, the era of the Crusades, the Napoleonic Wars, and all the way through to World War II.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is not just a competition; it’s a voyage through history and a celebration of human achievement. It encapsulates the spirit of adventure, the pursuit of excellence, and the enduring passion for yacht racing.

As the excitement builds for the 44th edition of this iconic race, sailors and spectators alike eagerly anticipate the next chapter in its storied history. The Malta Rolex Middle Sea Race is a classic yacht racing extravaganza, representing the very essence of maritime excellence and the unrelenting pursuit of adventure on the high seas. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or an enthusiastic spectator, this race promises a thrilling experience like no other. So, mark your calendar for the 21st of October, when this exceptional event kicks off, and get ready to witness a remarkable display of skill, determination, and sheer love for the open water. The Malta Rolex Middle Sea Race is where legends are made, and history is etched on the waves. Don’t miss it!

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