by Penny Farmer
There are only three days to go until the start of the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race, kicking off in Malta and final preparations are underway as the Royal Malta Yacht club makes their final registrations. Yachts from eighteen different nations are taking up their berths at The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Grand Harbour Marina.
Rolex Middle Sea Race
An initial costal race takes place today in the buildup to the main event. Yellowbrick will be providing our trackers for the duration of the event.
At a recent press conference Commodore, Godwin Zammit introduced Principle Race Officer, Peter Dimech who explained the planning that has been put in place to start The Rolex Middle Sea Race from the historic Grand Harbour.
'It is too early to establish exactly what the weather will be like on Saturday but there is no doubt that the Grand Harbour will be extremely busy with competing boats. Transport Malta has closed the harbour to other shipping from 0830 until 1300 and we would specifically ask that any vessels that are in Grand Harbour keep well clear of the competing yachts. We are especially grateful to Transport Malta and the Armed Forces of Malta, who have been extremely co-operative, with a record number of yachts expected on the start line, we would anticipate that there will be four or five different starts, probably the best view will be from the Upper Barrakka Garden, I am sure it will be an amazing spectacle.'
The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968. Save for a break between 1984 and 1995 the event has been run annually attracting 25 -30 yachts.
Rolex Middle Sea Race - The Route
In recent years, the number of entries has rissen sharply to 78 boats thanks to a new Organising Committee who managed to bring Rolex on board as title sponsor for the Middle Sea Race.
The course record was held by the San Francisco based, Robert McNeil on board his Maxi Turbo Sled 'Zephyrus IV' when in 2000, he smashed the Course record which now stands at 64hrs 49mins 57secs. Zephyrus IV is a Rechiel-Pugh design.
In recent years, various maxis such as Alfa Romeo, Nokia, Maximus and Morning Glory have all tried to break this course record, but the wind Gods have never played along. Even the VOR winner, ABN AMro tried.. but all failed in 2006. However, George David came along on board 'Rambler' in 2007 and demolished the course record established by Zephyrus IV in 2000. This now stands at one day, 23hours, 55 minutes and three seconds.
Best of luck to all those taking part.
Rolex Middle Sea Race website