Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Countdown to Rolex Middle Sea Race

by Regatta News on 6 Oct 2008
Nisida, breaking in the waves near Trapani Rolex Middle Sea Race 2007 © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
With only a matter of days until the start of the 29th Rolex Middle Sea Race, organisers the Royal Malta Yacht club are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of an entry exceeding seventy boats for the first time ever.

Not only that, but the yachts are drawn from most corners of the sailing world with the fleet flying no less than eighteen different national flags. Entries close on 11th October and the race itself starts from Marsamxett Harbour on the 18th October - so there is still time to be part of an historic contest that marks the 40th anniversary of this 607 nautical mile adventure.

The race is open to yachts from 9-metres to 30.5 metres and this year will see the full range. Currently, the 100-foot Farr designed Rapture (MAR) takes pole position in the size stake. This is not something that particularly troubles Jeff Hanlon, Rapture's captain, who explains 'this will be the first of four planned offshore races for Rapture. We chose the Rolex Middle Sea Race because it is one of the most famous races you can do and we enjoy this style of offshore distance racing. We have an international crew joining us for the race, all good experienced offshore racers, a crew of good, well-humoured blokes that know what they're doing.'

Hanlon has heard all about Malta's hospitality and the scenery around the course. Hanlon has also heard the race can be difficult, but again this is not an overriding concern, 'I have known about the race for years. I was even told recently not to do it due to its tough reputation for bad weather, but that's yacht racing. It's as much against the weather sometimes as it is against the other boats.' And with the Rolex Middle Sea Race tending to blow hot or cold and rarely in between, Hanlon is perceptive in this judgement.

Other big boats, over seventy-feet, include Stormvogel (GBR) 39-years after her last participation, Steinlager II (NZL) and Michael Cotter's Whisper (IRL), hoping to complete the course this time after retiring in the face of the storm last year. The newcomer is the Nauta 80 Acaia Cube (ITA) owned by Italian filmstar, Claudio Amendola.

Much has been written already about the battle royal shaping up in the 50 - 70 foot range, where the IRC race boats - Rosebud/Team DYT (STP65/USA) and Andres Soriano's Allegre (Mills 68/GBR) - have just been joined by a second STP 65, Jim Swartz's Moneypenny (USA). And the participation of the 60-foot, Veolia Oceans, Boogaloo (FRA) could add another twist to the tale. Those that represent shape of things today will find themselves up again some of the former workhorses of the oceans - the VO60, Big One (CRO) makes a welcome return and is joined by a trio of 2000 vintage Open 50s, 13 (ITA), Regione Piedmont (ITA) and Vento di Sardegna (ITA). The 50-foot Rolex Fastnet 2007 winner Chieftain is back under new ownership, Adrian Lee, and a new name, Lee Overlay Partners (IRL), but still sports her canting keel. The sole TP52 is the IRC optimized RAN (GBR) owned by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.

Elsewhere in this size band are a pack of cruiser/racers, such as the Baltic 56, Lurigna (SUI), the Shipman 63 Coral (RUS), the Swan 62 Berenice (ITA), the J/V 53 Bank von Bremen (GER) and the First 50 ISR 500, which is apparently the first ever entry received from Israel. Imagine owner Gil Tagar's surprise to find he will not be alone, with a second Israeli flagged yacht scheduled to on the startline - Wizsoft.

Wizsoft is one of six First 47.7s that will be engaged in a private competition in the sub-fifty foot bracket. The others are Enoch (ITA), headstart.at (AUT), Gyrate (GBR) and Femme Fatale (HUN) and RMYC Commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis' Escape (MLT). Other local Maltese boats fill the ranks here too - Arthur Podesta continues his uninterrupted run of participation with Elusive Medbank, past race-winner John Ripard Jr has entered Lazy Duck with a crew made up mainly of his children and other close relatives, David Franks goes again with Strait Dealer as does Tim Camillieri on Vikesha

Into the forty-foot and below segment and there are more familiar Maltese names, including Sandro Musu's Aziza, Jonas Diamantino's Gasan Mamo Comanche Raider and an entry from Maltese Falcon (the Maltese Beneteau 40.7 version) is expected today, which will bring entries to 77. Diamantino was one of three Maltese skippers to finish the storm-ridden race of last year, and would be forgiven for giving the race a miss this year. Not a bit of it. He's back and with a new boat, the old IOR two-tonner giving way to an ILC 40, explaining that 'I felt that after the severe bashing she got in the last Rolex Middle Sea Race that the old boat required too much maintenance to consider her safe for more races.'

It is not just any ILC 40 though; one previous owner was Spanish sailing star Pedro Campos. Even so, while he will never say never Diamantino does not hold up much hope of winning, 'whilst my team and I sail the race for the pure pleasure of it and the sense of accomplishment it is always the intention to try and win it some day. Although we are unlikely to win it with this boat this year maybe some time in the near future we will! I am fortunate that I have had the same great crew for the last six years and I always look forward to sailing with them confident in their ability and confident in the knowledge that for them, like me, safety and fun is paramount.'

There are a number of boats hovering around the minimum length mark, but rounding out the fleet at a shade over 31-feet looks to be Noel Racine's JPK9.6 Foggy Dew (FRA). According to Racine, 'I have wanted to do the race for 3 or 4 years now, but it is a big logistical exercise getting a boat of this size to Malta.' And though Racine has not done the race before, he has two Rolex Fastnet's under his belt - the long, slow 2005 race (good practice if this year's RMSR is tortuously difficult) and the 2007 high-wind, big sea version (good practice if we have another Mediterranean belter).

Last but not least, there are two multihulls competing and, if this is not testimony to the enduring fascination of the race, one is none other than Hans Nagel's HighQ1, which finished last in 2007 some 24-hours after the penultimate boat. Maybe Nagel has had a word with the wind gods and agreed a better package for 2008.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race commences on Saturday 18th October 2008 from Marsamxett Harbour, Malta. Entries close on 11th October. The final prize giving is at noon on 25th October.

George David's Rambler (USA) established the current Course Record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007.

Southern Spars - 100PredictWind.com 2014Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Aiming for cold to gold for Tassie skiff crew
Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of SWC Melbourne Final Training on Hobart’s Derwent River in winter when her hands are so cold she can’t feel them is the less glamourous side of the sport for 17 year-old sailor Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher, who sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of the Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final presented by Land Rover.
Posted today at 3:47 am
World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 2
The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted on 10 Dec
Full day of competition at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the last two days. Finally every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the previous two days. Flat seas and sou’west winds struggling at five knots in fact made the going hard for the Invited and Olympic opening session that began at midday.
Posted on 10 Dec
Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Fantastic foiling finish
Three fast, furious and fantastic Foiling Kite races brought six of the 11 events on show at the Sailing World Cup Three fast, furious and fantastic Foiling Kite races brought six of the 11 events on show at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne presented by Land Rover to a close in Australia's sporting capital.
Posted on 10 Dec
America's Cup 2017 - Tickets on sale now
Tickets are on sale now at America’s Cup website for greatest race on water, 35th America’s Cup, taking place in Bermuda Tickets are on sale now at America’s Cup website for the greatest race on water, the 35th America’s Cup, taking place in Bermuda from 26th May until 27th June 2017. A full range of tickets are available to suit every need, whether it’s for access to the America’s Cup Village, seats in the grandstand, access to the Goslings Dark ‘n Stormy Island Bar, VIP hospitality at the Longtail Lounge
Posted on 10 Dec
Vipers using SWC Melbourne as World Championship preparation
Jack Challands is skippering a Viper multihull in preparation for 2017 Viper Worlds across Port Phillip Bay at Geelong. Young gun Jack Challands started sailing at four years of age and at the Sailing World Cup Final Melbourne, December 4-11, the now 14 year-old is skippering a Viper multihull in preparation for the 2017 Viper Worlds across Port Phillip Bay at Geelong.
Posted on 10 Dec
World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 1
The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted on 10 Dec
Strong winds continue on Day 4 of Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall. Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall, three points ahead of Cypriot Pavlos Kontides. Rio Silver medallist, Tonci Stipanovic finished second in both today’s races and is currently lying third overall, while Australia’s Tom Burton is in fourth overall. Burton scored a 12 and a five in today’s two races.
Posted on 9 Dec
SWC Final – Badloe and Squires pick up where their countrymen left off
Badloe holds the lead after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. Badloe holds the lead in the men's windsurfer after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. The pair, and the sailors across the ten Olympic and Open Kiteboarding fleets battled against a south westerly wind in excess of 20 knots coupled with a big sea state.
Posted on 9 Dec
Tom Squires 'dab's' while skydiving at Sailing World Cup - Melbourne
Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne for the Sailing World Cup Final sailing on the RS:X jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. He took the opportunity to do his first 'dab' and managed to hurt his shoulder.
Posted on 9 Dec