A Fitting Conclusion

A Fitting Conclusion

The prize giving for the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race was a highly charged affair. From the speech by the His Excellency the President of Malta, through the ovations for the trophy winning crews to the closing film celebrating the 42nd edition, it was an opportunity to reflect on what has been one of the most spectacular and challenging races for many years. The near perfect weather leading to a perfect set of results for the fastest entries in both the multihull and monohull categories.

Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo was first to finish, taking multihull line honours. The American trimaran posted a time that also secured a class win under MOCRA Time correction and lowered the outright race record by an impressive 14.5 hours, finishing the 606nm race in 33 hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.

Overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race under IRC time correction went to Comanche (CAY). Skippered by Mitch Booth with an elite crew of Olympic, America’s Cup and ocean racing talent, the 30.48m/100ft maxi completed the race in 40 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds, seven and half hours inside the previous race record. In taking line honours, Comanche has also set a new monohull race record, finally beating the time set by George David’s Rambler in 2007.

At the final prize giving, Booth accepted the magnificent Rolex Middle Sea Race trophy on behalf of Comanche, making special reference to the fact that this was a team effort with some 30 people involved.

Booth went on to acknowledge the significance of the victory: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the premiere events in offshore racing and to come away with the triple is very rare. This weather window was perfect, and we were lucky to get around the corners at just the right time. We had everything thrown at us – strong winds, rain, lightning, huge waves sometimes. It was really challenging.

David Cremona, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, started his opening address with: “Wow, wow, wow. What a race.” The simple expression of amazement more than summing up what was an inspiring contest that had everything from the largest ever yacht, the 42.56m/140ft Skorpios, to extraordinary tales of derring-do from the racecourse to new records. He continued, “Today we have two new records. A multihull record achieved by Argo and a monohull record for Comanche. Who will be the next challengers for these times?”  

Commodore Cremona thanked the Race Committee – picking out flag officers Georges Bonello Dupuis and Peter Dimech – as well as the club’s permanent staff and volunteers for working so relentlessly. He also expressed thanks for the support of the race’s partners, sponsors and, most importantly, the participants: “Year after year the Rolex Middle Sea Race continues to attract a steady stream of entries from all corners of the earth. The organisation is an ongoing process. One ends and preparation for the next edition begins immediately.

Dr George Vella, the President of Malta, referred to the island’s longstanding connections with the sea. “The venue for this ceremony is fitting. The Sacra Infermeria was built by the Knights of St John who were master sailors themselves. Throughout its history Malta has always been a seafaring country and the prestigious Rolex Middle Sea Race brings this history back to life. I would like to commend the Royal Malta Yacht Club for organising this race for yet another year. One of the most important elements of the race since its inception in 1968 has been its multi-cultural aspect, attracting so many people with different languages and backgrounds with a common love for a common sport.

Congratulating all the crews on their resilience in the face of serious weather, His Excellency picked out the teams on Comanche and the first Maltese boat to finish the race, Artie III, for their impressive performances.

The 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race begins on Saturday 22 October 2022.

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