Behind the Scenes:
Getting to know Horst Huelsey, owner of Openpayd Befree, as he tackles his first Rolex Middle Sea Race experience.
1. Can you describe your sailing background and experience leading up to this race, have you done the RMSR before?
This will be my first Rolex Middle Sea Race!
2. How did you put together your race team?
I was lucky enough to arrange joint participation with previous Maltese Falcon II crew, through Rear Commodore (Sailing) Adrian Gauci Borda.
3. What kind of boat will you be sailing and how did you prepare it for this regatta?
J112 E Be Free was christened in January 2023 and it has been designed to be a cruise racer.
4. What challenges do you expect to face during the Rolex Middle Sea Race and how have you trained to overcome them?
Any sailing challenge can happen in this race. In particular, knowing the local wind and current conditions and how to assess them is key to successful participation. Having with me the experienced crew from the Maltese Falcon II covers all these topics with their expertise.
5. Have you studied the race course thoroughly and do you have any specific strategies or tactics in mind?
We prepare for all scenarios and the local wind conditions then create an appropriate approach.
6. Are there certain sections of the course that you look forward to or dread?
The Strait of Messina is the first difficult and probably most important situation for the race. Mastering this passage is a first key in the race.
7. How do you plan to keep the team’s morale and energy levels up during the race, which can be physically and mentally demanding?
The strength of Maltese Falcon II team is based on good humour and having fun together as a team going forward. Sufficient sleep and good nutrition ensure well-being and will enable us to meet all challenges that we will face, together as a team.
8. What are your expectations of the weather conditions during the race and how might they affect your performance?
We set ourselves up for all weather conditions with the appropriate equipment to ride at optimum speed. Safety of the crew and also guiding the boat undoubtedly come before excessive risk.
9. Have you set any specific goals or milestones for your first Rolex Middle Sea Race?
We are competing to win in our Class – it is also an extreme mental challenge for everyone. We are looking forward to it!
10. What will be the most memorable aspect of this race for you?
We are up against a lot of excellent teams and we want to face this opportunity with honest hearts and open minds.
11. Are there any experienced racing sailors or sailing mentors who have given you advice or guidance for this evening?
I feel honoured and proud to have received so much advice and assistance from Maltese sailors. Malta has laid a solid foundation with its excellent youth work and will continue to grow in the future.