Behind the Scenes: Larger than life skipper Jamie Sammut has a long history with the RMSR. Here’s is take on the Race.
Can you describe the evolution of your experience in the race from your first time competing to your most recent entry?
The first time I took part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race was in 2003 on Tony Camilleri’s boat Blue Fin. I was fortunate to have raced with some very good skippers! In 2013 I bought my Solaris One 42 Unica, and have been racing with it since then.
How has the competition and the event itself changed over the years, in your perspective?
Technology has helped with the evolution of the race, especially where weather is concerned. The Race has seen some very skilled sailors take part. One has to consider that in the past sailors did not have the tools to have real time weather information on the tips of their fingers like we have now. This evolution has allowed for better planning from the detailed data available. This has really upped the ante for crews and the race in general.
As someone who has raced double handed for several times, what would you say is your preferred race? Double handed or Fully crewed?
I would choose double handed over fully crewed. Having a full crew means more responsibility as there are more people on board. Naturally double handed racing is more taxing, mentally and physically and it is important that the other person you are racing with is someone you really trust. I always raced with John Cachia. He is a person I’ve know for a very long time – about 15 years – the first time we raced together was on Strait Dealer. He will be on board Unica this year as well.
Are there any specific race years or moments that stand out as particularly memorable or significant in your career?
Apart from 2016, when John and I won the John Illingworth Trophy for first boat on IRC Corrected time, the year 2018 comes to mind. Once again we are racing in the double handed class and the conditions were particularly tough. Of course every race is different, there is a different story to each year and there is always a lesson to be learnt.
How do you manage the mental and physical demands of competing in a multi-day offshore race multiple times?
From a mental perspective, a fully crewed race is more stressful as you have the responsibility of more crew members, on the other hand you have more time to rest physically. When racing double handed, the little sleep you get is always done with one eye open!