The Royal Malta Yacht Club is set to welcome approximately 115 boats for the 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. This was announced at a press conference held at the Club earlier on this afternoon, to launch the programme of events around this year’s edition.
Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore, Godwin Zammit, explained that professional and corinthian crews will make up the fleet, some ready to experience the race for the first time, others returning to attempt better results or even the course record, set by George David’s Rambler, in 2007. George David and his crew on Rambler 88 are once again on the fleet list and will be attempting to secure another Line Honours having won the accolade for the past four years.
Whilst the fleet is expected to be potentially slightly less than last year, the wide variety of boats will make the race equally exciting. Crews will be looking forward to the challenging conditions, this area of the Mediterranean offers at this time of year. At some point, a powerful weather system will surely test the abilities of all competitors.
Malta will be represented by eleven boats, amongst them Lee Satariano’s new yacht Artie III. Satariano, who won the race in 2011 and 2014, makes a return after an absence of three years. Joining Satariano will be Timmy Camilleri (Xp-Act) who will compete in his 26th race and the Podesta siblings, racing on Elusive 2, will be continuing the family tradition, started by their late father Arthur in 1968. Other entries include Comanche Raider III (Ramon Sant Hill), Jarhead Young Sailor’s Foundation’s JYS Jan (Nikki Henderson) and JYS Jarhead (Greg Nasmyth), Maltese Falcon II (Jonathan Camilleri Bowman), Ton Ton Laferla Insurance (Jonathan Gambin) Unica (Jamie Sammut) and Xpresso (Sean Borg). Vivace – Andrew Agius Delicata and Matthew Gabriele will be the only Maltese entry to compete in the Double Handed Class.
Principal Race Officer and Race Committee Chairman Peter Dimech explained that events will kick off on Wednesday, when the annual Coastal Race takes place. Considered as the final dress rehearsal before the big day, the race is a perfect opportunity for international crews to test the local waters and local crews to give their boats the last shakedown before to Saturday. With the weather forecast indicating a North Westerly, the most likely option for Wednesday’s course would be round the island of Comino.
Prior to Saturday’s race, the Club will be hosting a number of events that include the Coastal Race Prize Giving and Owners’ Reception co-hosted by Yachting Malta on Wednesday evening and the celebrated Crew Party on Thursday. Friday morning will see the Yacht Club host a Question & Answer session with a select number of participants whilst the Race and Weather Briefing will take place on Friday at 6pm at the Grand Hotel Excelsior.
Saturday’s race will see a total of seven starts, with the first class – that of the Multihulls starting first at 11am. The remaining Classes will start at 10 minute intervals. The Race start will be a co-ordinated effort between the Royal Malta Yacht Club, Transport Malta and the Armed Forces of Malta.
The public is urged to follow the instructions issued and to steer clear of the buoys outside of the Grand Harbour and Dragonara Point.
The best view points are located in Valletta – St. Barbara’s Bastion, Great Siege Bell, the Old Fisheries Building, the Waterfront as well as the Sliema Seafront.
The Press Conference concluded by an address from Hon.Dr. Konrad Mizzi, Minister for Tourism and Hon. Dr Clifton Grima, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations who both emphasised the importance of this event and the support of their respective offices.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday 19th October at 11:00hrs from the Grand Harbour. All boats can be tracked on the Rolex Middle Sea Race website – www.rolexmiddlesearace.com