Saturday, October 19, 2019

40th Rolex Middle Sea Race Preview

J/122 Linea Rossa sailing Rolex Middle Sea Race
(Gzira, Malta)- The 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, is ready to start a fleet of around 115 boats for this year’s race. 

Commodore Godwin Zammit had this to say, “The club is really pleased to once again be welcoming such a large fleet. It will comprise the traditional mix of professional and Corinthian crews, some experiencing the race for the first time and others returning to better previous results or just enjoy the adventure.”
J/111 sailing offshore
Although the 2019 fleet is slightly lower than last year’s record of 130 boats, the range of yachts competing will ensure the race is as exciting as ever. “Crews will be looking forward to the challenging conditions typical in this area of the Mediterranean at this time of year,” said Commodore Zammit. “At some point, it is likely tough weather will test the skills and determination of all competitors.” 

Some 23 nations will be participating in the race, according to Commodore Zammit with entries from as far afield as Australia and Argentina. Italy is the most represented with 22 yachts.
sailing Rolex Middle Sea Race offshore
Royal Malta YC Principal Race Officer and Race Committee Chairman, Peter Dimech, outlined the forthcoming event programme. “We kick off on Wednesday, with the Coastal Race, starting and finishing in Marsamxett Harbour, and a good dress rehearsal before the main event,” Dimech advised. “The Coastal Race is a perfect opportunity for international and local crews to give their boats a final shakedown before Saturday. The current weather forecast suggests the most likely course will be up to Comino and back.”  

Dimech added that there are a number of social events for crews, including the Owners’ Reception on Wednesday evening, which incorporates the Coastal Race Prize Giving and is co-hosted by Yachting Malta; the famous Crew Party on Thursday and, on Friday morning, a Question & Answer session featuring a number of participants. On Friday evening, Race & Weather Briefing takes place at the Grand Hotel Excelsior.  

Turning to Saturday’s October 19th departure of the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Grand Harbour, Dimech confirmed there will be seven starts, with the first class, the Multihulls, starting at 1100 CEST. The remaining groups will follow at 10-minute intervals, with the guns of the Saluting Battery marking each start. Proceedings will be coordinated between the Royal Malta Yacht Club, Transport Malta and the Armed Forces of Malta. 
J/109 youth Malta team
“It is one of the best, most dramatic race starts in the offshore racing world,” remarked Dimech. “Grand Harbour is blessed with a vast number of accessible viewing points both high up and low down. The crowd can feel really close to the yachts without the need be on the water. We are expecting a huge number of spectators.”  

There are nine J/Teams participating in the event across four classes. In the IRC Doublehanded is the J/109 2HARD (Martin Hartl from Austria) and the J/122 LINEA ROSSA (Onur Tok from Istanbul, Turkey).  The IRC 4 Class/ ORC 4 Class includes the J/121 JACKHAMMER (Andrew Hall from the United Kingdom).
J/109 Chestress sailing offshore
The IRC 5 Class includes a very famous offshore ocean racer from Scandinavia, the J/111 BLUR.SE owned and skippered by Peter Gustafsson from Sweden. Also, participating in this class is Tok’s J/122 LINEA ROSSA.

The IRC 6 Class might as well be classified as a “J/109 Class” as a quartet will be lining up on the starting line on Saturday. Those teams include Leonardo Petti’s CHESTRESS from Italy, the Jarhead Young Sailors Malta from the host nation Malta sailing on JYS JAN, Martin Hartl’s 2HARD from Austria, and more Jarhead Young Sailors from Malta on JYS JARHEAD.  For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.