Rolex Middle Sea Race

19 oktober 2024 - Valetta, MLT

The Rolex Middle Sea Race course is approximately 606 nautical miles long and is sailed anti-clockwise, starting from Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta. When it comes to passing breathtaking scenery during a yacht race, no race in the world comes close to matching the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Competitors experience this right from the outset with the race’s start inside Grand Harbour, marked by impressive cannon fire from up high on Valletta’s huge ancient ramparts that dominate the harbour.

Once away from Malta, the race is effectively a large anticlockwise lap of Sicily, passing several active volcanos. First on Sicily’s east coast is Mount Etna, which last erupted in August. Competitors then hope to catch favourable tide as they pass through the busy Strait of Messina, separating Sicily from the toe of Italy. The race’s northeastern turning mark is another active volcano, this time the island of Stromboli. Competitors then turn west, negotiating Sicily’s north coast where there are often major transitions in the wind off Palermo or San Vito Lo Capo. The course then continues on round the west coast of Sicily, passing the Egadi Islands northwest of Marsala and then heading south, keeping the islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa to port, the latter being the southwesterly turning mark of the race. From here the boats point their bows towards the South Comino Channel and Malta, returning to Valletta where the finish line is located close to the entrance of Marsamxett Harbour.
As the course is picturesque, so the weather is lively. Coming in the middle of the Mediterranean autumn, in a ‘typical’ Rolex Middle Sea Race competitors can expect to encounter anything from the severest gales to flat calms – occasionally within the same day.
The race has had strong ties with the RORC since it was first held in 1968 with one of its founders, Alan Green, going on to become our Club’s long term secretary. The race suffered a 13-year hiatus until it was revived by the Royal Malta Yacht Club in 1996, subsequently joining Rolex’s portfolio of the world’s ‘classic 600 mile offshore races’ in 2002. Since then the event, which traditionally rounds off the Mediterranean sailing season, has continued to grow, culminating in a record entry of 130 yachts for its 50th anniversary in 2018. These days the race consistently attracts over 100 entries from around the world. Ties with the RORC have been strengthened since 2022 with RORC Race Team members Steve Cole and Chris Jackson assisting with the running of the event and past RORC Race Team member Stefan Kunstmann as its PRO.
Although coming at the end of the calendar year, the Rolex Middle Sea Race in fact kicks off the RORC annual Seasons’ Points Championship, followed by the RORC Transatlantic Race and the Caribbean 600.

Meer informatie: Rolex Middle Sea Race