Once again the Rolex Middle Sea Race looks set to attract a high profile fleet of yachts from around the world. The Royal Malta Yacht Club has already received entries from the USA, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy.
The 2003 Line Honours winner, Neville CRICHTON on his Super-Maxi Alfa Romeo from Australia is also planning to return, attempting another assault on the course record of 64hrs, 49mins and 57seconds established by Zephyrus IV in 2000. Another fast and exciting prospect is recent Round Britain and Ireland record holder, Jean-Phillippe CHOMETTE'S Nacira 60, Solune.
The international entry sees two experienced Swans. For the 62RS Constanter, owned by American Willem MESDAG, the race will mark the end of a European calendar that includes Cork Week in Ireland and the Rolex Swan Cup in Sardinia. Richard BALDING'S Swan 60 Fenix (GBR9660R) has competed in the Round Ireland Race twice (securing Line Honours on its first attempt), Rolex Fastnet Race, Antigua Sailing Week and Swan regattas both sides of the Atlantic.
X-Yachts will be represented by Dutch yachtsman Aart BROERE'S X-412 Sea Goddess, which will be competing in the race for the first time. The smallest yacht entered so far, is Aria di Burrasca the Italian X-332 owned by Andrea FANTINI.
The local Maltese sailors have also begun to show their hand with perennial participant Arthur PODESTA (Elusive) taking part in his 25th race. Podesta has witnessed everything the race has to offer in terms of weather, sea conditions and scenery during its thirty-six year history, including the spectacular eruption of Etna in 2002.
One new name on the entrant's roster is Georges Bonello DUPUIS, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and an enthusiastic promoter of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in recent years. DuPuis will race aboard his recently acquired Prima 38, Primadonna, which has successfully completed the 608-mile course twice before.
Described by Ted TURNER as 'the most beautiful race course in the world', the Rolex Middle Sea Race takes competitors on a breathtaking route from Malta to Sicily, through the Straits of Messina, past two active volcanoes - Etna and Stromboli - the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria, and back to the finish in Malta; an unforgettable experience for any yachtsman or woman.
Further details are available on the event website at the address below.