The prospect of a record fleet for the 25th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race remains strong. At close of entries on 16th October, fifty-three yachts had registered.
Of those, thirty-four have already arrived in Malta to commence preparations. These include the headline yachts, the three maxis, Alfa Romeo, Black Dragon and Damiani Our Dream.
Whilst the 607Nm offshore race that takes the fleet on a course anticlockwise around Sicilly starts on Saturday, some of the fleet are to take part in a series of coastal races being run by the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Not only do these races offer the crews an opportunity to check their yachts, sails and other equipment, but they also give newcomers a feel for the unique staring arena that is Marxamsett Harbour. The RMYC start and finish line for the all races runs from the club house within the gatehouse of 18th Century Fort Manoel across Lazaretto Creek to one of the 16th Century bastions of Valletta.
Tomorrow should see the fleet participate in a 36-mile race out and back to Fifla to the south of Malta. Thursday will see the crews on a slightly shorter 27-mile race to the island of Comino situated in the channel between Malta and Gozo. This programme may change if the current light winds prevail.
The 53-yacht fleet features a number of previous winners including Jammin (former Market Wizard, winner in 2002) and Strait Dealer, winner in 2001. Black Dragon is the sistership to last year's winner Nokia Enigma. Alfa Romeo is participating in her last European regatta after two very successful seasons. She is more than capable of shattering the existing record of 64 hours 49 minutes 57 seconds, which has stood since 2000.
The first of two Coastal Races begins at 1000 Wednesday, 20th October; the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is Saturday, 23rd October at 1100.
Further information about the Rolex Middle Sea Race may be found on the event website at the address below.