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The Rolex Middle Sea Race

4 September 2013

The Rolex Middle Sea Race 
If you fail to plan then your plan is to fail. I remember my father telling me this when I was young and his advice stuck. Since then I have always kept a diary. Technology has made life easier, and my phone and tablet have since taken over my leather bound book of things to do. I do miss that ‘leather’ smell sometimes though. Recently, my wife and I have been quite the socialites, dinner invites, daytrips, a few cheeky cocktail nights and September and October are full with prior engagements, however one date, the 19th October, is reserved for one activity and one activity only.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is an incredibly popular event in Malta and attracts thousands of enthusiasts and spectators every year. For those involved it is a highly rated off shore classic and is commonly associated with other races such as The Rolex Fastnet, The Rolex Sydney - Hobart and Newport-Bermuda as a 'must do' race. Co-founded by The Royal Ocean Racing Club and The Royal Malta Yacht Club, 2013 will see the 34th Edition. Last year there were over 82 boats competing for first place with more expected this year.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race begins from the beautiful Grand Harbour, directly opposite is the Fort St'Angelo and the Saluting Battery in Vittoriosa. The race is a real challenge to skippers and crews, who often have to cope with the changeable and demanding conditions. Equally, the race is blessed with stunning scenery, as its course takes its competitors close to numerous islands. Ted Turner once described the Rolex Middle Sea Race as "The most beautiful race course in the world".


The course is sailed anti-clockwise and is over 606 nautical miles long. As soon as they are out of the Grand Harbour the fleet head north along the eastern coast of Sicily up to Messina and through to Stromboli. The boats then head to Favignana, down to Pantelleria and through to Lampedusa. With the end in sight they head through the South Comino Channel, keeping Malta to the starboard, to the finish line in Marsamxett harbour. The record for the 606 mile course was set by "Rambler" in 2007 completing the race in 1 day, 23 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.

I will be there, with the masses, cheering on the boats as they set sail and I can't wait. Opportunities to see boats like this jostle at the starting line for the best line are an absolute spectacle and the entire event is suitable for the whole family. In fact, let me add a note to this diary entry... Adam, don't forget your camera (or the wife)!

Author: Adam Claffey

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