The profile and reputation of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC), has risen continuously since it was first held in 1968. Today, it habitually draws a diverse fleet of more than 100 yachts from close to 30 countries, including cutting-edge multihulls and maxi monohulls. For sailors around the world, it has become a “must do” event in the annual yachting calendar. Rolex’s partnership with the event and its organizers stretches back to 2002.
The appeal is obvious. The 606-nautical mile (1,122 kilometre) racecourse is both beautiful and challenging. Rumbling volcanoes, wild islands and seas imbued with legend are just a few of the highlights. The geography encountered along the way places significant demands on the crews. At each corner of the course, wind and sea conditions can change dramatically. In an instant, flat calm waters can become giant swells, gentle breezes transform into punishing gusts, and vice versa.
The 43rd edition commences on Saturday, 22 October. The start is considered one of the most striking in sailing, the Grand Harbour of Valletta providing a natural amphitheatre as competitors depart to the crash of the Saluting Battery’s cannons.
Following their departure from the historic port, the fleet tackles a long, anticlockwise circumnavigation of Sicily, taking in narrow straits, open water sections and iconic moments, such as rounding the island of Stromboli, the race’s emblematic landmark that features an active volcano. The circular course of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is considered unique in offshore yachting.
The fastest yachts will endeavour to complete the course in less than 48 hours. Last year’s once-in-a-lifetime conditions resulted in the course record being broken for the first time in 14 years. The maxi trimaran Argo set a new outright benchmark of 33 hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds, while the100-foot (30.48 metre) Comanche established a new monohull record of 40 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds.
Follow the race here.
ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // Around the world, Doyle Sails has over 500 sailmakers in 46 different locations, all equally passionate about sailing – living and breathing our ethos ’Global Leaders and Local Experts.’
As sailors, our obsession with sailing connects us to the water. The water is our playground, a sanctuary where we seek enjoyment, a competitive playing field where we race as competitors; it’s sometimes our home and always a place that unlocks our sense of adventure wherever that adventure might take us. Behind every adventure is a Doyle sailor who shares this same obsession as you. We put your journey at the very heart of what we do to deliver the ultimate enjoyment and performance, powering our constant need to push the boundaries in sail design and innovation, to reimagine sailing.
From dinghies, club racers and cruising yachts through to Grand Prix campaigns and Superyachts, we are your experts. Meet our team here.