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Rolex middle sea race: The Italian Andrea Recordati is the winner with the Italian Wally 93 Bullit

sailboats arriving at Malta

At 21.00 on Wednesday, October 25, the Italian Wally 93 Bullitt, skippered by Andrea Recordati, was announced as the winner of the 44th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has confirmed that none of the remaining yachts still racing are capable of beating Bullitt's time.

"When I entered the Rolex Middle Sea Race my dream was to win at the class," said Recordati, when briefed by the Race Director. "That for the boat would be a fantastic result in itself against boats that are more suited to this type of offshore racing."

“Coming first overall in corrected time, honestly, I still find it hard to believe. I am ecstatic. I am very happy with the boat. We put a lot of effort into optimizing and improving it. I am especially happy for my crew. I have a great team and they really deserve to win"

sailboat in waves

The Rolex Middle Sea Race was created as a result of a sporting rivalry between two British sailors resident in Malta, Alan Green and Jimmy White, and two Maltese sailors, Paul and John Ripard, both members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

Alan (who would become Secretary of the Royal Ocean Racing Club) and Jimmy had proposed a sailing race which was larger than typical in the area and designed to provide exciting competition in windier autumn conditions. The first proposal was a route that would start in Malta and end in Syracuse, Sicily one year and then start in Syracuse and end in Malta the next.

In a moment of inspiration, Paul insisted that if the Royal Malta Yacht Club were to participate, the race should be centered around Malta, starting and finishing there. As a result, the race took place around Sicily, including Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the Egadi and Aeolian Islands. The course chosen, at around 610nm, would be a similar distance to the famous RORC offshore event, the (then, 608nm) Fastnet Race, sponsored by Rolex since 2001. The initial decision was to sail the course clockwise, with direction from Malta to Lampedusa.

In 2001, a revitalized Racing Committee brought new thinking to racing with a more targeted and aggressive marketing strategy. Most importantly, the search for a new title sponsor has begun. In 2002, Rolex SA took over as sponsor, after two years of consultation with the Malta Rolex Cup. In recent years, the race has seen a remarkable increase in entries, an increase in the quality of crews and their boats, and an almost global appeal.

The start line is in the center of the Grand Harbour, starting from the Saluting Battery, just below the Upper Barrakka Gardens on the Valletta side, opposite Fort St. Angelo in Birgu.

Leaving Malta, the fleet heads north to Capo Passero, on the east coast of Sicily, and then to the Straits of Messina. The active volcano, Etna, is often visible on the port side. The Strait is one of the most technically demanding parts of the race, with crews willing to deal with both favorable current and wind to allow a straight passage.

Once past the Strait of Messina, the yachts head north towards the second active volcano of the route, Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands that can be docked. At the islet of Strombolicchio, the fleet turns west for the passage along the northern coast of Sicily to the Egadi Islands. Leaving the Egadi Islands (except Marettimo) for port, the crews head south to the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria. In Lampedusa, the route heads north-east towards the Comino South Channel (between Comino and Malta) and the final leg is at the finish line at the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour.

sailors on deck in regatta


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