There are 115 participants (from 22 nations) in the 36th Rolex Middle Sea Race, which officially starts today at 11 a.m. It is not a record (last year 122 showed up), but it is still mind-boggling numbers given that only two years ago the number did not exceed 100.
A BEAUTIFUL AND CHALLENGING ROUTE
But, speaking of records, the Middle Sea holds the record for the most challenging regatta in the Nostrum Sea, with its 606-mile course of breathtaking views. Looking at the photos of the last edition, it looked like the Sydney Hobart! It starts in Valletta (Malta) and the route to be followed, counterclockwise, goes from Sicily to the Aeolian Islands (including Strombolicchio), continues around the Egadi Islands (except the island of Marettimo), Pantelleria and Lampedusa, then crosses the Channel south of the island of Comino and ends in the port of Marsamxett (Malta).
THE STRUGGLE FOR VICTORY
In the struggle for overall victory, the battle will be open, as usual. It will depend mostly on the weather conditions. Artie, the J-122 of Maltese Lee Satariano, practically a local hero, will try to defend the title he won last year but it will not be easy. For real-time victory, one name above all: Rambler, George David’s 88-footer, who will try to beat himself. In fact, in 2007 aboard the 90′ Rambler took 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds to complete the course, a record that is still unbeaten (so far the old Rambler is the only boat to finish the race in less than two days). But watch out for Momo, Jan-Henrik Kisteit’s Maxi 72, and SFS, Lionel Pean’s VOR70. Among the multihulls, it will be a battle between Rachel Jaspersen’s MOD70 Phaedo3 and Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63.
ITALIANS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Among the Italians, eyes on the Azuree 33 Giancarlo Simeoli Air Force, the Mylius 15E25 Vittorio Biscarini’s Ars Una, the Canard 41 Roberto Bonomo’s Aurora, the TP52 B2 of Michele Galli, Cippa Lippa 8 and Mascalzone Latino, the Cookson 50 of Guido Paolo Gamucci and Vincenzo Onorato, Gregor Stimpfl’s Felci 61 Hagar II, Paolo Semeraro’s Neo 400 Carbon, and, in case of high winds, Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf.