Please select your home edition
Zhik 2019 Outlet Sale YY Leaderboard

2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race at Royal Malta Yacht Club - 50 days to go

by Rolex Middle Sea Race 4 Sep 2019 20:15 BST 19-26 October 2019
Rolex Middle Sea Race © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

As this year's entry reaches three-figures yet again, the island state is more than prepared for the annual 'invasion' that accompanies the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

2019 marks the 40th edition of this Mediterranean classic and the organiser, the Royal Malta Yacht Club, is excited by the depth and breadth of the 102 boat fleet committed so far. It is typical for the 606nm offshore race to receive a rush of entries in the final weeks before closing the list, this year on 27 September, and hopes are high for another bumper entry. And, with the race start on Saturday, 19 October, there are 50 days left for crews to be fully ready.

Looking at the current list, some 24 nations will be represented on the start line. There is the distinct prospect of more come October, with 29 countries present among the record 130 boat fleet of 2018. So far, British yachts lead the way with 19 entries, including Tala, David Collin's IRC 52 and Sam Matson's Cookson 50, Riff Raff - both sitting in one of the favoured size brackets from the past 10 years.

Next, the Italians and French have 15 boats apiece, including some inspiring names: Géry Trentesaux and the crew of Courrier Recommandé (FRA) will look to repeat their magnificent Rolex Middle Sea Race victory of 2018; and Marco Paolucci, a past winner of the Rolex Giraglia, is racing Libertine (ITA). The headline entries both represent the United States: David and Peter Askew's Wizard, fresh from overall victory at the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, and George David's 27-metre (88-foot) Rambler, odds-on favourite to add a fifth successive line honours title to her enviable record.

With 11 entries, Maltese representation may not be the largest in the history of the race, but it is definitely stronger than in recent years. This week, Ramon Sant Hill's experienced Comanche Raider III became the event's 100th entry. All eyes will be on Lee Satariano's formidable Artie III, the all-carbon Judel/Vrolijk designed HH42 expected to light up the racecourse.

The Artie team has won the race twice, in 2011 and 2014, with local-legend, Christian Ripard as co-skipper. Satariano's crew will not be the only Maltese entry with their sights the highest honour. The Podesta family's Elusive 2 is a perennial threat. Jointly skippered by three siblings -Christoph, Aaron and Maya - the team's best finish was third overall when racing under the stewardship of the late, great Arthur Podesta. Before his untimely passing in 2015, Arthur had competed in some 36 editions of the race and has successfully passed on his passion and his competitive edge.

"This will be my 19th race, with our best result coming in 2007," comments Maya. "It's a love affair with what, essentially, is a great race. You can't not keep coming back! And for us, it's no longer just doing the race, we've taken it to the next level to try to keep up with the ever-increasing competition."

Timmy Camilleri is another name to look out for. Embarking on his 26th race, this time as co-skipper with Josef Schultheis of Xp-Act, whose best finish was second overall in 2014, Camilleri has experience of winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race as crew on four occasions. Ton Ton Laferla Insurance entered by Jonathan Gambin may be more of an outside tip for victory, but Gambin is taking steps to enhance his chances.

"Ton Ton Laferla Insurance has been greatly improved for our 2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race campaign with a taller carbon mast and longer boom, thanks to our sponsor and Ton Ton will be sporting their livery in the hope of success," explains Gambin. "We are also building a team to compete for a good result. In recent years, Ton Ton's participation has been via charter, however this year's crew will be a wholly put together by me and the event should prove to be a good test for us. We are very much looking forward to the start."

Other Maltese entries include, two teams from Jarhead Young Sailors Foundation - JYS Jan and JYS Jarhead. The foundation is a non-profit voluntary organisation with the principal purpose of educating children, youths and young adults in the sport of sailing. Some of its sailors expanded their experience by taking part in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, which at 605nm is a similar length challenge. Jamie Sammut is taking part with Unica, alongside Jonathan Camilleri Bowman's Maltese Falcon II, Sean Borg's Xpresso and Andrew Agius Delicata's Vivace.

And while the crews make ready, so too does the Royal Malta Yacht Club. In addition to preparing the welcome for their international guests and dealing with the administrative burden of a large handicap fleet, the Principal Race Officer, Peter Dimech, is keeping an eye on events at Stromboli, the iconic landmark of the course. One of the most active volcanos in the world and in near continuous eruption for the past 2000 years, the Aoelian island has erupted with vigour twice this summer and most recently last week.

"Stromboli is known as the lighthouse of Mediterranean for a reason," advises Dimech. "The volcano has achieved mythic status in the context of the race, but our primary thoughts are with the residents during these dramatic moments. Obviously, we will monitor situation carefully over the coming weeks. While we are not expecting any problems for race, we have close contact with Italian maritime authorities and will take proper note of any of their advisories."

Countries represented in the 2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race so far include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

For further information, including the notice of race, please visit

Related Articles

2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race: Legends to the fore
One of the world's most compelling and challenging offshore races The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the world's most compelling and challenging offshore races. This year's exploits by some of the event's most emblematic characters will ensure the 40th Rolex Middle Sea Race retains a distinct place Posted on 27 Oct 2019
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race wraps up in Malta
Sailors, race officials and family start to relax From the media centre in the Royal Malta Yacht Club, I can hear the party starting to kick up a notch, as sailors, race officials and family start to relax into the conclusion of the 40th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Posted on 26 Oct 2019
Rolex Middle Sea Race day 7
40th edition is almost done and dusted Perfect timing for heading to the final prize giving, scheduled for Saturday lunchtime at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the former hospital of the Knights of St John, which promises to be a rousing affair. Posted on 25 Oct 2019
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race day 6
Rolex Middle Sea Race has continued to provide plenty of twists and turns. With 17 yachts officially retired, a further 42 are still out on the course. The wind in the Sicily channel finally started abating today and a transition zone is moving eastwards from the western Mediterranean. Posted on 24 Oct 2019
Will it be an Elusive win?
An incredible 24 hours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race It's been an incredible 24 hours in Malta, with many boats coming home, and a number of different provisional leaders on IRC Overall. Posted on 24 Oct 2019
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race day 5
Yachts start to finish in numbers and tales of the race are shared. The strong winds to the west of Sicily have, as predicted, begun to affect the contest for the overall prize. Rambler's near 24-hour tenure at the top was ended by Black Pearl's arrival early this morning. Posted on 23 Oct 2019
Rolex Middle Sea Race: Wizard 2nd on line honours
Overnight the majority of IRC Division 1 finished the Rolex Middle Sea Race As our attention starts to turn from line honours bringing the overall and IRC winner back into primary focus, it is becoming more clear that the 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race will be a small boat race. Posted on 23 Oct 2019
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race day 4
Maxi Rambler was first to cross the finish line. As the 40th Rolex Middle Sea Race entered its fourth day, the south-easterly breeze that has filled the western half of the course has started to play a part in determining the outcome of the 606nm offshore classic. Posted on 22 Oct 2019
Rambler 88 takes Rolex Middle Sea line honours
Will they take the double? Rambler 88 took the line honours gun in the 40th Edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race this morning at 08:13:00 CEST, completing the "600 miler" in two days 19 hours 43 minutes. Posted on 22 Oct 2019
Rambler takes monohull line honours
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race success for George David's American maxi Rambler crossed the finish line of the 40th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race at 08:13:00 CEST on Tuesday, 22 October, completing the 606nm course in a time of 2 days 19 hours 43minutes. Posted on 22 Oct 2019