Please select your home edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race - Weather watch and where to watch

by Rolex Middle Sea Race 17 Oct 2019 23:46 BST 19-26 October 2019
Start 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race, Valletta, Malta © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

Less than 48 hours to the start of the 40th Rolex Middle Sea Race and the marinas surrounding the Royal Malta Yacht Club in Ta' Xbiex are full of yachts flying the event battle flag, signifying their participation in the Mediterranean's classic offshore race. The yacht club itself is abuzz with the noise of crews meeting up with friends, crewmates and competitors. The docks are a hive of activity, as final preparations are under way and scrutineering checks are made. The entry list currently stands at 110 yachts with a handful more endeavouring to complete the necessary paperwork in time for the start on Saturday, 19th October.

"From the Race Committee perspective, everything is in place for the start," says Commodore Godwin Zammit. "The vast majority of crews have finished their registration process. The club is helping those boats with matters outstanding to get them across the line. We are looking forward to a great spectacle in Grand Harbour with some seven starts to accommodate the diverse fleet that ranges in size from 9.5 to 27 metres and includes both monohulls and multihulls."

The race weather looks to be generally on the light side for the start, with an area of high pressure sitting atop the Mediterranean. Malta is threatening some showers with some localised storm cells for Saturday as the fleet exits the harbour. According to Andrea Visintini, the navigator on George David's Rambler, the red-hot favourite for line honours in the monohull fleet, the weather routing at present is for a fast, but not record-breaking run. He has some expectation that the routing may well improve closer to the start.

For the fans and well-wishers expected to flock to Grand Harbour to watch the fleet set off, there is the strong possibility of a spinnaker start which always adds to the general spectacle. The favourable, southerly wind direction will push yachts north to Capo Passero on the south-eastern corner of Sicily, and the first major land mark of the 606nm course. At this point, things normally get tricky. Negotiating the eastern seaboard of Sicily, the shadow of Etna and the confines of the Messina Strait often presents navigators with a complex puzzle. Susan Glenny skipper of the Beneteau First 40 Olympia's Tigress (GBR) is hopeful that this year will be kind to crews. "Inshore on the Sicilian coast looks likely to offer some good land breeze," she advised.

Once through the narrow strait, the stretch to the active volcano of Stromboli may be complicated if the lighthouse of the Mediterranean chooses the race period to erupt once again this year. For the moment, the island volcano is quiet. The northern coast of Sicily also looks to be quiet from a weather perspective. Wilder conditions may be in store at the north-western corner of Sicily on Tuesday, as low pressure develops over the western Mediterranean and accelerates the southerly wind in the area of the Sicily Strait. "It is looking like a light start with some heavier upwind conditions towards the end" commented Stefano Pelizza on PrimaVista-Lauria (ICE52, ITA), the winner of the Coastal Race.

The weather picture will develop further over the remaining hours, but tonight over a thousand competitors, RMYC members and invited guests, will enjoy the legendary Rolex Middle Sea Race Crew Party. Xara Lodge will be the venue for one of the most celebrated social evenings of the year. The unrivalled natural surroundings are located in the bastions of Mdina, the capital of Malta prior to arrival of the Order of St John in 1530.

How to follow the 40th Rolex Middle Sea Race

Race Start: Saturday, 19 October at 11:00 (CEST) Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.

Where to watch live: various vantage points available around the Grand Harbour, including - St. Barbara's Bastion, Great Siege Bell, the Old Fisheries Building, the Valletta Waterfront, as well as the Birgu and Senglea promontories.

How to watch overseas:

TV Malta (state broadcaster, free to view) will broadcast the start live in Maltese language from 10.30 CEST.

Rolex Middle Sea Race Facebook page will broadcast the start live in English from 10.50 CEST.

For more information visit:

Event Website:
Yacht Tracker:
Event Facebook: @RolexMiddleSeaRace
Event Instagram:
Event Twitter: @RolexMiddleSea

Related Articles

2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race Notice of Race released
Royal Malta YC has been carefully monitoring developments globally Despite the continuing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs of the situation easing around the world. With cautious optimism, the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) is pleased to announce the Notice of Race for the 41st Rolex Middle Sea Race. Posted on 17 Jun
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