Please select your home edition
Edition
Crewsaver 2021 Safetyline LEADERBOARD

2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race: Confronting the challenge

by Quinag 30 Oct 2021 21:20 BST 23-30 October 2021
An international fleet of 114 yachts from 25 countries are contesting the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race © Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

For the 114-strong international fleet, the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race proved a true examination of seamanship.

The challenges presented offered a test for even the most prepared crews. Organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club since 1968 the race has been partnered by Rolex since 2002.

The 42nd edition of the race was dominated by an exceptional weather window that offered fast downwind sailing virtually the entire way around the course. Despite a determined effort by smaller, less powerful but exceptionally well-sailed yachts, the maxi Comanche was declared the overall winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race on time correction. The 100-ft (30.48m) yacht completed the 606-nautical mile (975 kilometre) racecourse in a time of 40 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds, setting a new monohull record, seven and half hours inside the previous best. Comanche became only the third yacht in the history of the race to claim the triple crown of line honours, monohull race record and overall victory.

Mitch Booth, the skipper, confirmed that despite high-class opposition the situation favoured his boat:

"The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the premiere events in offshore racing and to come away with the triple is very rare. This weather window was perfect and we were lucky to get around the corners at just the right time. We had everything thrown at us - strong winds, rain, lightning, huge waves sometimes. It was really challenging."

For Tom Slingsby, a crewmember of Comanche as well as a former Rolex World Sailor of the Year and skipper of the Australia SailGP Team, a first Rolex Middle Sea Race appearance proved hugely memorable:

"To set a new (monohull) race record is very humbling. The race track is beautiful, going around islands in changing conditions with a lot of geographical factors at play and then finishing back where we started is new for me. I will definitely be coming back."

Meanwhile for the predominantly Corinthian crews, the weather and sea state were brutal. In the threatening winds, the need to balance prudence with performance was critical. Experienced sailors, like 31-time race participant Christian Ripard competing on the Maltese yacht Artie agreed:

"At night we were doing up to 28 knots. You need to be careful. With our crew's experience we are able to push the boat hard. There is that element of racing where you want to win, but you are on a tightrope. You need to make sure you stay on that line."

A quartet of maxi multihulls were also able to take full advantage of the conditions, with Jason Carroll's MOD70 Argo (USA) powering around the course in a time of 33 hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds, setting a remarkable outright race record.

The 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race will be remembered as the year records fell and one where Corinthian sailors demonstrated guile, grit and determination. Their resilience and human accomplishment are two of the qualities which have long bound Rolex and the sport of sailing.

Related Articles

2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race fleet starts to climb
Some 49 yachts from 21 countries have entered Mediterranean's premier 606-mile classic to date With little more than four months to go to the start of the 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race, the fleet is growing daily. Some 49 yachts from 21 countries have entered Mediterranean's premier 606-mile classic to date. Posted on 20 Jun
Registration open for 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race
Notice of Race for 43rd running of the event is now available online The Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) is pleased to confirm that the Notice of Race for 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race is available online and yachts may already register their participation. Posted on 21 Apr
Sunrise Racing Rolex Middle Sea Race Statement
We don't go sailing to win watches and trophies. We go sailing because we love the sport. First and foremost, on behalf of the Sunrise crew please can we extend our congratulations to every competitor who completed the Rolex Middle Sea Race this year. Posted on 8 Nov 2021
Comanche overall winner of Rolex Middle Sea Race
The 100ft maxi also took monohull line honours and the monohull race record The 30.48m/100ft Maxi Comanche (CAY) has been confirmed as the overall winner of the 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race. Posted on 29 Oct 2021
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Double-Handed Warriors
This year's race was tough, especially for the smaller boats This year's Rolex Middle Sea Race was tough, especially for the smaller boats. At times, during the 606 nautical mile expedition, gale force winds and tumultuous seas battered the fleet. Posted on 29 Oct 2021
Rolex Middle Sea Race - The Modern-Day Tritons
Three bronze figures represent Malta's links with the sea The open space outside the City Gate of Malta's capital, Valletta, is dominated by a fountain comprising three bronze figures of mythological Tritons. Posted on 28 Oct 2021
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Just another belting day
Tuesday was yet another day of extraordinary tales and adventure Tuesday was yet another day of extraordinary tales and adventure. The 42nd Rolex Middle Sea Race continues to live up to its billing as a blockbuster thriller. Posted on 26 Oct 2021
2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race still delivering
With seven yachts in harbour, the race is far from over With seven yachts in harbour, and no more expected until much later tonight (Monday) or the early hours of Tuesday, one might be excused for thinking the Rolex Middle Sea Race is over. Far from it. Posted on 25 Oct 2021
Monohull line honours for Comanche
Crossing the finish line this morning in the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race This morning, Monday 25 October, the VPLP/Verdier designed 30.48 metre/100 foot racing maxi, Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth, crossed the finish line of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 04:27:50 CEST to take Monohull Line Honours. Posted on 25 Oct 2021
Multihull line honours for Jason Carroll's Argo
MOD70 completes the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race in 33 hours 29 minutes 28 seconds Jason Carroll's MOD70 Argo (USA) crossed the finish line of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 20:39:28 CEST on Sunday 24 October to take Multihull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 33 hours 29 minutes 28 seconds. Posted on 24 Oct 2021