Rolex Middle Sea Race
Saturday 17th October 2020
The Rolex Middle Sea Race was created 1968 as the result of sailing rivalry between Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) members Alan Green and Jimmy White, two Englishmen residing in Malta, and Paul and John Ripard together with other Maltese members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Alan (later Secretary of RORC) and Jimmy approached the RMYC Committee and proposed a long course designed to offer an exciting race in windier autumn conditions rather than those prevailing in the Maltese summer. The original suggestion was for a course that started in Malta and finished in Syracuse. In an inspired moment, that stemmed in part from the persuasive argument of Paul that it should be a race centred on the Maltese islands, it was agreed to not simply start the race in Malta but finish it there too. The race was now, essentially, a clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily including Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the Egadian and Eolian islands, and it would be slightly longer than the RORC’s own famous offshore event, the Fastnet Race.
The race was not run for some years after 1983 until 1996 when the committee of the Royal Malta Yacht Club took a decision to re-instate the race. In 2001, a new Committee brought new ideas into the Middle Sea Race Innovative marketing ideas were introduced and the search for a sponsor was initiated. In 2002, Rolex SA came on board as the title sponsor. Since 2002, the event has witnessed a record number of entries every year and has also seen amazing growth in the quality of entries.
The course record was held by the San Francisco based, Robert McNeil on board his Maxi Turbo Sled "Zephyrus IV" when in 2000, he smashed the old Course record which than stands at 64 hrs 49 mins 57 secs. In recent years, various maxis such as Alfa Romeo, Nokia, Maximus and Morning Glory have all tried to break this course record, but the wind Gods have never played along.
However, George David came along on board "Rambler" in 2007 and demolished the course record established by Zephyrus IV in 2000. This now stands at 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.