The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a highly rated offshore classic, often mentioned in the same breath as the Rolex Fastnet, The Rolex Sydney – Hobart and Newport-Bermuda as a “must-do” race. The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968. 2023 will be the 44th Edition and the 54th anniversary of the start of this race.
The race is a true challenge to skippers and crews who have to be at their very best to cope with the often changeable and demanding conditions. Equally, the race is blessed with unsurpassed scenery with its course, taking competitors close to several islands, which form marks of the course. Ted Turner described the MSR as “the most beautiful race course in the world”.
Rolex Middle Sea Race Course
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is 608 nautical miles long and is sailed anti-clockwise. Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, beneath Fort St Angelo and the Saluting Battery in Valletta, the fleet head north along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Straits of Messina. Mt Etna is usually visible on the fleet’s port side, billowing ashes and lava throughout the night. Once through the Straits, the course leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano of Stromboli, where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands.
Passing between Marettimo and Favignana, the crews head south towards the island of Lampedusa, leaving Pantelleria to port.
Once past Lampedusa, the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towards the South Comino Channel and finishes at Marsamxett Harbour. En route, the crews take in an amazing diversity of landscape and sea conditions, all of which combine to create the attraction and challenge of the race.
Coastal Race Course
Depending on the weather, the race will begin in Marsamxett Harbour, head towards the Island of Gozo and return past Comino. The course of the above coastal race may be altered depending on weather conditions. Final instructions for the coastal race will be given during the Coastal Race Briefing. The starts on Wednesday before the start of the Middle Sea Race on Saturday.