One hundred twelve boats, twenty five nations and six starts.
Organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race has started today, October 22nd, in the spectacular Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.
The 608-mile yacht race takes place in the heart of the Mediterranean and covers one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Starting and finishing in Malta, the route includes the deep azure waters around Sicily including the Aeolian and Egadi Islands, as well as Pantelleria and Lampedusa. One of the most stunning vistas is Stromboli, the active volcano, which is a course mark.
Challenging, enchanting and historic, the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of Europe’s most popular and respected offshore races. Supported by Rolex since 2002, the event’s fascination is largely drawn from its alluring, 608-nautical-mile race course – a rigorous and scenic anti-clockwise loop around Sicily, which introduces numerous ‘corners’ that present changing and complex meteorological shifts.
Over the past ten years, the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy has been won by yachts as large as 86ft and as small as 40ft. Unsurprisingly the weather plays a huge part in deciding the winner. Changes in wind strength, direction and ocean currents create advantages and disadvantages. The ever-changing scenario creates a very complicated picture, especially when boats are on different parts of the course.
The overall winner of the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race is not necessarily the first to cross the finish line. The winner is decided using the IRC rating system, which is used for all of the major offshore races throughout the world. Yachts have their elapsed time corrected according to their potential speed. This gives every yacht a fair chance of winning the overall prize.
Sophisticated routing software programmes can estimate the finish time of each yacht. The software uses the predicted wind conditions and combines that with the predicted speed of the yachts, giving an estimated finish time.
Where to follow the Rolex Middle Sea Race: