The Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) is pleased to confirm that the Notice of Race for 44th Rolex Middle Sea Race is available online and yachts may already register their participation. Last year’s race attracted 118 yachts, another exceptional achievement for a race that always draws an impressively international fleet. The RMYC is looking to attract another varied participation and to challenge the record number of entries, 130, set in 2018. The 2023 race is scheduled to start on Saturday, 21 October from Grand Harbour, Malta.
Always seeking to build on the previous year, the RMYC is excited to announce it is employing a new registration system, which forms part of an updated race management backend suite geared to improving the experience of owners, crew, fans, media and the race team itself.
The system is based on the Nautical Cloud solution, developed by a group of passionate sailors intent on modernising the entire race office and competitor journey. The system enables sailors to enter races, manage crew and even find them, process payments and administer certification checklists with a seamless user experience. Nautical Cloud has been proven to transform the race experience and administration of several reputable clubs and events including the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Junior offshore Group (JOG). Crews entering this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will already be familiar with the process.
Commodore David Cremona expressed the RMYC’s satisfaction with the development:
“We are always looking to put the competitors’ interests first. We firmly believe this new race management system will improve their experience and help us to become more efficient in our handling of entries. Despite this development, I am happy to reassure competitors that the race office remains staffed by the usual friendly faces. The Maltese welcome will be as personal and responsive as ever.”
Several crews have already indicated their intention to compete, including both familiar names and some less well-known, in the context of the 606nm Rolex Middle Sea Race. One of two headline boats is the Stephane Névé skippered Wally 107, Spirit of Malouen, racing as Paprec Sailing Team and representing France. The Judel/Vrolijk designed yacht (ex. Open Season, ex.Hamilton), built by Green Marine and will be the second Wally yacht to take on the Mediterranean’s most challenging offshore race following the successful participation of Bullitt last year. Despite her formidable 32.55 metre / 107 foot length, the record for the largest yacht remains with the 43m / 140ft Skorpios. Névé previously took part in the race in 2021 with a TP52 finishing a day behind the first monohull home, Comanche, which set a new course record.
Another newcomer is Pyewacket 70 from the United States. The Pyewacket name was first made famous in the yachting world through the series of boats owned by the avid ocean racer Roy E. Disney, a nephew of Walt Disney and who passed away in 2009. His son, Roy P. Disney, is a hugely experienced offshore racer in his own right and continues the Pyewacket legacy with this latest iteration. Originally designed by Juan K and launched in 2011, Pyewacket 70 (ex. Black Jack, ex. Telefonica), is a modified Volvo 70, sporting a taller rig and deeper, lighter keel. Overall and Line Honours winner at the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600, the Pyewacket team's next challenge begins on 1 July at the 2023 Transpac. Despite some well-founded attempts, no Volvo 70 (modified or not) has won the Rolex Middle Sea Race on handicap. I Love Poland did, of course, take line honours in 2020.
According to David Cremona, the maxis are great for generating excitement, spectacle and publicity, especially around the start, but it is yachts smaller than 15 metres (50 feet) that make up the bulk of entries:
“We all love the big fast maxi yachts whether monohull or multihull. They add real spice to the start and offer the prospect of record breaking passages. While they are an important part of the fleet mix, we know that our core competitors take part on smaller, slower yachts. Rightly so, the most important trophy is for the overall win on handicap under IRC and, over the years, winners have been drawn from all parts of the entry list.”
Looking further down the size rankings, Julien Boucard form France has entered the Elan 37 Godzilla 2, the SunFast 3300 Red Ruby from the United States is returning this time with Christina Wolfe as skipper, Per Roman from Sweden has registered the JPK1180 GP Bullhound, Katrina Westphal of Germany is entering the Carkeek 47 Störtebeker and Simon Toms from the UK is competing with the SunFast 3300 Zephyr.
Last year’s fleet ranged in size from 30 feet (9 plus metres) to 100 ft (30.5m) and included some of most powerful monohulls and multihulls competing on the international racing circuit. Riccardo Pavoncelli’s Italian MOD70 Mana was first to finish less than a minute ahead of French sistership Zoulou and ten minutes before the Italian Multi70 Maserati. Joost Schultz’s Dutch entry, the 30.48m / 100ft maxi Leopard 3 secured monohull line honours, while Eric de Turckheim was a very popular overall winner under IRC with Teasing Machine, the French NMYD 54.
The 44th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 21 October 2023.