Alex Thomson and his crew are making the final preparations ahead of the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta

The countdown is on until the start of the 2017 Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta.

Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60, HUGO BOSS is one of 112 boats which are registered to compete from 30 different countries.

For this race, which starts tomorrow (21 October), Thomson will be racing crewed.

On board will be Irish sailor Nin O’Leary, who was Thomson’s co-skipper during the 2017 Fastnet race, HUGO BOSS boat captain Will Jackson and experienced Class 40 and Vendee2020Vision sailor Jack Trigger, who recently smashed the Length of Britain world record.

For the 38th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the crews will start from Grand Harbour in Malta before sailing a 606 nautical mile course around the Island of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands, the Egadi Islands (except Marettimo Island), Pantelleria and Lampedusa Islands and return to the finish line in Marsamxett Harbour in Malta.

Crew of HUGO boss dressed in grey t-shirts ahead of the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2017

The HUGO BOSS crew

Ahead of the start tomorrow, Thomson gave the insight into the expected conditions for the race.

“It’s great to be back here in Malta and competing in the Middle Sea Race. Valletta Harbour is such an incredible location for a race start!” said the Vendée Globe skipper.

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“I am looking forward to racing with Nin, Jack and Will – a welcome change from racing solo! The conditions for the start look like light upwind conditions which aren’t favourable for us, but once we round the top of Sicily there will be a strong north-westerly mistral kicking in on Sunday which will give us very fast downwind foiling conditions back to the finish,” predicted Thomson.

HUGO BOSS is competing in the double-handed category, which is due to start at 11am GMT.