The 2015 edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race start this Saturday (17 October) in Malta's Grand Harbour. Over 100 yachts will be competing, flying the flags of 22 countries.
The 36th edition of the race has a record number of 11 canting keel carbon fibre flyers racing, and weather permitting all of these high performance yachts are capable of breaking the course record, which has stood since George David’s Rambler 90 record run of 2007 (47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds).
Leading the assault on the course record will be George David himself, racing the Juan K designed American Maxi, Rambler 88, with an all-star crew including; Brad Jackson, Andrew Cape, Joca Signorini, Rodney Ardern, Simon Daubney, Robbie Naismith, Lorenzo Mazza, Stu Wilson, Nathan Hislop, Jan Dekker, Jerry Kirby, Scott Beavis and Curtis Blewitt.
Two hi-tech multihulls will be racing in the MOCRA Class and both are very capable of beating Rambler 88 around the 606-mile course. Lloyd Thornburg’s American MOD 70, Phaedo3, has been smashing world records since being launched last year. Phaedo3 is co-skippered by British sailor, Brian Thompson, who was part of the crew on Banque Populaire V, for the outright round the world record (Jules Verne Trophy).
Californian Peter Aschenbrenner will be racing his 63-foot Nigel Irens designed trimaran, Paradox. Whilst on paper, Phaedo3 is faster than Paradox, under the MOCRA rating rule, Paradox beat Phaedo3 in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Paradox crew includes the world speed record holder, Paul Larsen, who achieved over 65 knots in Sailrocket in 2012.
Last year’s overall winner, Lee Satariano’s Maltese J/122 Artie (top picture), will be aiming for a third win, which is unprecedented in the 47-year history of the race. Speaking ahead of the event, Satariano said: “It looks like it might be a light wind start, which will suit us, but the weather forecast is very changeable.
“We have much the same crew as last year and we are ready to race. Some weather models are showing light winds for the first two days, followed by a south-easterly wind, which would really suit Artie. However, there are a number of extremely well sailed boats that will also benefit from the scenario.”
The overall winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the coveted Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy is decided by the best-corrected time under the IRC handicap system. Last year, the competitors experienced flat calm to storm force winds, which makes predicting the overall winner very difficult.
The 606-mile Rolex Middle Sea Race at 11am on Saturday, with seven starts for the fleet according to the yachts’ category.
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