Rolex extend MSR deal

112 boats registered for Saturday’s start

Rolex MSR boats moored at Ta’ Xbiex.

Rolex MSR boats moored at Ta’ Xbiex.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club is all geared up for another challenging test while hosting the 37th Rolex Middle Sea Race which sails off from Grand Harbour on Saturday.

The annual offshore regatta again drew a strong entry list of 112 boats from 25 different countries, confirming its status as one of the most popular regattas on this side of the globe.

The build-up to the 606-nautical mile race this year was dominated by news that prestigious sponsors Rolex have agreed to prolong their association with the Middle Sea Race for another three years.

“We held talks with Rolex and they agreed to extend their sponsorship for the Middle Sea Race by another three-year term,” RMYC Commodore Godwin Zammit told reporters yesterday.

“Rolex have become a key player for the future standing of our race ever since we started our partnership back in 2002. We are looking forward to extending our co-operation in the coming years and increase the popularity of the Middle Sea Race.”

Some fast boats will again be here to establish a new course record including George David’s Rambler 88, monohull line honours winners last year.

Another attraction will be the duel bet-ween multi-hulls Phaedo 3 and Maserati.

The MOD70 Phaedo 3 will be defending the multi-hull line honours they won in 2015 but this time Lloyd Thornburg’s crew will have to deal with the stiff challenge from Maserati, owned by Giovanni Soldini.

The Rolex MSR represents Maserati’s first participation in an offshore race. The Italian entry is likely to attract lots of attention from the sailing enthusiasts as this seacraft is equipped with hydro-foils that can lift the boat out of the water at very high speeds.

This year, Malta will be represented by eight boats with Lee Satariano’s Artie again leading the charge for the prestigious MSR Trophy following their victories in 2011 and 2014.

The major part of the boats are already here and this morning a 40-strong fleet is expected to take part in the now traditional Coastal Race which gets under way from Marsamxett at 10am.

Race officer Peter Dimech said the weather will be difficult to predict but he’s anticipating light winds for next week.

“There are still four days to go before the start of the MSR but the indications point towards very light winds,” he said.

“That sets a scenario for a very open race with the majority of boats enjoying a good chance of tasting overall victory.”

Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, promised government’s commitment in providing assistance to the Middle Sea Race and said there are plans to improve port facilities at the Marsamxett.


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