[IN PICTURES] Yachts grace majestic Grand Harbour for Rolex Middle Sea Race

112 yachts from 25 countries are expected to compete in this year’s race, including eight teams flying the Maltese Flag.

The majestic Grand Harbour in Valletta yesterday played host to the iconic start of the 37th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea race.

All photos: Chris Mangion
All photos: Chris Mangion

Hundreds of spectators gathered in Valletta to witness the departure of 112 yachts, starting with the smallest and slowest yachts before the departure of the three multihulls.

The Among the visiting yachts are three of the world’s fastest ocean-going sailing yachts – George David’s American Maxi Rambler, Giovanni Soldini’s Italian MOD70 Maserati, and Lloyd Thornburg’s American MOD70 Phaedo3. 

The race course is 608 nautical miles long and starts and ends from the Grand Harbour beneath For St Angelo and the Saluting Battery in Valletta. It then proceeds north along the east coast of Sicily and up towards the Straits of Messina. It then leads north towards the Aeolian Islands, west to the Egadi Islands, and south towards the islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, before ending at Marsamxett Harbour.

The record to finish the race is one day, 23 hours, 55 minutes, and three seconds – set by the yacht ‘Rambler’ in 2007.