The 40th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race set off from the Grand Harbour, Malta, on Saturday.
A fleet of 113 yachts, separated into seven starts, were wafted on their way by a very gentle northerly breeze that sent cat’s paws across the harbour, and left plenty of traps for the unsuspecting.
No matter, for the competitors – both professional and Corinthian – the start is just the beginning of a challenge that is not meant to be easy.
By 17:00 CEST, the fleet was making slow progress en route towards Capo Passero and the southernmost point of Sicily.
On the water, Italian trimaran, Ad Maiora has a slim lead over the leading monohull, George David’s Rambler (USA), with the 34-foot catamaran Blackwater (AUS) just behind. Yachts are hugging the rhumb-line and the wind is a light southwesterly of around 8 knots.
A pack of five boats is four miles astern, Pendragon (HUN), Arobas², Wild Joe, Wizard (USA), and Aragon.
In the MOCRA Class, Bruno Cardile’s Ad Maiora has the honour of not only leading the multihull fleet, but is also two miles ahead of Rambler.
The Dazcat 1495 Apollo looks to be leading the MOCRA Class after time correction.
Rolex Middle Sea Race – Leading positions:
Aragon leads Wild Joe with Fabio Cannavale’s Baltic 78 Lupa of the Sea (ITA) in third.
Arobas² leads Black Pearl with Franco Niggeler’s Cookson 50 Kuka 3 in third, just ahead of sistership, Brian McMaster’s Riff Raff.
PrimaVista-Lauria leads from Artie III with Frederic Puzin’s Corum – Daguet2 (FRA), with ocean racer Seb Josse aboard, in third.
BeWild leads from Albator and Arto Linnervuo’s Xp 44 Xtra Staerk (FIN) in third
Courrier Recommandé leads Gianrocco Catalano’s First 40 Mon Ile (ITA) with Peter Gustafsson’s J/111 Blur in third
Igor Rytov’s JPK 10.80 Bogatyr (RUS) leads from Leonardo Petti’s J/109 Chestress (ITA) with JYS Jan in third.
IRC Double Handed
Bogatyr leads Marco Paolucci’s Comet 45 Libertine (ITA) in second and Rob Craigie’s Bellino (GBR) in third.