The Yachting Malta Coastal Race:Setting the Tone for theRolex Middle Sea Race

Yachting Malta, a dedicated advocate for the yachting industry, has reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the annual Yachting Malta Coastal Race, often referred to as the “warm-up” to the Rolex Middle Sea Race. 2023 marks 8 years of support for the race which underlines Yachting Malta’s ongoing dedication to sailing and reinforces their position as a vital contributor to the yachting community. The race plays a crucial role in providing opportunities for crews to fine-tune their manoeuvres, test their equipment, and get acclimated to the local conditions, a few days  before embarking on one of the most demanding offshore races in the world.  Many teams see the Yachting Malta Coastal Race as an essential part of their preparation.

The race has consistently served as a captivating precursor to the renowned Rolex Middle Sea Race, with a history of winners from this event going on to memorable results.   Boats such as the South African Hi Fidelity (2012) and the Italian Mascalzone Latino (2016) are two renowned boats whose success  in the shorter inshore race proved a forerunner to subsequent victory in the longer offshore race.   Other boats such, as I Love Poland (2020)  went on to win Line Honours. 

The international representation is significant, and the opportunity to take on a course set against the stunning backdrop of Malta’s picturesque coastline and crystal-clear waters is seen by many as an opportunity not to be missed. This year’s race has already attracted a fleet of over 40 yachts, representing some 15 countries. Störtebekker from Germany, Warrior Won and Pyewacket 70 from the USA, Jackknife from the United Kingdom and Marina Rubicón / X-Odessa from Montenegro are just some of the boats which will be experiencing Maltese waters for the first time. Francois Bopp’s Chocolate 3 from Switzerland is taking part again, having finished on the podium last year. George Greer’s American entry Kiboko Tatu is another who found last year’s participation beneficial and rewarding. French entry Daguet-Corum 3 took part in 2021, as did Andraz Szép’s Knyaz and Thierry Deseine’s Leu from France. Once experienced, it is hard to shake the attractions of sailing in warm water under blue sky in October.

Maltese success in this race has been nothing short of remarkable. The event has seen local teams consistently shine, making their presence felt on the international sailing stage – the Podesta siblings’ Elusive 2 has been the most prolific team to make it to the Yachting Malta Coastal Race podium, winning the race twice (2016, 2020), and featuring regularly in the top three places for the past five years. Other boats etching their name on the winners’ trophy were the Ripards’ Calypso (2022) and Aaron Gatt Floridia’s Otra Vez (2015), whilst Jonathan Gambin’s Ton Ton Laferla placed second in 2022, Nils Lindeman’s Xpedite and Josef Schultheis’ Xp-Act  placed third in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“The Yachting Malta Coastal Race sets the stage for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, where it starts testing the mettle of sailors, and igniting the spirit of competition. This warm up race, before the main event, embodies the essence of preparation, camaraderie, and the pursuit of sailing’s highest standards.” – Martin Azzopardi, Yachting Malta Coastal Race Officer.
 
Yachting Malta CEO Michael Mifsud, spoke about Malta’s ideal geographic location and the conditions that make it an irresistible destination for sailors primarily through its wind conditions and stunning coastal scenery.
 
“Yachting Malta supports the Coastal Race as it encapsulates the spirit of preparation, building bonds, and setting the tone for the Rolex Middle Sea Race. We believe in fostering a culture of excellence, and this race, paves the way for sailors to embark on their Mediterranean odyssey with the skills, confidence, and unity they need to conquer the open waters.” remarked Mifsud.
 
The Yachting Malta Coastal Race will start from Marsamxett Harbour at 10.00 CEST on Wednesday 18 October.  A Prize Giving evening and Owners’ Reception will take place in the evening at The Villa, St. Julian’s.