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TALLER THAN THE BURJ KHALIFA

The 2014 edition of the Middle Sea Race, organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, will start on Saturday 18th October in Grand Harbour, Malta.

This will be the largest fleet ever assembled in the 46 year history of the race. The vast majority of the competing yachts have now registered for the race and about 120 yachts, flying the flags of 24 countries, are set to take on one of the world's most awe-inspiring ocean race courses. Laid end to end, the fleet would form a line of impressive yachts, 1800 metres in length, twice as high as the Burj Khalifa.

Starting and finishing in Malta the 608-mile course around Sicily and its surrounding islands has stunning vistas throughout. The international fleet of yachts will be crewed by an astounding mix of Olympic, America's Cup and round the world sailors, as well as passionate amateur Corinthian sailors. Godwin Zammit. Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, commented about the success of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

“The interest in the race has been growing year on year and with entries up over 20% on last year's record entry, the Royal Malta Yacht Club has organised additional berths for competing yachts. In addition to the berths at the Royal Malta Yacht Club, yachts have been accommodated in Grand Harbour and other locations in Malta. Including family and friends of the competing crews, we estimate that well over a thousand people will be visiting Malta for the race.

"There are many reasons why the race is proving so popular, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has a long association with the race and it is now part of their season's points championship and many of the 18 yachts that have come from Great Britain are doing so for that reason and there is a strong contingent from Italy with 33 yachts visiting from our near neighbour. However, without doubt the most important influence on the success of the race is the prestige and prominence associated with our continued support of Rolex, for which the Royal Malta Yacht Club are extremely grateful.”

The hot favourite for Line Honours is Igor Simcic's Maxi, Esimit Europa 2. The European team, led by three-time Olympic Gold medallist Jochen Schumann, will be attempting to take line honours for an unprecedented fourth occasion.

Weather permitting, Esimit Europa 2 is capable of beating the course record; 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds. Set by George David's American Maxi, Rambler in 2007.

For the overall win, two of the world's best Maxi 72s go head to head as favourites. Niklas Zennstrom's Swedish RAN V and George Sakellaris' American Shockwave are both crewed by world class professional sailors.

Last year's overall winner, B2 skippered by Michele Galli, returns to defend the title. However, the Italian flyer will first and foremost be focusing on winning a highly competitive class and hope the conditions suit their lightweight boat.

In total, 11 Maltese yachts will be taking part. Last year, there was an intense battle between two yachts featuring top Maltese crew, a dramatic conclusion resulted in Sonke Stein’s Oiltanking Juno winning class by under three minutes from Timothy Camilleri's XP-ACT Bank Sails.

Both yachts will be battling to win again. In 2013 Oiltanking Juno was the first Maltese boat to cross the finish line and won class for both IRC and ORC.

The most successful Maltese yacht of the modern era will be racing. In 2011, Lee Satariano's Artie, co-skippered by Christian Ripard won the race overall with an all-Maltese crew.

Artie will be returning to the race course this year with a real chance of winning. However, last year the outstanding Maltese boat was Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia's Otra Vez.

Rear Commodore, Royal Malta Yacht Club, Arthur Podesta has competed in every edition of the race and will skipper his First 45, Elusive II BOV. This will be David Pizzuto's 11th race and he is looking forward to racing Geisha. “In a word this race fills me with pride! It's great to be part of probably the best race in the world.”

Three Maltese veterans will be competing in the Double Handed Class. Anthony Camilleri racing AC Marine Tango For Two, for his 15th race. Matthew Scicluna racing Maltese Falcon II for his 9th and Peter Ellul Vincenti racing Manana for the 6th time racing.



 
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