Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Middle Sea Race
Aerial view of Royal Malta Yacht Club
The host club of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has been forced to relocate its operations into shipping containers after it was evicted from its premises. As the Times of Malta reports, talks to delay a court-ordered eviction or find…
In 2022, a fleet of 118 yachts from 24 countries had to negotiate extremely light winds in the 2022 Middle Sea Race
In 2022, a fleet of 118 yachts from 24 countries had to negotiate extremely light winds in the 2022 Middle Sea Race, requiring crews to demonstrate supreme patience and perseverance to maximize every opportunity to maintain momentum. It was a…
Big boat, big crew lineup of a stellar cast – Conor Doyle (centre) with his class-winning crew in Valetta
While the IRC may still be the rating system of choice in northwest Europe, any movement of the action in any international direction quickly finds your boat and crew are soon into hotly competitive offshore racing events where the ORC…
The Ireland Freya crew skippered by Conor Doyle from Kinsale at the finish of the 2022 Middle Sea Race in Valetta harbour, includes Kelvin Harrap, Rory Harrap, Will Byrne, Barry Hurley, Nick Jones, Malcolm McCormick, Cian Guilfoyle, James Lyons, Conor Doyle and Nin O'Leary (not pictured)
Having been in contention for a top three place in IRC 4 at several points of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Kinsale Yacht Club's Conor Doyle was rewarded for his Mediterranean exploits with the ORC Three title in Valetta Harbour,…
The HH42 Artie skippered by Lee Satariano/Christian Ripard, a competitor in ORC: Class 2, IRC: Class 3 in the Rolex Middle Sea Race
Year on year, the Rolex Middle Sea Race features a myriad of skirmishes right through the fleet. If you dream of winning one of the classic 600 nm offshore races overall, you must have the determination and commitment to first…
Yachts racing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Light winds have seen 50 of the 118 competing yachts in this year’s 606-mile offshore retire
At the Pantelleria transit in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator (FRA) held a seven-hour advantage over, currently, second-placed Esentia (POL), the Grand Soleil 44 entered by Marcin Sutkowski. Conor Doyle’s Xp50 Freya (IRL) is in…
2022 Rolex Middle Sea race winners - Teasing Machine. The Crew were: Eric de Turckheim, Laurent Pages, Christian Ponthieu, Quentin Le Nabour, Tony Brochet, Gabriele Olivo, Betrand Castelnerac, Paco Lepoutre, Aleandre Degrival, Jerome Teillet, Quentin Bouchacourt
On Wednesday, 26 October, the winner of the 43rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race was announced as Eric de Turckheim's French NMYD 54 Teasing Machine. The Royal Malta Yacht Club has confirmed that none of the remaining yachts…
Farr 100 Leopard 3 (NED), with Joost Schultz at the helm, and Ireland's Tom McWilliam on the crew take the Middle Sea Race Monohull Line Honours Win in Malta
Farr 100 Leopard 3 (NED), with Joost Schultz at the helm, crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race on Tuesday, 25 October to take Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 70 hours 34 minutes…
Andrea Recordati’s Wally 93 Bullitt (ITA) is the second monohull to cross the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race
With 215 nautical miles still to sail to the finish of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the sole Irish boat in the race, Conor Doyle's XP50 Freya stays in fourth position in the 23-boat IRC Four division on Wednesday morning.…
Leopard 3- The Middle Sea Race Monohull Line Honours Winner
This morning, Tuesday 25 October, the Farr-designed 30.48 metre/100-foot maxi, Leopard 3 (NED), skippered by Chris Sherlock, crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 10:54:29 CEST to take Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time…
Hägar V, a Scuderia 65 skippered by Gregor Stimpfl, competing in IRC Class 2 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race
Conor Doyle’s Irish Xp 50 Freya, the only Irish boat in Malta's Middle Sea Race, is lying fourth on Tuesday morning in IRC Four division. The leading boats came to a grinding halt at Stromboli in the early hours of…
2022 Multihull Rolex Middle Sea Race Line Honours went to Riccardo Pavoncelli's MOD70 Mana in an elapsed time of 61 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds
Riccardo Pavoncelli's MOD70 Mana (ITA) crossed the finish line of the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race at 00:32:38 CEST on Tuesday, 25 October, to take Multihull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 61 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds. The…
Niklas Zennstrom's Class One yacht Rán, a CF 520, competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race
Kinsale skipper Conor Doyle is lying third in class four after the first 24 hours of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.  The Irish XP-50 Freya from Kinsale Yacht Club was 30 minutes behind the Podesta family’s Maltese First 45 Elusive 2…
The 43rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race gets underway. Across seven starts and to the sound of the Saluting Battery’s firing cannons, an international fleet of 118 yachts commenced one of the world’s most revered offshore races from the Grand Harbour, Valletta
Grand Harbour performed some magic on Saturday as an assembled 118 yachts set off on the 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race. The ancient limestone walls of Valletta seem to come alive in bright sunshine, and they duly offered the gathered…
An international fleet of 120 yachts from 25 countries – including Ireland – are contesting the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race
Irish yacht Freya skippered by Conor Doyle of Kinsale Yacht Club is among the global fleet that has once again answered the call of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, with the 43rd edition, which starts at 1100 CEST, tomorrow Saturday,…
Jason Carroll's Argo sets sail in 2021 en route to setting a new multihull race record in the Middle Sea Race. While she isn't back this year, five other MOD70s are
The classic 600-mile offshore race with certainly the most exotic course - the Rolex Middle Sea Race will this Saturday launch the latest edition of the International Maxi Association’s Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge (MMOC). Running into 2023, the MMOC comprises…

About The Middle Sea Race

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a highly rated offshore classic, often mentioned in the same breath as the Rolex Fastnet, The Rolex Sydney–Hobart and Newport-Bermuda as a 'must do' race. The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968 and 2007 was the 28th Edition. Save for a break between 1984 and 1995 the event has been run annually attracting 25–30 yachts. In recent years, the number of entries has rissen sharply to 68 boats thanks to a new Organising Committee who managed to bring Rolex on board as title sponsor for the Middle Sea Race.

The race is a true challenge to skippers and crews who have to be at their very best to cope with the often changeable and demanding conditions. Equally, the race is blessed with unsurpassed scenery with its course, taking competitors close to a number of islands, which form marks of the course. Ted Turner described the MSR as "the most beautiful race course in the world".

Apart from Turner, famous competitors have included Eric Tabarly, Cino Ricci, Herbert von Karajan, Jim Dolan, Sir Chay Blyth and Sir Francis Chichester (fresh from his round the world adventure). High profile boats from the world's top designers take part, most in pursuit of line honours and the record – competing yachts include the extreme Open 60s, Riviera di Rimini and Shining; the maxis, Mistress Quickly, Zephyrus IV and Sagamore; and the pocket rockets such as the 41-foot J-125 Strait Dealer and the DK46, Fidessa Fastwave.

In 2006, Mike Sanderson and Seb Josse on board ABN Amro, winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, the super Maxis; Alfa Romeo and Maximus and the 2006 Rolex Middle Sea Race overall winner, Hasso Platner on board his MaxZ86, Morning Glory.

George David on board Rambler (ex-Alfa Romeo) managed a new course record in 2007 and in 2008, Thierry Bouchard on Spirit of Ad Hoc won the Rolex Middle Sea Race on board a Beneteau 40.7

The largest number of entries was 78 established in 2008.

Middle Sea Race History


The Middle Sea Race was conceived as the result of sporting rivalry between great friends, Paul and John Ripard and an Englishman residing in Malta called Jimmy White, all members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club. In the early fifties, it was mainly British servicemen stationed in Malta who competitively raced. Even the boats had a military connection, since they were old German training boats captured by the British during the war. At the time, the RMYC only had a few Maltese members, amongst who were Paul and John Ripard.

So it was in the early sixties that Paul and Jimmy, together with a mutual friend, Alan Green (later to become the Race Director of the Royal Ocean Racing Club), set out to map a course designed to offer an exciting race in different conditions to those prevailing in Maltese coastal waters. They also decided the course would be slightly longer than the RORC's longest race, the Fastnet. The resulting course is the same as used today.

Ted Turner, CEO of Turner Communications (CNN) has written that the Middle Sea Race "must be the most beautiful race course in the world. What other event has an active volcano as a mark of the course?"

In all of its editions since it was first run in 1968 – won by Paul Ripard's brother John, the Rolex Middle Sea Race has attracted many prestigious names in yachting. Some of these have gone on to greater things in life and have actually left their imprint on the world at large. Amongst these one finds the late Raul Gardini who won line honours in 1979 on Rumegal, and who spearheaded the 1992 Italian Challenge for the America's Cup with Moro di Venezia.

Another former line honours winner (1971) who has passed away since was Frenchman Eric Tabarly winner of round the world and transatlantic races on Penduik. Before his death, he was in Malta again for the novel Around Europe Open UAP Race involving monohulls, catamarans and trimarans. The guest list for the Middle Sea Race has included VIP's of the likes of Sir Francis Chichester, who in 1966 was the first man to sail around the world single-handedly, making only one stop.

The list of top yachting names includes many Italians. It is, after all a premier race around their largest island. These include Navy Admiral Tino Straulino, Olympic gold medallist in the star class and Cino Ricci, well known yachting TV commentator. And it is also an Italian who in 1999 finally beat the course record set by Mistress Quickly in 1978. Top racing skipper Andrea Scarabelli beat it so resoundingly, he knocked off over six hours from the time that had stood unbeaten for 20 years.

World famous round the world race winners with a Middle Sea Race connection include yachting journalist Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Les Williams, both from the UK.

The Maxi Class has long had a long and loving relationship with the Middle Sea Race. Right from the early days personalities such as Germany's Herbert Von Karajan, famous orchestra conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philarmoniker, competing with his maxi Helisara IV. Later came Marvin Greene Jr, CEO of Reeves Communications Corporation and owner of the well known Nirvana (line honours in 1982) and Jim Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, whose Sagamore was back in 1999 to try and emulate the line honours she won in 1997.


The course record was held by the San Francisco based, Robert McNeil on board his Maxi Turbo Sled Zephyrus IV when in 2000, he smashed the Course record which now stands at 64 hrs 49 mins 57 secs. Zephyrus IV is a Rechiel-Pugh design. In recent years, various maxis such as Alfa Romeo, Nokia, Maximus and Morning Glory have all tried to break this course record, but the wind Gods have never played along. Even the VOR winner, ABN AMro tried, but all failed in 2006.

However, George David came along on board Rambler in 2007 and demolished the course record established by Zephyrus IV in 2000. This now stands at 1 day, 23 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.

At A Glance - Middle Sea Race 2023

The 44th Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 21 October 2023.

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