Conceived in the mid 1960s, it was the result of sporting rivalry between
brothers John and Paul Ripard and their friend Jimmy White - an Englishman
living in Malta. The three members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club decided to
set up an offshore course designed to offer an exciting race which was over
the Fastnet length (RORC's longest race) in challenging conditions.
Initially attracting British Servicemen stationed in Malta and Maltese RMYC
members, it soon became a favourite of the Italians and has become one of
the nine Rolex 'must do' yacht races.
A two-race inshore series kicks off the regatta on 17 & 18 October, allowing
sailors to participate in the full Maltese experience of inshore racing amid
the incredible setting of the historical setting of Malta before a couple of
days sightseeing or last minute preparation ready for the main off shore
Middle Sea refers to the stretch of water South and West of Sicily which is
scattered with small isolated islands in the Maltese archipelago. The course
itself starts in the stunning, historical Marsamxett harbour in the port of
Valletta. Taking in the Middle Sea, the course circumnavigates the island of
Sicily and some of the islands in the South Tyrrhenian Sea before finishing
back in Marsamxett Harbour. The rugged course is sometimes described as the
most beautiful in the world, but can prove challenging for boats and crew
with changeable weather and sea conditions, last year's light winds meant
only nine boats managed to cross the finish line.
Thuraya Maximus will be hoping for stronger winds this year and should conditions be
right the Course Record of 64hours, 49 minutes and 57 seconds set in 2000 by
Zephyrus IV may well be up for grabs although with light winds predicted just
days out from the event any realistic chance of a record breaking wind look to
be fading. The official word is light southerlies of around 5 -10 knots for the
start then chaning to light notherelies as teh race progresses.
Thuraya Maximus' joint Kiwi owners Charles St
Clair Brown (Boat Skipper) and Bill Buckley along with their permanent crew
are being joined by Paul Cayard (Whitbread winner, America's Cup finalist,
Olympian and multi-World Champion USA) as principle helmsman, Matt Humphries
(of Volvo Ocean Race, Fastnet, Transatlantic and Sydney Hobart fame, UK) as
watch captain and Italian Crew members including Filippo Molinari and
Damiano Lipani. With their strong crew line-up Thuraya Maximus will be looking to
make its mark on this last Northern Hemisphere regatta of 2006 before
returning leaving the Med behind for the Southern Hemisphere series.
For further press information please contact Jo Taylor Watermark Communications
T: 00447941019505 E: firstname.lastname@example.org - Photo Credit: Carlo Borlenghi/ Rolex