The shot fired from the cannon in the fortress looking over the Grand Harbour in Malta announced the start of the 39th Rolex Middle Sea Race on 20th October 2018 at 11.00 (9.00 UTC). The starting line was crossed by 131 teams, instead of the 149 entrants in the historical Maltese regatta, which celebrates this year its 50th anniversary since the first edition in 1968.
On a cloudy grey morning, with a wind of 15 knots from North-East and rough sea, the first category to start was the multihulls one (MOCRA). Among them, other than Maserati Multi 70, there’s the English MOD 70 PowerPlay, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, which crossed first the start line, closely followed by the Italian trimaran.
Outside the Harbour, Maserati Multi 70, with full mainsail and solent, overtook PowerPlay and is now sailing in first place at 15 knots. In third and fourth position are the catamarans Allegra and R-SIX.
A few minutes before the start, Giovanni Soldini said: “We should be able to find nice wind until we reach Sicily, that will then decrease and get unstable, making the passage of Reggio Calabria and Stromboli more complicated. The boat is in complete foiling configuration, its ready, the crew is in good shape and we will do our best as usual!”
Aboard Maserati Multi 70, with skipper Giovanni Soldini, there are 7 professional sailors: Italians Vittorio Bissaro (tactician), Guido Broggi (mainsail trimmer), Nico Malingri and Matteo Soldini (both grinder and trimmer); Spanish Carlo Hernandez Robayna (trimmer) and Oliver Herrera Perez (bowman) and French François Robert (pitman).
The Maltese regatta’s 606 miles route is sailed anti-clockwise around Sicily, passing North of Stromboli, West of Favignana and Pantelleria and South of Lampedusa, before heading back to the finish line in Valletta.
The speed record is held by George David who, in 2007, crossed the finish line aboard Rambler in 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.
The multihull category (MOCRA) record time was set by Maserati Multi 70 which, in 2016, completed the regatta in 49 hours, 25 minutes and 1 second.