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Impressive entry for the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race

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Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

With three weeks to go to the start of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race, the entry list augurs the possibility of a fabulous and fascinating race. 125 yachts are currently entered, just shy of the 130-boat record set in 2018. Not bad, given the circumstances surrounding this year's event and proof positive of the enduring popularity of offshore racing and this classic of the Mediterranean in particular.

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The start from Grand Harbour, Valetta, on Saturday 23 October promises to be a spectacular occasion. The historic port filled with yachts and cannon fire ringing around the 16th century fortifications.
The fleet assembling ranges in scope from mighty Maxi Monohulls and Maxi Multihulls to plucky double-handed crews. The largest yacht registered is the Monegasque flagged 42.56m/140ft Skorpios, the smallest is the 9.45m/31ft Hanse 311, Gabriele Spaggiari's Catina 4 from Italy.

Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Given the right conditions, the race record of 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds will be under serious threat with the likes of Skorpios, the 30.48m/100ft Comanche (CAY), the 27m/88ft Rambler (USA) on the line, and not forgetting the multihulls, whose own record is nearly nine hours slower than the race/monohull time. Maserati Multi70 (ITA), the two MOD 70s: Mana (ITA) and Argo (USA), and the 24m/80ft Ultim'Emotion (FRA) must all have the aspiration, if circumstances lend themselves to a fast run. The current benchmark time has stood since 2007, or 13 editions, itself a record with the previous longest run being eight races.

All eyes, though, will be on the main prize: the overall win under IRC time correction and the magnificent Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy commissioned in 1968 by the Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Malta Tourism Authority (then, the Malta Government Tourist Board) and created by noted local artist Emanuel Vincent "Emvin" Cremona.
 
The host nation, Malta, has been the most successful in recent years, winning the trophy on four occasions since 2010. For the past two editions, the Podesta family, racing the First 45 Elusive 2, has won the ultimate prize. Aaron, Christoph, and Maya with their crew of friends are on a hattrick of victories for 2021, a feat last achieved over 40 years ago by Nita IV from 1978 to 1980.

Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Lee Satariano has lifted the trophy twice, in 2011 and 2014, in his previous boat. His latest, the carbon HH42 Artie III, is racing this year with the added impetus of multiple race winners, Christian Ripard and Timmy Camilleri onboard. 

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