The Rolex Middle Sea Race has earned the Maltese islands the reputation of one of the most beautiful sailing courses in the world. The 607 nautical mile race starts and finishes in Malta's Marsamxett Harbour, and features the Straits of Messina, the islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa and Stromboli's active volcano as natural marks of the race. The race is a true challenge to all skippers and crew who have to be at their best to cope with the changeable conditions prevalent throughout this Mediterranean course. Over recent years the race has attracted more and more world-famous entries fighting for line honours and desperate to break the record of 64 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds, set by Zephryrus IV in 2000.
Despite so many professional entries, a Maltese boat, S/Y Artie - owned by Lee Satariano -made it to second place, in the 2006 race. Matthew Gusman was part of the crew. 'The 2006 race was very tricky, wind wasn't consistent and you had to look out for areas, especially off Etna & Stromboli, where there was no wind at all.' They were able to use this setback to their advantage and after much studying of forecasts and wind patterns, tactics paid off. S/Y Artie is set to take part in this year's race, with the same crew so, hopefully, conditions will be more favourable and their position can be improved.
For more information visit www.rolexmiddlesearace.com.