As per tradition, the closing act of this year’s Rolex Middle Sea Race was the final prize giving held in the historic 16th century Sacra Infermeria. Originally built as a hospital by the Knights of St John and overlooking Grand Harbour Malta, the impressive building is now the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Celebrating the achievements of all 110 participating yachts, the ceremony was a celebratory affair.
The 2023 edition of the Mediterranean’s most demanding and renowned 600 mile offshore race will be remembered for the mix of conditions and emotions experienced by the international fleet. Unusually, the weather favoured both mammoth and minnow, turtle and hare. A powerful maxi will be remembered for an unexpected offshore success, while one of the smallest boats will be recalled for a breath-taking performance that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Overall winner the 93 foot Bullitt, and second placed 33ft double-hander Red Ruby, separated by only 24 seconds in corrected time, but forever joined in legend.
The principal success stories of the 2023 Rolex Middle Sea Race:
Bullitt – Overall Winner under IRC
Limosa – Multihull Line Honours Winner
Leopard 3 – Monohull Line Honours Winner
Red Ruby – Double-Handed Class Winner under IRC and ORC Category Winner
Andrea Recordati, Bullitt, shares a moment with the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy with Justin and Christina Wolfe, Red Ruby
During the presentation, David Cremona Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club acknowledged the diversity of the fleet, the range of sizes of yachts, the different talent and experience within the crews, and its global representation. He paid tribute to everyone that had taken part: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is more than just a competition; it is a testament to the human spirit's unyielding quest for adventure, an enduring love of the sea and the opportunity to test one’s mettle against the elements. I stand here in awe of the sailors who have embraced these challenges, demonstrating remarkable skill and determination.”
Cremona also referenced the David and Goliath battle for overall victory: “This year’s conditions kept us waiting anxiously with no definite overall winner until late into the week. The Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy was kept in the balance for such a long and tense period. Bullitt’s crew were incredulous about the narrow victory they had experienced, just 24 seconds. While for Red Ruby the end result was agonising, but filled with pride and positivity.”
In addition to participating crews, the occasion was attended by several distinguished guests, in particular the French Ambassador Mrs Agnès von der Mühll, Italian Ambassador Fabrizio Romano, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola and the President of Malta George Vella, who had this to say: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race brings to Malta the best sea-faring talent from across the world and is also a great opportunity to showcase Malta’s vast and rich maritime heritage. One of the features that stands out to me, as the most noteworthy attribute of this event, is its strong multicultural dimension. Some 25 nations have participated in this year’s edition, with entries from as far afield as the United States and Australia. It is indeed very satisfying to see so many nationalities gathered here, with diverse backgrounds and languages, sharing a common objective, and a common passion for the same sport.”
Marking the forthcoming retirement of Dr Vella, the Royal Malta Yacht Club presented a cheque for €5,000 made out to the Malta Community Chest Fund, which aims to improve the quality of life and care of individuals in society in general without any form of discrimination.
The Principal Race Officer, Stefan Kunstmann paid tribute to the 100s of hours of work by the Royal Malta Yacht Club volunteers and thanked the competitors for their contribution to an extremley successful edition of the race.
The 45th Rolex Middle Sea Race will start on Saturday, 19 October 2024.
IRC Overall & winner Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy
Bullitt, Andrea Recordati, ITA
IRC Class Winners
IRC 1 Bullitt, Andrea Recordati, ITA
IRC 2 Caro, Max Klink SUI
IRC 3 Daguet 3, Frédéric Puzin, FRA
IRC 4 Elusive 2, Aaron, Christoph & Maya Podesta, MLT
IRC 5 Karpo, Maks Vrecko, SLO
IRC 6 Red Ruby, Christina & Justin Wolfe, USA
Monohull Line Honours & winner RLR Trophy
Leopard 3, Chris Sherlock, MON
Multihull Line Honours & winner Malta Tourism Authority Trophy (First Foreign Boat)
Limosa, Alexia Barrier, FRA
MOCRA Overall & winner Captain Morgan Trophy
Limosa, Alexia Barrier, FRA
ORC Category Overall & winner Boccale del Mediterraneo Trophy
Red Ruby, Christina & Justin Wolfe, USA
ORC Class Winners
ORC 2 Chocolate 3, François Bopp, SUI
ORC 3 Daguet 3, Frédéric Puzin, FRA
ORC 4 Bewild, Renzo Grottesi, ITA
ORC 5 Inteman (Barakah), Daniel Martín Miguel
ORC 6 Red Ruby, Christina & Justin Wolfe, USA
First Boat with Maltese skipper & majority Maltese crew - winner Transport Malta Trophy
Artie III, Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard, MLT
First Maltese Boat under IRC & winner Arthur Podesta Trophy
First Maltese Boat under ORC & winner Teddie Borg Trophy
Calypso, Sebastian Ripard and Sam Pizzutto, MLT
Yachting Malta Nations Cup (Country with three best IRC corrected times)
Italy – Bullitt, Loli Fast & Diavolina
Italian Ambassador’s Trophy for Sportsmanship
Munjek RS, Dusko Tomic, CRO
First Italian boat under ORC & winner Federazione Italian Vela Trophy
Ultravox Seares, Leonardo Fonti, ITA
99 out 110 boats completed the course, 11 retired.