With 117 starters ready for the 40th anniversary Rolex Middle Sea Race this Saturday, October19, all the usual suspects of IRC grand prix yachting will be on the line to test their skills in the often demanding conditions.
The Grand Harbor of Valletta offers an amazing backdrop for the 606nm race that starts and finishes in Malta, with an anticlockwise rounding of Sicily and the inspiring views of the often gushing volcano Mt Etna.
The Middle Sea Race has a reputation for being very difficult on competitors and boats, with short seas and gale force October winds lashing the fleet. “Experienced navigators only apply” is a fair comment as the tidal conditions in navigating the various marks of the course, including the Straits of Messina, can be a nightmare.
As globally acclaimed Navigator Alexis Loison, who won the 2018 race overall on IRC aboard the JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande, said, “Getting through Messina is a tidal lottery. Then a wrong decision on the lee shore rounding of the Eolian Islands can be a winning or loosing call. However I am looking forward to navigating on the JPK 11.80 which we won IRC on last year.”
The JPK 10.80 Bogatyr and the JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande are looking to make it a treble for JPK yachts, having won overall IRC in 2017 and 2018.
The short-handed division has been dominated by the JPKs which have won the last few years, with the Russian entry Bogatyr, a JPK 10.80, defending their 2018 title. Bogatyr won IRC overall in 2017 and returned to win the Double-handed division in 2018. The versatile and durable JPK’s have a reputation in the heavy air conditions that have swept across the Middle Sea race over the past few years.
Paul Glynn of JPK Pacific said, “Both the JPK 10.80 and JPK 11.80 are an ideal choice for Australian offshore conditions. With the emergence of short-handed sailing underway through the first series of four races to be conducted by the CYCA as a lead in to the initial Short-handed division to be raced in the 2020 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, enquiries have been constant for our JPK 10.80 which has demonstrated its success and versatility with numerous Fastnet and Middle Sea victory trophies for their crew and owners.”