Malta is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It makes sense that it's a beautiful spot for sailing.
And what a surprise, it also hosts a very well known sailing race:
The Rolex Middle Sea Race
I had the pleasure to sail around Malta with Steve from Domina Charters for a week and on one day, we were right there, where the race started - Valletta!
We stayed overnight in the harbor of Gozo and then got up early, as we had to sail south for 4 hours, to make it in time to Valletta. At noon the race started!
There were several starts and the smaller classes went first. We weren't allowed into the harbor, as that's where all those many boats had to gather and cross the start line at a specific time.
In total 122 yachts from 24 nationalities ranging in size from 9.5 to 30.5 metres gathered at the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014! I call that busy!
We positioned ourself right next to the harbor's exit and saw them at their first turn. The wind conditions were not really good, but that made it very interesting to watch, which different tactics were used and worked well, or not.
After getting out of Valletta's harbor, the boats had to sail up North/West, along the coast, until they reached the next turning point. Only a few boats got some good speed and others really had to fight to get themselves into a good position.
We followed them all the way to the next turn. We stopped there, as from there on, the boats headed into the open sea and aimed for Sicily, where they went through the "Street of Messina".
This might be the turning point for a few boats, as there are very strong currents in that narrow passage between the boot of Italy and Sicily. If the boats don't get enough speed/wind, the currents might be so strong, that they won't be able to pass Messina and to sail around Sicily.
The boat's which makes it, will sail along the coast of Sicily and then head back to Malta.
This whole race might take around three days. In those two nights and three days, each of the crew members gets of 4-5 hours of sleep - total! Too much weight slows down the boat, so each crew member only gets 1 liter of drinking water per day. There is a toilet on board, but it's an open one! A cabin would just take too much space and weight!
Those conditions are of course for the boats who take it VERY serious and I'm sure that others take it with a bit more fun.
Note: this post is part of the Blog Island Malta campaign (#MaltaIsMore), a collaboration between iambassador and the Malta Tourism Authority to initiate discussions and showing the beautiful island of Malta. The views expressed above are mine and mine only.