The 606 nautical mile route takes place in the heart of the Mediterranean and is considered one of the most beautiful courses in the world

The Rolex Middle Sea Race commences on Saturday with more than 100 yachts from 22 countries due to take part. Starting and finishing in Malta, the race is known for its picturesque route, taking competitors close to a number of islands which form course marks.

Scroll down for infomation on how to follow this year’s race.

We have compiled this visual guide to the Rolex Middle Sea Race, which American media mogul and yachtsman Ted Turner described as “the most beautiful race course in the world. What other event has an active volcano as a mark of the course?”

The 2015 Rolex Middle Sea Race course map

 

Screen shot 2015-10-16 at 10.53.53Start: Grand Harbour, Valletta, beneath Fort St Angelo and the Saluting Battery in Valletta.

Start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 off Valletta, Malta. Image courtesy Kurt Arrigo/ Rolex

The start of the 2014 Middle Sea Race at Grand Harbour. Image courtesy Kurt Arrigo/ Rolex

Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, the course is sailed anti-clockwise with the fleet heading north along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Straits of Messina.

Screen shot 2015-10-16 at 11.44.38

MAXI 72S RÁN (SWE) AND SHOCKWAVE (USA) NEGOTIATING THE STRAIT OF MESSINA. Image courtesy Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

Mount Etna is usually visible on the fleets port side, billowing ashes and lava throughout the night. Once through the Straits, the course leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano of Stromboli where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands.

Niklas Zennstrom's RÁN rounding Stromboli in the 2014 race. Image courtesy Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

Esimet Europa 2 approaching Stromboli in the 2014 race. Image courtesy Kurt Arrigo

LIGHT BREEZE AS ESIMIT EUROPA 2 ROUNDS STROMBOLICCHIO, THE SMALL ISLAND TO THE NORTHEAST OF STROMBOLI

Passing between Marettimo and Favignana the crews head south towards the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria to port.

The island of Lampedusa, largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea as seen from the air.

Once past Lampedusa the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towards the South Comino Channel and the finish at Marsamxett Harbour.

KUKA-LIGHT (SUI) AND MONSTER PROJECT (RUS) ENTERING THE COMINO STRAIT

CANTANKEROUS (ITA) SURFING A WAVE IN THE FINAL APPROACH TO MALTA

TP52 BALEARIA (ESP) APPROACHING MALTA

The Course Record, established by “Rambler” in 2007, is 1day, 23hours, 55mins 3secs.

RAMBLER, CROSSING THE FINISH LINE AND BREAKING THE ROLEX MIDDLE SEA RACE RECORD

The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968 and 2015 will be the 36th Edition. This year’s entry list of 115 just falls short of last year’s record number of entries, when 122 yachts took part in this offshore classic.

Famous competitors have included Ted Turner, Eric Tabarly, Cino Ricci, Herbert von Karajan, Jim Dolan, Sir Chay Blyth and Sir Francis Chichester (fresh from his round the world adventure). High profile boats from the world’s top designers take part, most in pursuit of line honours and the record – competing yachts include the extreme Open 60s, Riviera di Rimini and Shining; the maxis, Mistress Quickly, Zephyrus IV and Sagamore; and the pocket rockets such as the 41-foot J-125 Strait Dealer and the DK46, Fidessa Fastwave.

In 2014 Esimit Europa were in first to win Line Honours, whilst Maltese J/122 boat Artie was the overall winner of the IRC Category and the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy for the second time.

ARTIE (MLT) CROSSING THE FINISH LINE IN MARSAMXETT HARBOUR TO BECOME WINNER OF THE ROLEX MIDDLE SEA RACE 2014

All of the competing yachts are fitted with YB trackers showing their position and other telemetric data.

How to follow the race:

Watch the race live:
Yachts will be in the Grand Harbour from approximately 10:00hrs.
Race starts on Saturday 17th October at 11:00 at the Grand Harbour
Various vantage points are available- the Upper Barakka Gardens give a fine aerial view.

Website:  www.rolexmiddlesearace.com
Yacht Tracker:  www.rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/#pt
Yacht Blogs: http://blog.rolexmiddlesearace.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RolexMiddleSeaRace?fref=ts
Twitter: #rolexmiddlesea
Television:  TVM2 will be broadcasting the starts LIVE
Free Live Streaming of the Start:  http://www.tvm.com.mt/mt/tv/tvm2/

Visit ww.rolexmiddlesearace.com for more information.

@http://www.yachtingworld.com/