Grand Harbour Sir Maurice Dorman Rolex Middle Sea Race
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The winner of the first ever Malta Middle Sea Race


This archive footage shows the winner of the first-ever Middle Sea Race in 198.

John Ripard was presented with the trophy by Malta’s Governor-General Sir Maurice Dorman.

Over the years. the Rolex Middle Sea Race, which starts and finishes in historic Valletta, has grown to become one of the world’s most spectacular sailing events.

It was created out of rivalry between members of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The original suggestion was for a course that started in Malta’s Grand Harbour and finished in Syracuse.

That idea was soon binned and it was agreed to not simply start the race in Malta but finish it there too.

The race course is now a clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily including Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the Egadian and Eolian islands before returning to the finish line in Malta.

CNN founder  and yacht racing enthusiast Ted Turner described the Middle Sea Race as ‘the most beautiful race course in the world.’

He added: ‘What other event has an active volcano as a mark of the course?’

The course record was held by the San Francisco-based, Robert McNeil on board his Maxi Turbo Sled ‘Zephyrus IV’.

In 2000, he smashed the course record with a time of 64 hrs 49 mins 57 secs.

However, George David came along on board ‘Rambler’ in 2007 and set a new course record, which now stands at 47 hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race takes place annually in October and is the climax of the European sailing season.

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