On the surface, all looks well for the 41st Rolex Middle Sea Race, scheduled to start on 17 October 2020 from Valletta’s Grand Harbour. Despite the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 79 boats representing 21 countries are currently registered.
A diverse and attractive fleet given the circumstances, with some fascinating entries. The Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) continues to take nothing for granted. The shifting global picture still presents a huge hurdle before the Saluting Battery cannons signal the start of the race.
In terms of preparations, the RMYC is well advanced. The COVID-19 Task Force led by former-flag officer Mark Vella is drawing expertise from a number of individuals including, importantly, some with front-line experience of managing the public health response in Malta. “It remains a complex situation,” says Vella. “We continue to walk through every aspect of the event, analysing and assessing each risk point, and working up the appropriate protocols and operating procedures.”The RMYC has added a COVID-19 page to the RMSR website where it gives detail about access to the clubhouse, the registration process, facilities and restrictions. Otherwise, in many respects, it is business as usual.
Last year’s winners, the Podesta siblings from Malta have entered again with their First 45 Elusive 2. “It is just one of those things,” says Maya. “The race is on all our calendars, so even before we won last year we knew we’d be on the start line again this year. It is just part of our lives.” Maya is glad to have the support of her brothers Aaron and Christoph in preparing Elusive 2. In her day job as a doctor, Maya is a Consultant at the Office of the Superintendence of Public Health in Malta, and fully occupied with government’s response to the pandemic. Naturally, she is also a key member of the RMYC COVID Task Force with particular responsibility for interpreting the latest regulations and guidance and advising on the requirements for foreign crews.