The International Sailing Federation (World Sailing) and the Royal Malta Yacht Club will hold a competition in Valletta in conjunction with the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The championship will feature 20 crewed mixed doubles. The competition will be the first leg of the journey to the OlympicGames 2024 in France.
« Rolex Middle Sea Race has been on the minds of yachtsmen for over 50 years. The nature of Maltese waters, the challenge they present to sailors and the efforts of the volunteers and organisers have ensured that the race remains a magnet. We are honoured to partner with World Sailing to host two prestigious competitions side by side. This will push the boundaries of sailing and provide greater diversity»," commented Malta Yacht Club Commodore Godwin Zammit on the news.
The idea for the championship was first announced in 2017. It was supposed to take place in 2019, but now the date has been moved for another year. This will allow the organizers to finalize the qualification system and the participating national federations, in turn, to select and prepare candidates from their countries.
« One important goal is to attract twin crews from new countries to offshore yachting. This should be facilitated both by the provision of matchmaking at the Championships itself and by the organisation of a boat charter in Europe from summer 2019 for training»," says the World Sailing website.
However Federation is still keeping silence regarding what kind of boats will be used during the championship and what format of races will be arranged. Head of the Federation Kim Andersen in one interview just said that the choice has already been made. According to unconfirmed rumors, it could be a question of the nine-meter L30 monohull designed by Rodion Luka, 2004 Olympic silver medallist and Head of the Sailing Federation of Ukraine.
The area around Malta is well known to Russian athletes.Igor Rytov's Bogatyr team has repeatedly shown top class in these waters: in 2017 during the Rolex Middle Sea Race it was the overall winner, and this season it finished first among the crew twos. Other Russian teams also boast significant successes. For example, in 2017 the Stellar Racing Team duo of DmitryKondratyev and Alexander Grudnin was the only one to finish in their class, while in autumn 2018 the first place in ORC and IRC 6 classes was taken by Vadim Yakimenko 's Freccia Rossa and Timofey Zhbankov's Rossko .
So the Russians do not have a lot of experience. But there are no girls on board together with men, so new crews will have to be created for the World Championship.