I am pleased to join you again this year at this Prize Giving Ceremony of the 43rd Rolex Middle Sea Race.
We are meeting in this majestic venue, which very much epitomises the mastery at sea of the Knights of St. John who built this magnificent building.
It certainly provides us with a most fitting venue for this Ceremony.
Apart from bringing the best sea-faring talent to one hub, the Rolex Middle Sea Race has along the years come to symbolise and accentuate Malta’s seafaring history.
Our natural harbours and clear waters are an ideal playground for anyone with a love of the Mediterranean Sea.
It has always struck me how the perception of our country’s beauty changes, or should I say multiplies, when looked-at from the sea.
One is absolutely stunned by our towering bastions when entering or exiting the Grand Harbour.
As one former Italian Prime Minister fond of yachting described them to me ‘le mura che salgono dal mare’, or quite literally ‘the walls that rise from the sea’.
This same imposing vision you witnessed during the Race, impressed many a voyager along the centuries.
You will therefore agree with me when I say that the Rolex Middle Sea Race brings all of Malta’s historic grandeur back to life, every time it is held.
I am sure that the foreigners among you – the race can boast of at least 25 different nationalities this year – can fully understand why we Maltese speak so proudly of our historical and cultural heritage.
I gladly point out that one of the most attractive elements of the race since its inception in 1968 was its multicultural aspect.
So many people with diverse backgrounds and languages sharing a common love for the sport, come to Malta purposely for the Race from across Europe and other far-off countries like the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Let me tell you how pleased we are to have you among us here in Malta and hope you can enjoy some time to rest on land after this arduous task at sea.
I take this occasion to commend the Royal Malta Yacht Club for organising the Race for yet another year. The number of participating yachts is indeed impressive, at 120, and I am sure it is no mean feat to organise and execute such a big event.
Over the past days, you have all bore testimony to resilience, determination and patience even against the tricks played by nature itself.
Your accomplishments would not have been possible without a strong team spirit, that in your cases, surely needed to be tightly knit and solid.
The sense of endurance manifested each and every year, during this Race is indeed admirable. It acts as a source of inspiration for those of us who followed your journey from a distance.
I urge you to carry with you the rare gift of perseverance everywhere in your daily lives, so that you can be an example of encouragement and motivation for others around you.
Finally, I want to address my final words of appreciation to you all skippers and crew for taking part in this year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race and congratulate the overall winners on the ‘Teasing Machine’.
Well done to all the participants, and we look forward to seeing you all next year.