The President of Malta

Diskors mill-Eċċellenza Tiegħu George Vella, President tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta fiċ-ċerimonja tal-għoti tal-Premji tar-Rolex Middle Sea Race organizzata mir-Royal Malta Yacht Club, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, 28 ta’ Ottubru 2023. (Diskors bl-Ingliż)

Honourable Ministers


Commodore David Cremona

Vice Commodore Mark Napier

Rear Commodore Georges Bonello DuPuis

Distinguished Guests,

It is a great pleasure to be once again here with you at the Prize Giving Ceremony of the 44th Rolex Middle Sea Race. This prestigious race has become one of Malta’s long-established and most awaited yachting events in the country’s calendar.

I am very pleased that such a yachting race of this calibre leaves from our magnificent shores to navigate our beautiful sea. From the outset I want to take this opportunity to commend the Royal Malta Yacht Club for once again organising this much anticipated event.

Besides bringing to Malta the best sea-faring talent from across the world, the Rolex Middle Sea Race is also a great opportunity to showcase Malta’s vast and rich maritime heritage.

An island at the crossroads of two continents, strategically located at the very centre of the Mediterranean, Malta’s maritime vocation has been a constant and defining feature of Maltese identity. I would say it is what makes us a maritime Nation.

Throughout our eventful and colourful history, our islands have always been considered as an important maritime hub, with natural harbours that provide a safe haven to all types of vessels.

Today, Malta proudly boasts of its intrinsic sea-faring character, honouring its long-standing and historic maritime vocation by providing a wide variety of quality services and a range of excellent facilities to the maritime industry. Suffice to say that the Malta flag is the largest ship registry in Europe and the fifth largest in the world.  

On my recent visit to Australia, on looking from my hotel balcony onto Sydney old harbour, I was greeted by a sixty metre three masted yacht and a huge cruise liner, both proudly flying the Malta Maritime Flag.

This year’s edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has welcomed a fleet of around one hundred and eleven boats. One of the features that stands out to me as the most noteworthy attribute of this event, is its strong multicultural dimension. Some 25 nations have participated in this year’s edition, with entries from as far afield as the United States of America.

It is indeed very satisfying to see so many nationalities gathered here, with diverse backgrounds and languages, sharing a common objective, and a common passion for the same sport.

Allow me to take this opportunity to once again warmly welcome all of you to our country. Besides the clean azure blue waters that you have experienced over the past days, I sincerely hope that you will be able to dedicate some time to explore the rich cultural and artistic heritage that the islands have to offer on land.

I am also very pleased to observe that local participation to this sport in general and this event in particular are also very much sought after. Eleven entries from Malta have participated in the Race, one of which consists of an all Gozitan crew for the first time. This is excellent news and I augur that more Maltese and Gozitan participants are encouraged to join these teams in the years to come.

As in previous editions of this race, this year too, all participants have shown each and every one of us, the true meaning and value of camaraderie, determination and hard work, besides superior navigational skills.

As in sea faring, the path to our success – be it individual or collective – is never plain sailing. Strong winds will often steer us off our course. There might also be times when we feel like we are coasting aimlessly with no sense of purpose or direction.

Working to achieve common goals helps us create an overall sense of purpose and meaning within any group, be it a team, in the workplace, within our societies and communities, or as a motivated crew on board one of the yachts in the Sea Race.

Hence the importance of setting common goals and instilling a sense of unity amongst us that keeps us motivated and ensures that everyone is on the same page. In life, we have to set objectives, to make life meaningful, otherwise as the Roman Philosopher Seneca famously said, “if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”, and life becomes tedious and monotonous.

The strong sense of team spirit with a united vision to work towards a collective objective that you exhibit during the races are truly admirable qualities and a source of inspiration to those who followed your journey – not just in sport, but also in our everyday lives.

In this regard, I would like to congratulate the overall winner of the Race, the Italian Wally 93 Bullit, skippered by Andrea Recordati.

I also want to signal my strong appreciation to all the skippers and the crew members who took part in yet another successful edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. We all look forward to seeing you again for next year’s edition.

Thank you.

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