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Rolex Middle Sea Race’s finish line moved to limits of Ċirkewwa due to adverse weather conditions

The Royal Malta Yacht Club have confirmed that the finish line of the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race has been moved from Marsamxett Harbour to the South Comino Channel in the limits of Ċirkewwa due to the adverse weather conditions, the Times of Malta can reveal.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race has traditionally started from the Valletta Grand Harbour with the participating boats completing their 606-nautical mile challenge at the Marsamxett Harbour, just in front of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

However, weather conditions have deteriorated in the last hours and organisers have decided to use the South Comino Channel as the finish line for the safety of the remaining participants that are closing in on finishing their challenge.

“Due to the adverse weather the alternative finish line at South Comino Channel has been in use since early this morning,” a spokesman for the Royal Malta Yacht Club told the Times of Malta on Wednesday morning.

“As the race is still in progress, any results remain provisional until declared otherwise.

“First and foremost the safety of those still racing is the priority of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.”

The Times of Malta had reported on Tuesday that winds reaching up to force 7 and heavy rain are expected to batter Malta over the next few days, with weather forecasters bracing themselves for a gregale storm.

The rough weather comes as storms in neighbouring Sicily left two people dead and entire regions on high alert, with cars overturned and entire streets submerged as a result of torrential rainfall.

Locally, meteorologists at the Malta International Airport Met Office issued an orange alert on Wednesday morning, saying they expected moderate to heavy showers with thunder on the day, with strong winds becoming very strong over affected areas.   

Speaking on Tuesday, a Met Office spokesperson said they expected the largest volumes of rain to fall between Wednesday and Thursday evening. 

Eastern coastal areas will be especially vulnerable to rough weather. Force 7 winds, which are forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, can reach speeds of 61 km/hour and are considered to be one step below gale force.

Eastern coastal areas will be especially vulnerable to rough weather. Force 7 winds, which are forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, can reach speeds of 61 km/hour and are considered to be one step below gale force.

An MIA spokesperson urged people to take the necessary precautions and said the Met Office would issue warnings accordingly.

The poor weather is the result of a low-pressure system to the south-east of Malta. That system, known as a depression, will remain practically stationary until Wednesday night before it starts moving towards Sicily on Thursday.

Weather conditions are expected to significantly improve from Thursday evening onwards, once that system shifts away from the country. 

But people will still need to keep their umbrellas at the ready for a few more days: Malta is expected to continue experiencing isolated showers through to Saturday.

The majority of the 114 boats that started this year’s Rolex Middle Sea Race have already completed the distance with less than 20 boats left to cross the finish line.

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